Which Is Ruder — Not Giving a Gift or Not Sending a Thank-You Note? [POLL]
Good manners matter, which makes this question all the more important.
Giving gifts at formal occasions -- weddings, engagements, baby showers, to name but a few -- is as much a part of our world as the air we breathe. Decorum dictates the guest give a gift and the person who receives it send a thank-you note. But sometimes the world is thrown off its axis and the involved parties don't play their roles. That is, a gift is not given or the person who receives the gift doesn't send a thank-you note. Both are egregious errors in the world of etiquette, but which is worse?
Not Giving a Gift
Someone has taken the time (and probably money) to invite you to a festive occasion. They want you there to celebrate a landmark achievement. It doesn't matter if you're a close friend or a third cousin twice removed -- if you've been invited you need to reciprocate the gesture and bring a gift. You don't want to be "that guy" -- you know, the freeloader who shows up, eats food and then slinks away into the night without having the courtesy to bring a present.
Not Sending a Thank-You Note
Someone has been thoughtful enough to play by the rules of society and give you a present for whatever the occasion that warrants it. Yes, you may not like it, you may not need it, but we've all been taught the importance of saying thank you, so the failure to acknowledge someone for giving you a present is tantamount to a slap in the face, a non-verbal message saying, "I have no problem taking your gift, not acknowledging your effort or thoughtfulness and am now showing you what kind of person I really am."