DEAR AMY: A few months ago, my wife and I attended the wedding of one of my employees. It was a large affair, attended by several hundred guests. My wife and I usually give cash enclosed in a card as a gift. I noticed a few weeks ago that the bride was sending out "Thank you" cards for her gifts. We did not receive one. Another employee who knows her well told me that she was very upset. Many of the wedding cards that contained money had been stolen, apparently by a close family member. This was discovered only after other guests inquired about their gifts. When we signed the guest book before the wedding, I was assured gifts were safe on the table. This puts all of us in a very awkward position. My employee is embarrassed. She doesn't know who gave her money, hence, who to thank. We are concerned that she may think we didn't give a gift at all. Now that we think about it, this actually may have happened to us at least once before, when we also gave cash as a gift and were not thanked. Any suggestions on how we can help the bride in this situation, as well as put our own minds at ease?
No Longer Giving Cash
Dear No Longer: First of all — why are you leaving cash lying around, enclosed only in a flimsy little envelope? It is possible that the person who assured you the gifts were safe was the same person who took them.
Some brides carry special bags that match their gowns, specifically meant to collect cards. This would have been a wise move on her part.
In the future, you should at the very least enclose a check, which is harder for a third party to cash.
You should contact your employee directly. Tell her, "I'm so sorry to hear that you had some security problems at your wedding. That is awful. My wife and I enclosed $100 in our card; we just want to make sure that you know the total in case you can recover some of it. I'm very sorry this happened to you, and I hope it doesn't mar your memory of your wedding, which was beautiful."
DEAR AMY: We are neighbors with a couple who we befriended shortly after we moved in. They come off as friendly, but they have poor social skills. We have gone out to dinner with them, have had them over, and will chat with them in passing. We've had meals where they will have a long conversation between themselves, where it's hard for my husband and me to get a word in. They often ghost me and my husband via text. They will abruptly cut off conversations, via text and in person. The boyfriend is also very pushy with advice. He is very opinionated about projects we take on in our home. The girlfriend once approached me to admire our new baby, then walked away abruptly without speaking to me. My husband is more forgiving, and is friendly with the boyfriend. The boyfriend recently invited us to dinner and said we should hire a babysitter for our one-month-old (!). After almost two years of this, I'm done. We're neighbors, so I know we need to be friendly to some extent. Do I tell them why we're declining their invitations? My husband is entitled to his friendship with the boyfriend but I'm not interested.
Fed Up in CA
DEAR FED UP: I think the ideal situation for neighbors is to be friendly, but not dive too quickly into friendship, because if the friendship fails, you're stuck next to each other for an indefinite period.
You have a baby, providing you with the perfect reason to pivot. Don't make up excuses; don't paper this over with details. Don't issue invitations. If you are invited/included, just say, "I have a lot going on, so I'm going to have to say no."
Don't discourage your husband from engaging. He has the right to form his own friendships, and you needn't be intimately included in all of them.
DEAR AMY: Thank you for suggesting the many ways recipients can thank people for gifts. I don't need a note. A text is fine. But I would love it if people did as you suggested, and shot a short video of themselves with the gift. That's cool.
DEAR FAN: It IS cool, and in some ways is more fun than receiving a note.