Ask Amy: Guest is baffled by the need to shower

Dear Amy: How should I react to some of the baffling requests for gifts and money when invited to wedding showers, weddings, and baby showers?

I just received an invitation for my niece’s baby shower (my sister is her mom).

Request number one was for a book instead of a card. OK, fine, but she is asking people to give this, along with a gift.

She then offered for guests to enter in a raffle if they would bring a package of diapers. This is in addition to the gift and the book.

She then said not to wrap the gift, and to have the gift sent directly to their home, so she could visit with her guests instead of opening these gifts in front of them (not, of course, because opening gifts and acknowledging the people giving them is tedious or schlepping the gifts home is annoying.)

At a baby shower for a friend’s daughter, I felt I’d broken the rules when I gave a gift that was not on the registry. This was in addition to giving a wedding shower gift and a wedding gift to someone I barely know.

Am I just overly sensitive because I got married at the courthouse and don’t have kids?

Can I decline some of these events and send a not-so-extravagant gift?

Do I have to suck it up, even though I think this trend continues to bring out money grubbing expectations that have very little to do with connecting with others?

– Petty?

Dear Petty?: Remember this: Anyone can ask for anything. It’s a free country!

But receiving a request does not obligate you to do anything about it, except to politely RSVP to an invitation.

Back in the Stone Age when I was an expectant mother, baby showers were held in someone’s living room; gifts were opened in front of the guests and a parade of tiny onesies were held up for everyone to appreciate. The guests were thanked and acknowledged at the time and – if the expectant mother was savvy and polite – a note would be sent to each of the guests afterward.

My insight into modern baby showers comes from a few I’ve attended more recently which are held in banquet halls and attended by dozens of women. Unwrapped gifts are placed on a table and guests pick up their pre-printed “thank you” note on the way out of the venue.

(I do like the trend toward not wrapping gifts at these huge events, due to the waste.)

Registries can be extremely helpful (they tell you what the recipient wants or needs), but you are not obligated to buy a gift off of a registry.

Dear Amy: I need a gut check.

I’ve been with my girlfriend, “Stella” for three years. We are in our late-20’s.

Stella is great. She is gorgeous and loving and very nice. Everyone loves her. I do, too.

The problem I’m having is that she is extremely gullible. She believes whatever conspiracy nonsense has most recently floated through her social media feed. Most of this misinformation has to do with health-related issues and because she follows and comments on it, she is fed more of it.

Her latest bit is that she believes that cellphones cause brain cancer.

She can believe whatever she wants, but now this is starting to interfere with my own life because she is trying to influence me.

I’m tired of this and thinking of breaking up with her, but this seems like a trivial reason to break up with someone who is so great in every other respect.

Can you weigh in?

– Bored

Dear Bored: What a person thinks – and how a person thinks – is not a trivial matter. According to you, your girlfriend is also trying to control you.

Do you want to go through life having to defend your own rational choices?

Do you want to possibly have a family with someone whose views about health and wellness are so radically different from your own?

I sincerely doubt it.

Dear Amy: “Tricked in Illinois” believed her mother was manipulating her by asking for a ride to church.

My late mother wanted a ride to church on Christmas Eve and I was too busy and selfish to notice.

She got a ride with my brother-in-law, who was divorced from my sister.

He understood! I will always regret that day.

– Wanda

Dear Wanda: “Tricked in Illinois” described a history of manipulation, but I hope she will make her choice based on your perspective.