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In the past few weeks, I’ve received no less than four baby shower invitations. Oddly, none of my closest friends are having babies. So what does that mean? It means, I’m being invited to sit around for hours, eat finger foods with virtual strangers, fawn over a future baby I’ll rarely (if ever) see, oh and drop at least $50 on a gift. All for someone who is barely a Facebook friend. Am I wrong for saying no?

Don’t get me wrong, I love baby showers. I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoys cutting the yarn to guess how big the preggo belly is. I always lose at the “don’t cross your legs” game and I will go way overboard buying gifts at Babies R Us. I’m not particularly interested in having a baby of my own anytime soon, so there’s no anxiety there. I just genuinely enjoy celebrating a major life change with people. But how awkward when the person you’re “celebrating with” isn’t really a friend? How much more awkward when you’re not sure if you received an invitation because this person genuinely thinks of you as a friend or because they’re trying to rack up on the gifts and thus thinking the more the merrier!

I’m not saying every future mother is just looking for the gifts, but that’s about 90% of the reason to have a baby shower and it’s mega-tacky to come to a gift-giving event without a gift. Of course there are other (still awkward) reasons.

A mom-to-be may invite me because she thinks I will feel snubbed if she doesn’t. You know that friend who thinks she is your friend, but you don’t really see her that way? I think we’ve all had that friend and been that friend at least once. Beyond gifts, a baby shower is also a celebration so maybe she just doesn’t want me to feel as though I’m not being included. Like I’d ever be that lonely commenter on the Facebook album asking, “Awwww….Why wasn’t I invited?” Okay, I have done that once.

Another reason is that she may also just want to keep friends together. If I have a friend who is closer to her than I am, maybe she will invite both of us so my friend doesn’t feel by herself when the mom-to-be is preoccupied. I can see that, as long as the mom-to-be doesn’t shoot me a disapproving look when she opens my $10 gift card. We’re not that close and that’s a pack or two of diapers. Thank me later.

Of course, the reasons why I wouldn’t want to go to a random baby shower isn’t just about the money. I can plan ahead for the cost of the baby shower and money can easily be replenished.  What we can’t ever get back is the time we spend. At the risk of sounding incredibly selfish, I’m just not sure if I want to spend two to three hours at a baby shower, undoubtedly live Tweeting the whole event, during my only day off for someone who isn’t even a friend. It totally blows my mind that a person feels weird calling me up for a lunch date (or just to say hi!), but has absolutely no qualms about inviting me to a baby shower. How did my name even come up on the invite list?

It’s not that I don’t want to make new friends. I do! But are baby showers the way to do it? Is accepting an invite to a baby shower the beginning of a new friendship? Is declining the invite the end of a potential one? Should I just assume that anyone who invites me to her baby shower is doing so because she genuinely thinks of me as a friend? What if it’s a surprise baby shower? Can I just tell the host, “ummm…not sure what you’ve heard, but I don’t know her like that”?

My issue is, when I don’t know the true motive, I’m not sure how much weight my decline will have. I don’t want to come off as the mean girl by saying no if she was really wanting me to come. But I also don’t want to suffer through if she doesn’t care either way and was only giving me an invite to be nice.

There should be a general disclaimer for baby showers included in fine print on all invitations: “If you’re never going to see the mom again when the baby comes, please disregard this invite.”

Until that happens, if I don’t want to go then I could just grow a backbone and just say no figuring she realizes that we’re not friends and that’s why I’m declining. If I can’t muster that courage then I guess I could lie and say that I have to work, but lies are easy to be caught up in (especially when you forget the lie and end up updating your Twitter with “Lounging around watching Friends all day. Perfect Saturday.”). I could go to the party sans gift and say I accidentally left her gift at home (people have definitely done that to me!). Or I could just show up mega late and then at least I came.

To be completely honest though, I’ll likely attend all four of these baby showers. I’ll be right on time with a smile on my lips and a gift in my hand and who knows? Maybe I’ll make four new friends!

What do you think? Have you ever been invited to a baby shower by someone who wasn’t really your friend? How did you handle it?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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