“Is It Tacky To Throw a ‘Broken Engagement’ Party (With a Registry)?”

I know I am going to get lit on fire for this, but I would appreciate your opinion. Five months ago I called off my engagement to my alcoholic and abusive partner. We were together for 5-½ years, lived together for three years and were engaged for 1-½ years. We were to have been married next year.

I left in an emergency type of way, and left most of the household items behind. I have been attempting to start my life over. I moved in with a good friend, and she is now moving in with her partner and taking her household belongings with her. I would like to throw myself an “I’m not getting married party” with wine, good food, and my closest girlfriends who have been my rock for a long time and have been there for me for the this heartbreaking ordeal. I would also like to create a registry for household items.

Out of the ten women I would invite, four of them have had weddings in which I was a bridesmaid, and I have attended both bridal showers and weddings for three others. I don’t mean to play tit for tat, but this is simply where I’m at right now. If I do eventually get married, I, of course, would not expect anything else from these friends.

How tacky is this? Etiquette-wise, I know it is wrong, but I am now looking at an empty apartment and a not-so-large bank account. — Broken Engagement, Needs Household Items

This is a no. I do sympathize with your position, I really do, but throwing yourself a “gimme new household items” party isn’t the appropriate way to ask for help. I appreciate that you have purchased many a gift for friends in the past and attended showers and weddings and such where gifts were specified on registries, but this idea that the gift-giving should be reciprocated in the same manner, despite the different circumstances is…well, it’s short-sighted and kind of silly. You know as well as anyone that giving you a gift now would not dissuade a friend from giving you a gift if you were to get married (and/or have a baby) eventually. It’s not like we’re all entitled to a certain number of gift-giving occasions that simply expire once they’ve been honored, like a gift certificate that’s been marked as “used.”

If you want to have a party to celebrate dodging a bullet, do that. Have wine and good food and your closest friends over and thank them for being the rocks you say they’ve been and helping you through your heartbreaking ordeal. But leave a gift registry out of it. Instead, you could mention to each of your friends that, because you left most of your household items at the home you shared with your ex and your current roommate is moving out and taking her household items that you’ve been using with her, you are in need of some necessities.

You could ask your friends if any of them have used items they no longer need that they’d be willing to pass along as you work on re-building a home for yourself (you could even make a list of your most-needed items). If they take it upon themselves to do a little shopping for you and gift you some new items, great. But to put some expectation on them when they’ve already provided emotional support and will likely have other opportunities in the future to “reciprocate” the gift-giving you’ve provided them, isn’t it.

In addition for asking about potential hand-me-downs from friends and family, you could also make some trips to Goodwill or Salvation Army or garage sales. Check the “free” section of Craigslist. And check in with battered women organizations in your area about potential support and help they might be able to provide you. To leave an abusive relationship takes an enormous amount of strength and fortitude, and to start over as you have and are is a sign of great resilience. You deserve to celebrate these things with your friends who have helped you through the hardest days; just leave the gift registry out of 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.


  1. LW, one other suggestion is Estate Sales. If you are in the US, you can go to Estatesales.net and see where the sales are. I have found that kitchen items are really, really cheap there. It is well worth the visits.

    I have also found that Friends’ parents can be a real help. When my husband and I first bought our house, we spread the word that we would take anyone’s junk. You wouldn’t believe how many coffee tables an old kitchen appliances were given to us. Then we passed them down when we were able to replace them.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I think it’s a great idea to just pass around the word that you would gratefully accept hand me down things. That way you aren’t specifically telling your friends that they should buy you things. The items could come from anyone they know, not specifically from them. After they’ve stood by you and helped you they would probably feel used by you if you told them you expected them to purchase household items for you. Just say something about If you know of anyone who has some old household items they would love to get rid of I’d love to have them.

      1. I think this is a great idea. As someone who lived by herself, who merged households with someone else who lived by himself, we had a plethora of stuff. It was sometimes a struggle to find people to take things we were literally giving away that we didn’t need. People might be thrilled to find someone to give their stuff to! And it will all probably be in good shape.

  2. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

    LW, Im truly sorry for your situation, but the way to get the household stuff you need is NOT through a registry for a 10 person party of your closest girlfriends. Im with Wendy- TELL these ppl what you are in need of. Putting myself in the shoes of one of your friends (and BTW, you are really really really lucky to have 10! close female friends), if I got a notice of this registry, Id totally roll my eyes and think in my head that you are being a huge jerk.

  3. Oh gosh, absolutely not. I sympathize with your situation, but please don’t do that. Also, the fact you were in their weddings has nothing to do with anything, no one forced your hand. Yes, it is tacky. Anyway, I second Wendy’s suggestion of Goodwill and stores like that. I used to volunteer at a similar store and the number of great, gently-used household items is very high. You can get a nice set of dishes for $5… pots, pans, utensils, vacuums, etc. You can find sheets and pillows and such at clearance center stores too.

    1. Totally agree. When my husband and I moved in together, we had two kitchens worth of stuff and only one kitchen to store it in. We took a lot of it to Goodwill just to pare down. Most of it was perfectly fine and in good shape, we just had too many frying pans and the like.
      So I would definitely say hit up Goodwill first, see what you can get a hold of for cheap, and then spread the word that you’re looking for hand-me-downs for other necessities.

  4. veracityb says:

    Mm, I find it a bit of an awkward and passive aggressive way of asking for help – do as Wendy suggests LW and ask for help more directly by spreading the word about needing household items. Also check https://www.freecycle.org/ for stuff.

  5. Avatar photo kmentothat says:

    A THOUSAND TIMES YES, it is tacky. Sorry. Wendy gave solid advice on how to pick up some things, and truthfully if you feel “above” getting things at Salvation Army or the free section on Craigslist (or haggle people down in the sales section of Craigslist) then I don’t know what to tell you. If your friends want to help out they will, but a registry is going to make them feel used. I’m guessing you need friends more than you need a couch and Vitamix right now.
    Is anyone moving in to take the roommate’s place? You can always look for people that have a lot of stuff to bring with them. One of the girls I ended up living with for several years and being a bridesmaid in her wedding I picked from the pool of applicants mostly because she was nice and had a tv.
    And I get you’ve just been through a traumatic situation (I hope therapy is an option for you soon!) and now just want a sense of home and normalcy. After I moved across the country with nothing but clothes and books, I had nothing and no money to buy it. It really made me learn how to live more simply and put a lot of thought into what I did buy (buying every fork, vacuum, towel, plate, etc. is indeed expensive!). I bought the bare minimum to get by and saved up for what I needed. I didn’t have a place to sit and eat for 4 months (yay for eating in bed anyway). But I was totally fine, I think you will be too. I also thing it would be empowering for you to start your life over piece by piece, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

  6. Yeah, gift-giving is something that comes from the heart without any expectation of reciprocation. You can also check Freecycle.org if there’s a group in your area. You can get lots of stuff that way. I am totally in favor of a party, but how much money are you planning to spend on this? It seems to me that that money could be put towards buying new things, if you have nothing. You could still have the party, but maybe hold off until you have more money available, or make it a potluck? And, there’s no law that says you can’t have two parties: potluck now and wine & good food later. Any excuse for a party!

  7. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

    Ah I know I bitch a lot about showers and weddings and getting gifts, but yeah this is so incredibly tacky. Please do not do it. I Think you know how tacky it is, which is why you asked-just to have it confirmed. If my friend who just bought her own place and has been in multiple weddings just sent me an invite to a housewarming party and was like “registered at X” I would be aghast. Honestly, hand me downs are the best things ever when it comes to furnishing your place. 80% of the kitchen things I have once belonged to my siblings/parents and all of my furniture has been bought off of CL or at Goodwill or a local thrift store. You can find really great things if you try! I just got like 10 frames for maybe $5.00 at good will and an awesome picture and just tons of cool shit. I do have sympathy for your situation, but yeah please don’t throw this party and ask for gifts–throw it and ask people to bring some wine and hang out and have fun and celebrate you getting out of a toxic relationship (good job)!!

  8. RedRoverRedRover says:

    It’s pretty passive-aggressive to ask for presents in such a roundabout way. My feeling is that if people come to the party with a gift, they’ll do so grudgingly and it’ll colour how they see you. But I think most of them won’t come at all. Or they’ll talk among themselves about how messed up this is and all come with nothing.
    The other advice here is great. Just ask for used stuff, or go to the places where you get used stuff for cheap. Another place you can go in my city is actually the dump. And I’m not talking about dumpster-diving… there’s a place at the front, not mixed in with the garbage, where people can leave stuff they don’t want anymore. This is for big things like tables and chairs. It might need refinishing, but you can do that yourself with a visit to the hardware store and some googling. Don’t know if your town has something similar.
    Also, for anyone who has an IKEA around they often have as-is stuff for pretty cheap. I imagine other furniture stores have the same. Sure, it might have some scratches or tears or something, but if it’s your starter furniture that should be fine for now till you can afford something nicer.

  9. Aubrey Ray says:

    LW, does your current roommate know your financial situation? I’ve been in a similar position as her before, where I lived with a friend who made enough money to pay the bills every month but due to student loans and unexpected medical expenses, there wasn’t much to spend on other things. So when I got engaged and moved in with my fiance, anything that I knew he already had I just gave to her. It was great for both of us because I got to de-clutter and she got a lot of free stuff.

    I’m not saying guilt her into giving you anything. But if she’s a good friend I doubt she’d be offended if you just told her you’d happily take anything she didn’t want anymore.

    1. That’s a good point – I had a roommate who did that and I had only lived in the apartment for a month on a summer sublease. We had spoken less than 5 times, but she told me “hey do you want any of these things? We’ve registered for stuff, so take anything you might want”. So yeah, that’s how I scored my iron.

  10. ArtsyGirl says:

    LW – if you live near a college campus raid the local Goodwill and look at the neighborhood listings (Free Cycle, Craigslist). The school year just ended so you can bet there will be a lot of housing stuff available.

  11. Personally, I love getting old furniture pieces at thrift stores and refinishing them. A little paint goes a long way in breathing new life into an old dresser. If you don’t know how to do this, there are TONS of blogs dedicated to this very subject. Do a search on pinterest. Those older pieces are also often made with more solid materials and construction than much of what’s on the market today. You just have to be be able to look past the out of date finish and any minor cosmetic damage to see if the “bones” fit your taste. But heck, I recently refinished a nightstand I got at a local thrift store for $10. By the time I bought supplies and new drawer pulls (personal preference but not necessary and you can even paint those too!), I still probably spent less than $25 on the whole thing and it looks great if I do say so myself.

  12. Laura Hope says:

    In my community we have an e-mail group with about 400 members. We help each other out. We’re better than Angie’s list for service recommendations and if anyone’s in need of anything (including a ride), we help if possible. A woman needed a stroller, she got 5. Sheets and towels? She’s set. My point is that I think every community should start a group like this. We all have stuff we don’t need anymore.

  13. I second the requests for used household items. That’s how I furnished my first apartment, and I replaced items with the nice ones I wanted slowly, passing along the hand-me-downs to others who needed them. You’d be surprised what kind and stuff people will give away.

    However! I can’t stress this enough, because I work for Orkin and see horrible stuff all the time. If someone is giving you a couch, chair or bed, inspect it thoroughly for bed bugs before you let it in your apartment. Pick up the cushions and shine a bright flashlight in all the little crevices. Bed bugs are nasty little things that literally suck your blood while you’re sleeping. Be careful with used furniture!

    Congrats on ending that bad chapter of your life and starting a happier one!

    1. Bed bugs are the things of nightmares. Good point though. That’s the last thing anyone needs. Eek.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      Couldn’t agree with this more.

  14. Yes, this is so tacky and I get the feeling you think you deserve this since you were gonna get married, and that you may feel above thrift stores, etc. I once left a boyfriend abruptly who I was living with because it was a toxic situation. I was in a state where I knew no one else and I needed help. All of my stuff came from thrift stores, Craigslist, churches, things left on the sidewalk, dollar stores, ikea, and yard sales. Because of that I was able to save more money, put less value on things, and when I did have enough to buy something nicer, I really appreciated it and earned it. Another place to look is the neighborhood yard sales on Facebook. Now that I’m in a better position, I always see if anything I’m gonna get rid of could go to someone else who is struggling. I understand this is a hard time for you, but I do think digging yourself out will be for the best. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help, but don’t expect anyone to give you a bunch of new gifts.

  15. The problem with this is that there are very few situations where you can create a registry without it being perceived as tacky. Even with weddings it can be a touchy issue. It’s not necessarily right that weddings get special treatment, but it’s a fact that they do and you can’t change that. I also think that a direct comparison between what you gave to your friends and what you’re expecting of them now is not going to go over well. Basically you’re just not in situation where you can legitimately ask for gifts. I do think you can ask for help though, if you need it. This has to be done one-on-one and you can’t expect that everyone will be able to help you. But if I had a friend who was not able to buy furniture I would possibly pitch in (assuming some disposable income).

    1. What is an example if a situation in which you legitimately ask for gifts? No snark here, I genuinely want to know. If people want to give you gifts fine, but asking for them? That seems really tacky under any conditions.

      1. I think you can legitimately ask for gifts when someone has said they want to get you something and is asking what you’d like. For example, wedding and baby showers are gift giving events. It would be tacky to ask someone to host one for you, but if someone offers, you can set up a registry for those who aren’t sure what you’d like. I don’t think you should expect people to only shop from that though.
        Another example is when my kid is having a birthday party and another parent asks what my child would like. I give a few ideas of things they’re interested in.
        Or like my MIL, she wants a “wish list” from everyone on their birthdays and at Christmas. This is at her request and not just randomly handing her a shopping list of things to give you but ultimately that’s what it boils down to.
        You’re pretty much asking for gifts in these situations but as long as you aren’t the one initiating it, I think it’s allowed. I know when I’m the one asking for gift ideas, I genuinely want some suggestions.

      2. I’m with you. But I think that, right or wrong, weddings are a case where it’s currently socially sanctioned to ask for gifts in the form of a registry, even though people go to great lengths to conceal it (registry can’t be on the invitation etc.). The same for baby showers, again with some smoke and mirrors (others have to organize the shower etc.). Basically there are few cases where you can get away with asking for gifts and hers isn’t one.

    2. Ideally registries exist not to beg for gifts but to help givers in situations where gift-giving is customary. That’s why it’s socially acceptable to set them up for weddings and (especially) showers, but it’s not OK to include them in invitations or to “expect” registry gifts only.

      They shouldn’t be used to tell other people what to get you but to make it easier for people who would be buying you a gift anyway and who aren’t sure what you would like. (It also cuts down on duplicates.)

  16. WWS. Seriously. I’ve been in your predicament before. And I was lucky enough to have some close friends that donated a bed, tv, couch, coffee table, and other miscellaneous items. They offered, and I just got rid of the last of it not long ago. Treat the girls to some wine, chat, and after a few glasses, ask for some hand-me-downs. You’d be surprised what people are willing to get rid of if you just ask.

    Also, there are Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook pages for nearly every area in America. Find one near you, and start stalking it! You’ll find some AWESOME stuff on there, and listings for yard sales.

  17. This is so similar to the stepmother LW from a few days ago who is mad that people get showers for weddings and babies but not for graduation.
    The unfortunate truth is that weddings and babies are gift giving occasions and when you attend those events (bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, etc.) you are pretty much obligated to get a gift. However, giving a gift at these events is not in exchange for an IOU that at some point in the future you can cash that in for a reciprocal gift. If you gave wedding and bridal shower gifts expecting to “get it back” when it was your turn to get married, then you are going to be disappointed. Some of these people won’t come to your wedding or won’t bring a gift, or maybe they’ll gift but not the same amount.

    You are in a difficult place and you need help from friends and that’s ok… just ask. “Hey friends, I could use some help here.” I would absolutely pitch in to help a friend in this situation. But the old saying “beggars can’t be choosers” applies. If you ask for help, you need to be willing to accept used items, lower quality items, mismatched items, etc. You may not get your pick of the brand new bedspread that matches your “vision” for your room, but you can still hope to get a nice, gently used blanket that will keep you warm in the winter.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      “But the old saying “beggars can’t be choosers” applies.”
      This says it all. Congratulate yourself on getting out of a bad situation. See your current situation as a step in the right direction. This is a temporary situation and things will get better including slowly upgrading your belongings. Accept the used items with gratitude and know that you are on a better path.

      1. Oh good, I was worried that line was too harsh. I think it’s great what the LW has done to get herself out of a bad situation, but that doesn’t entitle her to anything. Nor does having been a bridesmaid in the past.
        She’s in a time of need and what she should ask for is charity/aid, not presents.

      2. You could say this about any shower though. Bridal showers – the congratulations is being married. Baby showers – the congratulations is having a baby. And neither of those are events where it’d be acceptable to bring a used pot, used stand mixer, used stroller, or used carseat – people expect new things. I just don’t see what’s different about having ONE “I have to start my life over again” shower.

      3. The key is that asking for gifts is GENERALLY considered rude/greedy, and for some reasons, decades of culture have declared that for these few events, it is less tacky. That evolved over time, and it is possible that over time we could evolve to where people get presents for one “start your life” event of their choosing.
        Honestly, the marketing geniuses at Bed, Bath and Beyond should get on this, because I smell an untapped gold mine. However, in the meantime, asking for gifts is tacky outside of those culturally accepted occasions.
        For what it’s worth, I hope we evolve instead to where registries and asking for gifts is always tacky. But that’s me.

        Also, she’s not really wanting to have a shower. She wants to invite her 10 closest friends for a get together to thank them for being there for her in a tough time AND also ask for gifts. Which I think is a completely different thing. Showers are thrown for you, you can’t throw them for yourself.

      4. honeybeenicki says:

        I got used things at my baby shower and I was perfectly ok with that. There are very few things I refused to accept used just due to safety issues (crib, carseat).

      5. People get used things for babies all the time. Maybe not at shower, but in general.

      6. Part of the thing that makes showers semi-acceptable is that you don’t throw them for yourself or even for a family member. They’re theoretically a surprise party thrown by friends. Otherwise it’s a gift grab.

  18. Please spread the word that you’d appreciate slightly used but still good items. That’s what I did when I moved for grad school with basically nothing. When me and Bassanio moved in together and were figuring out which stuff to keep, we figured out we’d both gotten our dish sets for free! And we kept paying it forward whenever we could – when we moved in together, we started out with a lot of stuff in our apartment that didn’t quite work or fit and ended up getting stuff that worked better, then did our best to try to find new homes for things. At the time, Bassanio was working on a program that hired new grads so there was always someone who wanted it and we didn’t need it anymore.
    So ask around, maybe mention to these girls you’re looking for some hand me downs if they know someone who’s moving or whatever. We’ve given things to friends of friends of friends before.
    Edit to add: If anyone moves to Philly and needs good inexpensive furniture (or is trying to give away furniture), Uhuru Furniture is fantastic. If you don’t have a car, they pick up for free and deliver for cheap. They post a bunch of their most current stuff online too: uhurufurniturephilly.blogspot.com

  19. PumpkinSpice says:

    One word, Layaway. You can pick up stuff from Sears, Wal-Mart, KMart etc. and put it on layaway and slowly pay it off. I love the Salvation Army, and Savers stores near me, but there are some things I just wouldn’t buy used. So even though it may take you a little while to pay the balance off, you can still get some decent stuff brand new.

  20. I guess I disagree with Wendy and everybody else. This is a shower that I’d be happy to give a gift at, especially for a friend that’s down and out. I honestly think all bridal showers and all baby showers are super tacky if the couple/parent is not poor and/or really young. Just have a party and don’t require gifts, you’re already winning at life. But a registry to be there for a friend in need? I’m there, and the registry is a helpful way to make sure there aren’t duplicates. She could also specify that it doesn’t have to be new, she just needs these items. She also said if she got married later, her friends wouldn’t be obligated to get her a gift. I’d much rather get my friend a present when she needs it than force her to struggle out of some misplaced emphasis on “etiquette.”

    1. something random says:

      I have to disagree with you. I have co-hosted five showers. Each one of them was a gift to someone whom I loved and I wanted to honor at a life transition.
      One was a bridal shower and the other four were baby showers.
      Someone threw me a beautiful baby shower. I was so touched by their sweetness and generosity. But I can’t imagine asking someone else to throw a party in my honor. Or throwing one for myself. I know weddings sometimes feel like this, but I think as a culture we should really take a step back from the expectation that our invited guests “owe” us something.

      I’ve had friends who aren’t married and don’t have children. I am aware that they have contributed to my milestones and I look for ways to reciprocate the love and support I’ve felt from them. When those friends have moved into a house, had major birthdays, graduated from big event, lost people, etc. I have always been mindful of contributing more time, money, gifts, and support to them.

      If a friend got it in their own head to gift the letter writer with a party celebrating her personhood or accomplishments that would be lovely and I would attend. But it’s pretty garish to throw yourself one. Especially because you feel your friends “owe” it to you. If one of my friends did that, I would probably go to offer them some support and see why they are acting so desperately. But If I couldn’t come up with a reasonable motive I would probably feel uneasy and question how much this person really respected and valued me as a person. I would probably wonder if they just saw friends as resources to be tapped. Gifts should never be considered an obligation (unless one is obliging themselves for another’s sake).

    2. The thing I think that squicks me out is that it’s a registry which presumably means new things. There have been many times in my life I haven’t been able to afford new things (including this exact situation pretty much – broke up from an abusive partner and he took everything) so I bought what I could afford, which sometimes meant second hand or sometimes lay-buying. Sometimes I was lucky enough to be given things. Either way it didn’t mean that the people in my life who were already offering amazing support deserved to foot the bill for nice new items. Half the time they didn’t even have nice versions of the stuff I needed themselves! So presumptuous.

    3. Agreed. Can we please let go of the outdated notion that women’s choices should be celebrated in this way (gift registries) only when they make traditional choices (getting married, having babies)? This woman has just been through a harrowing ordeal. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a few lovely luxury items for her new household – and all the better if she gets to select them herself. If current etiquette rules dictate that she isn’t deserving, but the newly- married couple who already has everything they need is deserving, then the etiquette rules are outdated and need to be challenged. What better place to start than with a small group of close friends who have been with this woman thru everything? What true friend would question her right to celebrate her hard-won victory in any way she chooses? If it were my friend, I’d only wish I had thought of the idea myself.

  21. Personally, if I had a friend like the LW who invited me to something like this, I would absolutely go. What a horrible thing to go through. However, I can see why it riles people. You SHOULD have a party, just a regular party (I SURVIVED! no registry…) with food, drink, friends… you’d be surprised what people might “show up with.” Especially if they’re aware of your (financial/emotional) situation.

  22. Clementine says:

    When I got divorced, I’d have given anything for some kind of socially-acceptable divorce registry/shower. I had taken some very brave steps to get my life back on track and get myself out of a terrible relationship. It was a real accomplishment (ahem, grumpy shower-resistant stepmom LW), and damn if it wasn’t frustrating. I’d shed 250 lbs of deadweight husband who took the vacuum, half the kitchen appliances, all the landscaping tools, and his half of the mortgage payment. I feel you, LW. But, yes, throwing yourself a shower is tacky and you can’t do it. Such a bummer.
    My hope for you is that you have a very close friend who sees things your way. We manage to make bridal/baby gift grabs fun and tasteful–it could be done here, IF you aren’t doing it for yourself and you have a friend willing to claim it was all her idea. 🙂 Have a little housewarming party. The right friend might, swearing you know nothing about it, circulate a discreet list of needs. Or perhaps collect contributions towards a new couch. Dunno. It really requires the kind of person who would buy into this idea wholeheartedly and not write in to Wendy next week complaining about what an entitled snot you are(n’t).
    A word of caution: if you throw yourself an “I’m not getting married party” with “good wine, good food, etc,” people are going to wonder why they’re buying you a new blender. Keep your list to necessities and save the panini press for another time.

  23. snoopy128 says:

    First, I think a registry is really tacky in this situation. For weddings/showers etc, a registry can be very tastefully done if it’s done as a way to give people ideas if they need them (I know lots of extended family appreciate it) but is shown as an option. Registries in general can come off as very gift grabby, and to me, it comes off very gift grabby in this situation.

    I honestly think it depends on the type of relationship you have with your friends. If you are close enough, why not invite them to a “yay I’m out of a bad relationship” party and in the same breath, let them know you are looking for gently used items. If you word it in a way that doesn’t tie the needing stuff directly to the party, your friends might be open and willing to help you out. Something along the lines of “I’m having a party to celebrate my freedom….. On another note, due to having to leave my stuff/house etc in a hurry, I’ve realized I’m missing some key items. If you know of anyone with some gently used items they don’t need anymore I’m looking for: ……..”

    In your situation, it is tacky to ask for specific items (a dish set from Pottery Barn, a couch from Home Sense), but it’s ok to see if there are items available. If you badly need an item, it’s not fair to ask for a specific one. Set your sights on what you need and slowly gather it. In the meantime, rely on friends/Salvation Army/Craiglist/yard sales to get the basics, not your long-term dream pieces.

    Gift giving is not a tit for tat situation and saying you will absolve them of gift giving at your next big occasion makes it seem like you expect a gift in those situations. A gift should never be expected nor is gift giving expected to be reciprocal.

  24. for_cutie says:

    Have you thought about having a household sales party – like hosting a tupper ware/pampered chef/whatever exists nowadays? Hosts usually get discounts and credit towards a personal purchase based on how much the guests spend. This could be a way to get stuff without being super tacky. Maybe you could tell the sales person your situation so they sell to you at-cost given they will make a profit off of your friends. I hate being invited to these parties, but I always go and buy something as a sign of support of a friend.

    1. Ok I’m gonna hijack… can we talk about these things for a second? What do people think about being invited to these “parties” that are excuses to sell shit. Idk, I don’t like it. And I don’t need your thirtyone bags or your whatever jewelry or sex toys (yes my friend is an independent sex toys salesperson but I’m lucky enough to live in another state and not have to attend those parties). I could maybe get behind tupperware because I love tupperware, but otherwise, it rubs me wrong
      Maybe its because the ways I’ve been invited are usually like “hey are you free, I’m having a get together” and then I say yes and that I’m excited to hang out, and then the next thing is “because I want to sell you this crap.” Now I’m trapped. And, I think, obligated to buy something if I go?

      1. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        ugh I hate these and people (Friends) who become like rodan and fields or whatever salespeople and send these emails to me trying to schill their shit. no i am not obligated to buy this crap just because you are selling it now. I really hate this.

      2. My sister is marrying a guy who got her AND MY MOM into Amway. And everytime I’m like “that’s a pyramid scheme” its like their corporate brainwashing takes over and they are always like “no, it’s not. a pyramid scheme is when you do X and we do Y.” They get mad, so its fun for me to say it every time they try to sell me stuff.
        My mom gets everything from Amway now. It’s weird.

      3. Anonymous says:

        OMG my husband got Amway ambushed once. He’d just moved to a new posting and one of the guys in his unit invited him and a few other guys to a BBQ. My husband was happy to go and get to know everyone and they showed up to – you guessed it – an Amway slideshow. I’m not even sure there was a BBQ in the end.

      4. I agree I don’t like it, and would probably stop being friends with someone trying to make a commission off of me. *12 yr old sense of humor alert* but did anyone else find it funny that steph says sex toy parties rub her wrong 🙂

      5. Maybe if they were better sex toys, they’d rub me right!

      6. Ugh I hate those too. I always decline attending.

      7. bittergaymark says:

        The only one of these I’ve ever been able to stand is Tupperware. I actually LIKE Tupperware. It’s expensive as hell, but utterly indestructible… The WORST was I tagged along once to a Mary Kay party to be POLITE only to be aghast to discover they now had a whole men’s line. Ugh…

      8. I went to a few Pampered Chef ones back in the day that were okay. The worst one I was invited to (but did not attend) was when my friend’s younger sister, who happened to be dating my little brother, hosted a sex toy party. There’s just some spheres in my life I’d like to keep from overlapping, thankyouverymuch.

    2. snoopy128 says:

      Totally agree with SpaceySteph, where I”m from, this would be tacky. Inviting your friends over to celebrate is one thing, but inviting them over to buy things so you get commission is rude (less so if you are upfront about it and it’s the only purpose of the party). I’m so against parties where friends make money off friends.

  25. bittergaymark says:

    Well shit. Damn. Fuck.
    There goes my — “Hi, remember me? I’m gay and clearly NOT the marrying kind. Meanwhile I’ve bought you better and more stylish gifts than anybody else (you know its true!) for endless celebrations of you and yours and god knows what else… Anyway, the time has come to pony up and send me back to Bali for SIX FABULOUS WEEKS as that should just about BARELY cover the amount of coin I’ve blown on all of you over the past two decades…” — GO-FUND-ME party.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      You never know. Now that the laws are changing you might find yourself getting married at some point in the future and then you can have them fund your honeymoon in Bali.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        Oh, legally I can get married RIGHT now. But everybody MY age only wants to marry 25 year olds… Welcome to being gay in Los Angeles. Now a smart-ass would then say, “bittergaymark! wake up! go get chased by all the 64 year olds if everybody is marrying guys twenty years younger!” Problem is? Eh, they want 25 year olds as well…

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        But ARE they marrying 25 year olds? If they are, then go get some of that 25-year-old ass for yourself!

      3. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        There has to be the right guy out there for you. I think we often meet our partner when we aren’t looking for them but are open to whatever happens. I do get that LA is unique in the type of people it attracts.

    2. Avatar photo something random says:

      I know I’m in the minority but the Go-fund-me stuff and the vendor parties don’t bother me. Maybe it’s because my friends have been so casual and straightforward in the invitations and I don’t feel the least bit awkward declining? Usually these things are a casual group e-mail and I don’t feel like I’m being asked to support a friend’s cause, or goal. Its just an option that’s out there if I’m so inclined. I wouldn’t personally go this route, but it doesn’t feel like I’m being singled out or anyone is trying to take advantage of my friendship in an exploitive way if that makes sense.

      If I knew you in real life and we were friends I probably wouldn’t opt to fund Bali, but I might consider funding mental/depression health care. Please forgive me if I’m being presumptuous.

      I could see a Come Celebrate that I Dodged A Bullet party, but a registry? For houseware? seriously?!

  26. pebblesntrix says:

    I want to second Wendy’s suggestion about Craigslist and other low-cost places like freecycle. Especially if you live in a city that has a college, near the end of the school year people are always giving away things for free or dirt cheap. Five years ago I got a free full-sized bed (bed-bug free), beautiful bookcase (not ikea-like but real solid wood, almost ceiling high) and an amazing dresser that everyone has commented on and wants to buy (it may be an antique). All it cost me was the the price of a UHaul rental which was like 30 bucks because it was in-city for a few hours and asking a couple of friends to help me load the stuff. I still have these items and in the subsequent years when I moved out of state, pretty much all my furniture I got free or dirt cheap in similar ways– folks moving and need to get rid of stuff. You do have to be patient sometimes: I had to check certain sites regularly for a few weeks before something particular emerged and sometimes it’s seasonal (for example, May is an amazing time if you’re close to a college but November not so much; stuff from places like Target-which isn’t great but works as “starter furniture”-have great sales on “college” related stuff including furniture right around the start of school in August and September). So, you have options if you’re willing to keep an open mind about starting over. I like the idea about asking for friends’ hand-me-downs (and some will probably buy you some things) but beyond that, you know best how your friends will take a broken engagement registry. But if you want shiny new things that’s another story.

  27. Rosacolleti says:

    Post on your local Buy Nothing New Facebook page. There are regular posts like this and people are very generous

  28. Elizabeth J McFadden says:

    Maybe OP could investigate whether there’s a Buy Nothing in their area? It could be a place to ask for hand-me-downs, and at the same time build connections to neightbors.

  29. Elizabeth J McFadden says:

    Maybe OP could investigate whether there’s a Buy Nothing group in their area? It could be a place to ask for hand-me-downs, and at the same time build connections to neightbors.

  30. Christine says:

    I’m late to the party with my suggestion of Buy Nothing group(s). I can’t believe the great maternity and baby stuff my daughter and husband have gotten. And these folks stay in touch with each other (as desired) so if there are additional needs down the road, there you go!
    Congratulations to you for dodging the bullet! My son did the same some years back and I am so glad he could extricate himself from this girl and her high-addiction family. You really deserve a party AND a massage/mani/pedi!

  31. Was just popping in to suggest Buy Nothing too (via Facebook)! I’ve gotten some really great stuff from there. People give away everything from “need” stuff like food, appliances, furniture, and clothes to frivolous fun stuff. It’s also a great place to pass on stuff I don’t use anymore.

  32. Was just popping in to suggest Buy Nothing! I’ve gotten some really great stuff from there. People give away everything you can possibly think of that you might need, and frivolous fun stuff too.

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