Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I recently got married. One of my bridesmaids did not give me a wedding gift or a wedding card to wish me and my new husband well. I am so hurt by this. Do I confront her?
A Dear Polly:
Was this bridesmaid at your wedding? Did she stand by your side as you and your hubby tied the knot? Did she travel long distances and wear an expensive dress for “your special day”? Of course she did. Do you really need a present or a card to know that she cares?
I consulted with etiquette expert Lillian Eichler by flipping through the pages of her New Book of Etiquette, written in 1941. This was just the thing I was looking for.
1941: If You Are Sensitive
There are certain plants so sensitive that their leaves close the moment they are touched. There are people like these plants who are so highly sensitive that at the least slight, fancied or real, they close up tightly within themselves.
Sensitiveness is a form of pride, and pride offends and irritates people. It is an exaggerated form of self-consciousness. It is the result of too much thinking about self.
If you are sensitive you build a barrier about yourself. People are afraid to talk to you for fear they may hurt your feelings. They must be forever on guard. They do not feel comfortable in your company.
Tear down this barrier! Don’t go about with the injured air of martyr. People may sympathize with you, but they will not welcome you and be glad to see you. If you see two persons talking together, don’t be sure that they are discussing you. They are not. Don’t imagine that you are the center of observation, that people are criticizing you, that every careless remark is meant as a personal affront.
It is selfish, this sensitiveness. It reveals sooner than anything else that you are bound up in your own little world, that you are not interested in things outside of yourself. The way to overcome it is to mingle freely with people and to be as impersonal as you possibly can. Do not brood over simple remarks and magnify them in your mind. Refuse to accept an affront. Force yourself to overlook the trifles that you are inclined to take so seriously.
Source: Eichler, Lillian. The New Book of Etiquette. Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Company,1941.
~ pp. 334-35 ~