Let's say you are invited to a party at someone's house. Let's say it's not a house you've ever been to before, you know the sort of party I mean, where you are either good friends but not close friends, or relatives but not close relatives. In fact, imagine that it's the first time many of the guests have been there. Sort of an unofficial housewarming, officially just a summer BBQ. Let's say that the hosts specifically say "No gifts" in the invitation. What do you do? Bring something or not? Buy a gift? Give a gift card? Nothing at all?
I think it's just the way I've been raised, but my instinct is always to bring SOMETHING to someone's house unless it's just a whole bunch of close friends (sorry, close friends! you know I love ya!) Before we were married, we used to just tag along on gifts with the in-laws... but I would never do that now. These days, if I received that sort of invite from a good friend, I would either buy something small, or give a gift card... from a friend I didn't know as well, I would bring a nice box of chocolates or some fruit. If it was from a relative, I would probably give a red pocket of money or a gift card. (I can just hear my brother saying "But they said no gifts!! That means no gifts!!") I know! But you see, I would feel totally awkward showing up empty handed.
So, of course, the reason I'm asking is because this happened to us. Obviously I won't give a ton of details, but essentially someone came to our house without a gift. Now, I must say at the outset that this in itself doesn't offend me in the least.. We specified no gifts, but some people just chose to ignore that and brought a little something anyway. I have no problem with someone not bringing a gift, especially since we said no gifts. If you know us, you know we are brimming over with stuff anyway! But what happened to tip me over the edge is that this person came in, and the first thing they said wasn't "Nice place!" or "How's it going!" or even "Weird colour choices!". The first thing they said was, "Oh, sorrrrrry, I didn't bring a gift!" I can't make the tone of the voice show up, but it was quite flippant.
I know I shouldn't be offended. And yet somehow I still am. Maybe it's just that the relationship between this person and the two of us is already a little tense. Or maybe I am just a total jerk. I can't figure it out.