Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Afternoon Quickie: “My Niece Won’t Stop Asking for My Address”

Stempelek-Snail-Mail

This by no means is a large problem but more of an annoyance. I have a niece who is 32 years old and, anytime she wants to send me an invitation, thank you, or anything, she emails me for my mailing address which has been the same for over ten years. Not only have I given it to her multiple times, but I’ve also sent her cards and packages with my address label and printed up a card with my address and sent it to her. The reasons it annoys me are: 1) one of then nicest things about getting a card is the surprise of it; 2) it makes me feel like her time is more important than mine; and 3) she could ask anyone in my family for it but doesn’t. I get that everyone puts things in their phones now, but how hard would it be to buy an address book and put a few important addresses in it? She’s asked for it again – should I give it to her and tell her that the surprise aspect is one of the nicest parts of getting something in the mail? Or am I being too petty? — Tired of Giving Her My Address

Yes, you’re being too petty. I understand that telling someone your address over and over and over is annoying, but it takes you how long to respond to her request? Thirty seconds? I mean, that’s how long it takes me to type out my address in email or text and hit send. And that sacrifice of your time really makes you feel like she thinks her time is more important than yours? I promise she’s spending more than thirty seconds picking out a card for you, writing a message, addressing it, putting a stamp on it, and sticking it in the mailbox. In fact, I’d suggest you re-frame the delight you feel in receiving a card. Instead of appreciating the surprise factor — and, really, how much of a “surprise” is it to receive a birthday card or holiday card or thank you card anyway? — see it as a message that someone is thinking about you and cares about you. And if you go that route, I’d think that even the request for your address — for the umpteenth time — could serve as that reminder. Someone thinks enough of you to put something in the mail the old-fashioned way. So, quit being old-fashioned yourself and appreciate that, in this fast-paced culture we live in, you are important enough to warrant a repeat request of an address, even if the person seeking it isn’t organized enough to write it down in a place where she can easily retrieve it.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

38 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MiMi June 20, 2016, 12:31 pm

    LW, how about sending her a pretty sheet of labels with your address or make up a cheeky refrigerator magnet with it on there for her? She won’t change, so work with it : )

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    • avatar

      artsygirl June 20, 2016, 2:44 pm

      Love the refrigerator magnate idea!

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  • Portia

    Portia June 20, 2016, 12:36 pm

    WWS 100%!
    .
    I’ll alsospeak as someone who has had to ask for a lot of addresses lately – there are a ton of reasons to ask for an address even if you think you have it. People move and don’t necessarily tell you, meaning a card can be lost in the mail forwarding abyss for weeks (some of my wedding invitations were delayed almost a month before they were returned to us). Or they could have your address wrong (my grandpa had the wrong apartment number for me) and unless you regularly acknowledge receipt of the cards, it could be that she’s not sure they get you. It may just be her default to always ask, as is mine generally unless I’ve spoken to someone in the past month or two and know from that conversation that they haven’t moved. Even that doesn’t always help – we didn’t have the right address for my husband’s best man, awkward when he didn’t get an invitation!

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    • avatar

      Vathena June 20, 2016, 12:59 pm

      Seriously – every year when I send Christmas cards, I realize that at least a half-dozen people on my list have moved and I need their new address. It could be that the niece does this with a lot of different people because she can’t remember who has moved and who hasn’t. I get the annoyance here but I agree with Wendy that it might be better to frame it as, “My niece is often thinking of me”. Silver lining!

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  • avatar

    Gwyneth6 June 20, 2016, 12:43 pm

    Great opportunity to gift her with an address book, with some family addresses already filled in! There are some people who send us (our kids )bday cards like clockwork but sometimes they forget the name spelling or the age. nobodys perfect

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    • Portia

      Portia June 21, 2016, 8:34 am

      Haha, I used to have an address book, but addresses changed so frequently that I ran out of space. Plus I didn’t have it on hand when I was out of the house. So now I use a Google doc (also shared with my husband) – highly recommended.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph June 21, 2016, 8:39 am

        We started using a Google doc (spreadsheet) for wedding planning– it was great because I then shared the address file with the moms and had them fill in all the addresses for the relatives.
        So since we already had that spreadsheet with all the wedding crap in it, I copied it, trimmed it down to just addresses and now use that for all my address needs, updating it as I go when people I hear that people move.

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  • avatar

    joanie June 20, 2016, 1:18 pm

    Eh, at the same time, that IS lazy and annoying. It’s not hard to search your email or enter it in your phone.

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    • avatar

      keyblade June 21, 2016, 9:02 am

      @Joanie, I regularly confirm mailing addresses and it isn’t because I’m lazy. I usually have an address and I’m a bit OCD about making sure there hasn’t been changes that I’m not aware of since the last time I sent something.

      This probably stems from a time when my husband and I moved, and I had a relative who called me up acting incredibly put out because I hadn’t responded to her RSVP which I had never received because she mailed it to our old address.

      I never thought it came across as “lazy” to confirm an address. It isn’t as though one has to go about looking up where they live. It’s literally a yes or no response, or in the case of this letter writer, one typed line. I think it’s strange and kind of lazy to be put off by something so small.

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      • avatar

        joanie June 22, 2016, 12:04 pm

        Well, this letter isn’t about you. In this case, it does sound lazy and a bit inconsiderate. Whether or not it warrants a confrontation is debatable, but I stand by what I said.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster June 20, 2016, 1:18 pm

    I get the LW’s annoyance, but not the “write to an advice column” level of annoyance. My aunt does what the LW’s niece does; she asks ME for my brother’s address instead of asking him, and he’s had the same address for like 8 years. This drives me bonkers! But I just tease her and make jokes because that’s how we deal with emotions in my family. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it does make my aunt sheepish when she asks and gives me the opportunity to line up some jokes. His birthday is next month so the countdown is on for her to request his address again!

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  • avatar

    Ron June 20, 2016, 2:08 pm

    So many people writing to advice columns — she wanted to join the parade. At least she seems to be a reasonably grounded person and not one of the many “my relationship is perfect except for ‘some truly horrendous thing which would be a deal-breaker to 99% of the people on this planet’, but whatever advice you give I am going to defend my partner until my fingers are raw, even if I have to change my story 3 times” writers.

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  • avatar

    saneinca June 20, 2016, 2:24 pm

    LW, I am sure you not only receive but also send cards and gifts.

    I suggest you annoy her right back with requests for her address every time you are sending something.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana June 20, 2016, 2:37 pm

    The older I get the more I realize, some people just will not be happy unless they have something idiotic and inconsequential to bitch and gripe about.

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse June 20, 2016, 2:56 pm

    I’m this niece. I do this all the time. I’ve even thought how annoying it must be to be my aunt, grandfather, etc. That said, I have started actually putting them into my phone. I love gwyneth’s idea of the gift address book filled in.

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    • avatar

      Gwyneth6 June 20, 2016, 11:00 pm

      🙂

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  • avatar

    Gwyneth6 June 20, 2016, 3:53 pm

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B014002KRG/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1466455522&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=kate+spade+address+book&dpPl=1&dpID=41o6mWyau3L&ref=plSrch

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00S5DIF1K/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1466455838&sr=8-2&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=pretty+address+book&dpPl=1&dpID=51ib8NBDZIL&ref=plSrch
    Here are some cute ones. Some people just have blind spots. She’ll proabably realize it one day and feel embarrassed . (Or if you give her a book she *might* realize it right away, not a guarantee, but it wouldn’t least help her not ask you).

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  • avatar

    dinoceros June 20, 2016, 4:16 pm

    I get how this is annoying. My mom asks me repeatedly for my address. She asks, loses it (even though it’s technically still in our text conversations or Facebook messages) and then asks again. And that’s not for separate pieces of mail, but happens multiple times before each piece of mail is sent.

    But it would be rude of you to chastise her for this, and I also don’t really see how getting a card in the mail really needs to be such a huge surprise. Unless you ask her to read the card to you before she sends it, then it’s still a surprise, right? Not to mention that if she asks you for your address enough for you to write in for advice, you probably can be pretty certain you’re going to get a card from her anyway. I’m sure it’s not using up that much of your time to tell her what it is.

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  • avatar

    Ange June 20, 2016, 6:31 pm

    I move a lot with my husband (and I did generally before I met him) so people are always asking for my address, including my parents. Unless they’re planning to send me a bill I’m happy to give it because nice mail is fun! I’m a bit sad the LW can’t see the silver lining here, lots of people would love to be receiving mail from their family.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 20, 2016, 6:53 pm

    well, at least this wasn’t about THANK YOU notes…

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark June 21, 2016, 11:35 am

      EDIT. Oh, wait! (See below…) It IS fucking about Thank You notes… How wonderfully tedious and boring, and old biddy-ish… 😉

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  • avatar

    Denise June 21, 2016, 9:52 am

    OK, I actually have had this exact same thing happen to me with MY niece. I really could’ve written this letter. Frankly though, I think it’s hilarious while simultaneously I’m annoyed every time. But she is predictable! Here’s what I did. The last time she texted me asking for my address, I went up through our thread of texts, and took screen shots of the last few times she asked me for my address. She responded with an LOL and hasn’t asked me for it since. So I answered her question, AND I got my point across with humor. Win win.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy June 21, 2016, 10:47 am

    From the LW:

    Great, thank you. I can already see that I should’ve given more back story which is that my niece only sends a thank you about one out of every 4 gifts I send her and it happens once every few years. Also, if she sends christmas cards they’re always sent in January and instead of a birthday card I now get a text a few days after. It would be one thing if she was working 2 jobs but she spends most of her time partying. Meanwhile, I always make sure she has a nice gift and card for her birthday and Christmas and always follow up with a thank you card. Oh well.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy June 21, 2016, 10:51 am

      Ok, so this is about more than your niece asking for your address over and over and ruining the surprise of getting a card in the mail. This is about your resenting that you do more for her than she does for you or even acknowledges that she does for you. So, I say stop sending her gifts. She’s a grown-up, right? It’s kind of unusual for a grown adult to get regular birthday and Christmas gifts from an aunt, anyway.

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      • avatar

        for_cutie June 22, 2016, 10:25 am

        WWS. My Aunts maybe post on my facebook wall for my Birthday. Only some years do I get a holiday card and it is always arrives after I have sent them one. It doesn’t bother me. We are all adults, and I am grateful to not have to remember another adult’s Birthday beyond my immediate family. At least you get a text.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph June 22, 2016, 12:49 pm

        Thoughts on this:
        1. Don’t give gifts for reciprocity, give them to give them. But if you don’t feel like the relationship is reciprocated the way you like, then it’s ok to stop giving gifts to a grown adult.
        2. It seems weird to judge someone for not sending holiday cards until January. Isn’t there enough going on in December? Can’t you just be happy to receive one at all?
        3. If I knew my aunt was constantly scrutinizing and judging me this way, I’d rather she stop sending me bday presents and I wouldn’t go out of my way to keep in touch.

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  • avatar

    TheHizzy June 21, 2016, 11:09 am

    I had an Aunt who gave me an address book for an 18th birthday present (I’m 30 now) and I still have it. She even put in everyone’s addresses to give me a jump start.

    Send her an address book with several addresses in it already.

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    • avatar

      Gwyneth6 June 21, 2016, 1:43 pm

      🙂 I got one from my au pair “mom”

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      • avatar

        TheHizzy June 21, 2016, 4:54 pm

        It’s been great! I have a few addressed to input tonight and a few to update! It’s kind of cool to see peoples addresses change. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse June 21, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Some people really love giving gifts and cards and make that (kin keeping?) very important in their lives. Not everyone does. Its amazing to me that people can get so bent out of shape about this. It is always nice to get thanked, but that shouldn’t be why you give.

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    • avatar

      Vathena June 21, 2016, 2:20 pm

      I also love the judgment about the late holiday cards. This LW sounds like my husband’s aunt, always keeping score on which family members do things the “right” way (aka, “her” way). Who has the brain space to worry about this stuff? Oh, and I am shocked, shocked that someone would rather go out and have fun with her friends than keep up-to-date on every correspondence with Aunt Mildred.

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      • avatar

        Anonymoussea June 21, 2016, 2:36 pm

        I can’t say for sure, but it seems so sexist, too. I have yet to see a letter about thank you cards or whatever about a man. It’s always the “woman’s job” to keep the post office in business.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 21, 2016, 5:02 pm

        I’ve also never seen a letter from a male LW (in ANY advice column anywhere) bitching about fucking Thank You notes… Seriously.

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      • Portia

        Portia June 22, 2016, 10:18 am

        My guess would be that it’s at least partially due to sampling bias, as most LW’s are women. And I say this as someone who has seen older male family members complain about not getting a thank you card (or saw gifts/cards drop off in response to no thank you cards).

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  • avatar

    Debbie June 21, 2016, 3:52 pm

    It seems like millennial “adults” do have this grandiose sense of entitlement. You sound like the kind of person that would quickly share your address if you moved so laziness is probably the problem. How about ignoring her to see if she gives her question some thought? I still keep an address book because these people are important to me.

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    • Stonegypsy

      Stonegypsy June 22, 2016, 10:53 am

      How does “Asks for my address every time she wants to send something” equate to ‘Grandiose sense of entitlement’?
      Also, is this just ‘Millennial “Adults”‘? Because my dad does this. It doesn’t actually bother me, because it’s a really silly minor thing to be bothered by. But he’s not a millennial.
      If someone passive aggressively ignored me when I asked for their address, I would stop attempting to send them anything.

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  • avatar

    kali June 21, 2016, 6:47 pm

    I recently moved so when I ordered address labels (for the occasional card or package I might send), I took a photo of one. That way when I get an email of Facebook message asking for my address, I just send them the photo. Easy peasy.

    I’ve moved a lot so I don’t mind that folks ask but this is a simple solution for all.

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  • avatar

    kali June 21, 2016, 6:49 pm

    the above should say “when I get an email OR Facebook message”…

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