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Hostess gift questions [14 Aug 2013|11:08am]

Soon I'll be visiting a friend who lives across the country from me, and staying at her home for 5 days/4 nights. My thought was to bring local artisan chocolate in unique boxes for the adults, but wondered what sort of gift(s) are appropriate for my friend's sons-ages 8&11. I'm not sure if the gifts should reflect something special about the city I'm coming from(e.g. a t-shirt with the city name or city slogan) or something more age and interest appropriate (e.g a book of fun science experiments). Any thoughts on this are appreciated!

Thank you!
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[01 Jul 2012|11:49am]

Wearing a dress with a tasteful black-and-white print to a wedding: okay, or no?
5 comments|post comment

How do I address this? [19 Dec 2011|12:59pm]

[ mood | calm ]

Hi there!

I've been going through my holiday card list and I have encountered a stumbling block.
I have a male friend who I'm very fond of.  Things have worked out in such a way that I still have not met his long time beau.
Other mutual friends have met the elusive beau on a few occasions, but none of them have ever caught his last name either. 
I'm at a loss as to how to properly address a card for the two gentlemen. 
When it comes to holiday cards, I'm generally of the opinion that it's rude to send a card to just one person when you know the two reside together in a commited relationship. 

I could use both of their first names, but I feel that would be too casual, especially since I've only met one and not the other. 

Would it be too odd if I addressed it Mr. & Mr. "Name of my friend"?
While I'm pretty sure my friend is likely the more effeminate of the duo, I like that a lot better than using just first names. 

Anyone know any differnt?  Suggestions? Alternatives? 


10 comments|post comment

A rather smelly problem [19 Dec 2011|09:00pm]

Hi all,

Perhaps you can help with this rather frustrating and gross problem...

I live in a rented house which has a fence but no gate. I have no pets. Every day for the past few days (and spontaneously over the past few months) I have come home to discover a large dog poop on my front lawn. I suspect it is the neighbours dog as I they often let him roam around the street unsupervised when the husband is tinkering with his car.

Once I was gardening and the dog (a Doberman)came straight into my yard and had a sniff around, dispite me yelling "Go home!" he paid me absolutely no attention.

I have only lived in the house 3 months and have had very little contact with the neighbour whose dog it is (I find it hard to believe that a stranger walking past would allow their dog to poop on my lawn everday and then not clean it up.)

My question is...how to approach this politely. I have absolutely no evidence to believe that it's THEIR dog whose new favourite toilet is my lawn...but I suspect it reasonable. Should I drop a note in the mailbox or knock on the door? I feel terribly embarrassed because I imagine they are unaware... and just think the dog is having a sniff around.
4 comments|post comment

I feel so angry about this... [02 Nov 2011|01:13pm]

A friend from highschool, Alice, recently contacted me and asked if she and a friend could stay overnight at my house after a cabaret peeformance in the city, as my house is closeby. I said yes, as I'm close friends with her and I had met her friend 6 months earlier at a party. This was organised the week before the night they were due to stay over.

Anyhow, the day came and I was expecting them to arrive about 8pm. At 2PM I received an sms message on my cell from my friend saying 'I'm going home after the performance because its my nephews birthday tomorrow, but is it ok for my friend to stay?'

I got the message at 4.30pm because I has been busy that day. I initially replied that it was fine for the friend to stay at my house. The longer I thought about it the less eager I was to accommodate someone I barely know.

I messaged Alice back at 6pm and said 'actually I'm not comfortable with this, can you please make alternate arangement for your friend to stay somewhere else?' I has also asked my boyfriend who lives with me, and he said he wasn't particularly happy with a stranger staying overnight.

I recieved a message back saying 'sorry, she has no family in the city...I would have made other arangements but I only remebered about my nephews birthday last night.'

I replied 'please make alternate arrangements. It was ok when both of you are staying, but if it just her I feel like I'm babysitting .. I feel really uncomfortable wirh this.'

anyway, she replied that that was fine, sorry to change the plans.

I ended up going to the stage show with them and took Alice out to dinner afterwards and even drove her into the city because she waa going to miss her train. we parted on good terms.


2 days later I get a nasty email from Alice saying 'I can't continue this frindship unless I express my feeling about the other night. your behaviour was completely unacceptable. you should have accommodated my friend because you initially said you would. I called several hotels, all full. I called friends, all on holidays. eventually I called a friend who ageeed to accommodate her. everyone I called couldn't believe how ungenerous you are. all you had to do was offer her a shower and a bed, if you were feeling particularly accommodating. I can't reconcile you behviour with my values. '

I've condensed the email, it was about 1000 words describing just how unkind I am.
I felt like calling her and yelling 'how dare you impose on me then tell me off for standing up to you!'

I haven't replied. my oldest friend advised me to drop her and never speak to her again.

what do you think?
6 comments|post comment

Missing gift question! [26 Oct 2011|01:07pm]

Joined this comm just to ask this, lol...

My husband and I were married in September – Yay!

His brother and sister-in-law apparently ordered us a gift off our Target registry and had it sent to us. It should have gotten to us in early July. In late August, she sent me a Facebook message asking if we had received it. The thing is, we hadn’t. I told her as much (and thanked her for getting us a gift) and offered to get in touch with Target to get it sorted out. She said she would take care of it, because they definitely paid for the gift.

Fast forward to now. I haven’t heard anything back – she and my BIL weren’t able to make it to the wedding, so we didn’t see them there. I’ve sent out all my thank-you notes for everyone who came to the wedding and/or sent gifts, but now I’m wondering how to proceed with SIL and BIL and the lost gift.

On the one hand, I feel bad thinking that she may think we got the gift but hadn’t sent a note. On the other hand, I’m afraid that if I ask her about it again, I’ll look like we’re being greedy. Plus, she has a lot on her place already – a one-year-old daughter, plus her husband (DH’s brother) is in the military and just left for 5 weeks. And I believe she’s in the middle of a big move, on top of everything.

So I don’t want to add to her stress, but if I had paid for something and it hadn’t been sent or received I’d want to know. Plus, again, I don’t want her thinking I just didn’t bother to send a note.

How should I follow up with her? I’ve only met them a couple times so I don’t know her that well.
3 comments|post comment

[17 Mar 2011|06:29pm]

I remember the other thing I wanted to ask in my last post. How to deal with the etiquette of selling concert tickets.

I belong to a choir having a concert soon...tickets cost money, though, and we're all supposed to try to sell them. Well, I know very few people who would be interested, but I'm reticent about it anyway. There are people I would like to invite to see me sing (I have a couple solos, it's my first concert with this choir, plus it's going to be a really cool concert with some diverse and unusual music), but I really can't think of a tactful way to say "Hey, wanna come to my concert? By the way, it'll cost you $15 a head." It seems to me that the only really polite way to do it would be to say "hey, come to my concert" and pay for their ticket. But obviously, I'm not made of money (and quite frankly, the people I want to invite--my partner's parents--have well more of it than I do!). I told my partner if he wanted to come I'd buy his ticket for him (and I have a comp ticket for my mom), but that's a bit different than inviting everyone under the sun and offering to pay.

In case you can't tell, I'm TOTALLY not the salesperson type. I have no idea what the etiquette rules are here. I mean, obviously, nobody's going to be able to sell tickets if they have to buy them all themselves for people they want to invite, or if they're afraid to say "hey, we're having a concert, you can buy tickets" but I just...don't have that sort of mindset that allows me to just ask people to do it. I'm more the "put up a poster, let it be known I'm doing this, and see if anyone approaches me" sort. But some of you have to be more sales-minded than me and can advise me...
2 comments|post comment

More burning etiquette questions [13 Mar 2011|09:15pm]

First one happened tonight. I'm not sure if I did wrong here or not.

My partner and I went to a restaurant. As we were being taken to our table, we walked past a ledge where a bunch of napkin-wrapped silverware was stacked. My partner must've brushed against the stack and one set fell on the floor; I don't think he even realized it fell. I almost picked it up, but realized I didn't know what I would do with it if I did--I couldn't put it back in the clean stack, I couldn't just set it on a nearby table, etc. I figured I should let the employee standing right behind me pick it up as he would know where it should be placed/could take it to the kitchen, and I said "sorry" as he picked it up and went on to my table. I heard a girl at a nearby table say in a nasty tone, "they knocked it down and didn't even pick it up!"

I am still stumped as to what I SHOULD'VE done. I mean, the only thing I can think of that I conceivably could've done is picked it up and handed it to him, and maybe I should've, but that is the worst offense I can think of that I committed. I do not know how the rule of "if you drop silverware at a restaurant, don't pick it up yourself" rule transfers to if the silverware falls when you're not actually at your table (nor if that rule still applies, or if that's one of those "old-fashioned" etiquette rules that went by the wayside years ago). Unless this girl thought I should pick it up, carry it to my table, and...let it wait until our dishes were picked up, or...? I don't know. What would you all have done?

Also...what are the new rules on what women can wear to weddings (let's not talk about my annoyance that none of these fashion rules apply to men)? I don't even know anymore. I've been avoiding black clothing like the plague because I've heard you're not supposed to wear black (which sucks because let's face it: black is THE formal color, and a lot of nice dressy clothing comes in that color). Cue me at my partner's cousin's wedding reception last night, where I am looking around in dismay at all the women in little black dresses and bemoaning the fact that I went through so much angst to find something nice that WASN'T black (even the maid of honor wore a black dress). I mean, I'm sure the rules probably tend to apply differently based on the part of the country, and to some extent the actually wedding you're going to (some people are more laid-back about such things than others), but is there a "socially accepted" rule change on this that I don't know about? (If so I'd like to know. It'd make life a lot easier.) I'm sure white/off white are still out (how kosher is a white top with different color bottom, btw? I've heard mixed advice on this), but I'm not sure about other colors now--black? Red? Okay or not?
11 comments|post comment

Name-correcting etiquette? [04 Dec 2010|02:07pm]

I don't think I have posted about this here before...

Anyway, I'm wondering about the etiquette of correcting people on use of my name and what's the best way to go about it without sounding like a jerk.

Backstory: the name given to me at birth was Katie. I have not allowed anyone to call me Katie since second grade when I started going by Kate (and later to friends, I picked up Kat as well). That is how long I have hated being called Katie. I don't mind it as a name on other people, but hearing it used in reference to me is like nails on a chalkboard to me. No, I don't know why. In part I guess I associate it with being a little kid, or being a little kid's name (even though I've known of countless older Katies) and I guess in part when I hear it it makes me feel like I'm being addressed as a four-year-old. Anyway, reasons aside: I cannot stand it.

After wanting to for years and not being able to for various reasons, I finally went to court and got it legally changed a few months ago, to Katharine (so you can see how much I truly hated Katie if I was willing to spend a couple hundred bucks and jump through hoops of changing my name with work, vendors, banks, etc. all over the place just to make a marginal change to my name). I wanted to do it legally for a few reasons...I didn't want to just USE Katharine because I could not do so legally as it wasn't technically my name and as soon as people found that out they'd probably refuse to use it, and because I always found that while I could tell people my name was Kate until I was blue in the face, as soon as they saw any of my legal paperwork where I had to use my full legal name (work documents, driver's license, credit cards, etc.) I often immediately became Katie (I finally got the people at work to change my display name for my email to come up as Kate instead of Katie because despite the fact that my email signature and stuff said Kate, they'd still write back and call me Katie because it was on my email). It is hard to shake (probably because people always had a hard time grasping that Katie wasn't SHORT for anything but was my full name, so they probably assumed it was a name I chose as a nickname rather than was stuck with as a legal name). I mean, we're talking, people who never were introduced to me as Katie (like coworkers who never saw my legal paperwork) would call me Katie sometimes and I don't know where they got it, people would call me Kate for months or years and then suddenly they'd start calling me Katie...it came out of the woodwork sometimes.

(I am still allowing people to call me Kate and they had the choice of switching to Katharine if they wanted to); that doesn't bug me

I've struggled for years with correcting people to not call me Katie, as I've never known how to do it without sounding snappish or like I'm making a big deal out of nothing (I have a feeling most people would say, "Katharine, Kate, Katie, Kat, it's all the same name, what's the big deal?").

How do I do this without coming across as a jerk? Especially in passing, if someone says "oh, hi Katie" or "so I was telling Katie the other day that..." or if someone emails me and uses the wrong name? The other day I did it by email and I felt like a jerk and a freak the whole time I was correcting this person--it was someone I don't even know (a coworker of mine is on a temporary assignment out of the country so our group wanted to send her a care package for Christmas, and I asked her partner over there for help in figuring out what we should send her, and when he wrote me back, he addressed me as Katie). I just said something like "please call me Katharine or Kate; I really hate the name Katie," but I have a feeling he got it both from his secretary (who I'd emailed before and in another email she called me Katie for some reason) and from my coworker (who recently sent me postcards addressed to Katie and again, I have no idea why). I mean, if someone's just walking by, or it's the middle of a conversation, should I really pipe up and say, "actually, it's Katharine or Kate"? I feel like "please call me X" is one of those lines for when you're just meeting someone, not something you should interrupt a conversation for?

I am stumped on this, but I'm even more determined not to be called Katie now that I have no legal ties to that name. I know it's stupid to get so worked up just about a name, but honestly it really does set my teeth on edge every time I hear it, and I don't know how to get that across to people without also coming across as a weirdo with a hangup...

(Granted, I know name weirdness must be common--I got an email from someone in another office today addressing me as Kathy, which is TOTALLY out of left field because I have never been called Kathy in any way, shape, or form EVER--in fact, I got stuck with Katie rather than Catherine BECAUSE my mom despises the nickname Cathy/Kathy and wanted to make sure I never got called that, lol.)
15 comments|post comment

Etiquette of passing gas [06 Sep 2010|02:52pm]

Yep, it's silly. Bear with me on this one, guys.

So our mothers taught all of us that if you need to pass gas, you leave the room, right?

I've never figured out just how to accomplish that without calling attention to myself (so usually I just try to do it quietly and step away from other people if at all possible, if I can't keep it in). I mean, if you suddenly stand up and walk out, then come back in five seconds later, someone is BOUND to ask, "where did you go?" What do you respond? My coworker suggested either "I had to take care of something" (which will have them asking, "what did you have to take care of?"), or "I had to go to the bathroom" (for ten seconds? Should you go out and stay out long enough to make it plausible that you went to the bathroom?). What about in a situation, like a meeting, where you can't really leave?

LOL, I've always wondered this, but it never occurred to me to ASK anyone before!
5 comments|post comment

Is a thank you note necessary when a gift was given in thanks? [28 Jun 2010|07:39pm]

 At work recently I went out of my way to help a customer who needed some things urgently done, and I was quite happy to do it, the extra work I did to help did not put me out or take away from my other work in any significant way. The customer and I were corresponding via email regarding the issues I was helping with and when I was profusely thanked via email I asked if the individual would mind writing a letter to my supervisor, since telling me how happy and pleased with my service doesn't do much for the business itself. Anyways, this is a long set up for asking if I need to write a thank you note for receiving gifts as thanks, on top of the letter of recommendation/thanks? I have the feeling that if this were a personal thing, if I had helped a friend and received a gift then of course I would write a thank you, but, I've already written a thank you for the letter, and the customer is moving overseas. I'm just unclear of how many times we have to go around in circles thanking each other? It's not that I'm not appreciative, I just am unclear of what the next step is?  Is simply emailing saying "Thank you for thinking of me, it really was my pleasure to help and I wish you the best of luck for the future" enough? Alternatively, would it be out of line for me to write a thank you note on personal stationary? 

Thank you for your help! 
2 comments|post comment

Last minute business dinner invite – Inappropriate? [16 Apr 2010|09:30am]

[ mood | confused ]

Hi all,


My Darling Husband & I are having a difference of opinion in regards to a situation that just came up and what is the best way for us to handle it. 


The company he works for has about 10 people visiting the US and working on a project started in their European division.  It’s Friday, a bit after 9AM here, and the department head just sent out an email inviting individuals who will be working directly with this people in this division to go to dinner together this very evening.


The timing seems incredibly odd even though we didn’t have any special plans, and career building potential kudos aside, something about it has me a bit agitated.


I have not seen the actual invitation, however when my husband informed me of it and said he would like to attend, he told me that spousal involvement was not requested or otherwise implied in the invitation. 

Yes, I did ask because business dinners are so rarely done anymore.

Here's the Rub:
In a non-business situation, I know it is typically rude or bad form to invite a married person to an event or gathering without including their spouse. 

In a business situation that is going to have to be casual due to the last minute nature…Is it considered rude or unacceptable to not invite the spouse?  Or should it be considered that the invitation of spouse is automatically implied if one is married?(I would never assume this if it was not specifically addressed in the wording of the invitation.)


If it were a luncheon, which the company does all the time, then I could more easily understand.  Lunch gatherings do not typically interfere with personal or family time. 

I’d like for him to go as I know it can only help both of us by default, but I am also struggling with my feeling that the invitation is exclusionary, and therefore rude or inappropriate.  He doesn’t think there is anything wrong with it, but he’s also a bit of a novice when it comes to etiquette.

Can anyone tell me what the correct protocol is for this type of situation?

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

*ETA = removed broken cut. :-( 

4 comments|post comment

Hypothetical question [17 Mar 2010|05:05pm]

Yeah, I know, most of them I ask are!

So say Bob is driving, and accidentally hits Jane's dog/cat which was in the street. There was no way Bob could've stopped--he didn't hit the animal deliberately or because he wasn't paying attention/was driving recklessly/whatever. Jane was not there when this happened--it's not like the animal broke its leash and suddenly got away from her; it was just running free--perhaps she allowed it to, perhaps it just escaped the house previously.

Who pays for the animal's veterinary bills: Bob who was driving and technically injured it even though he couldn't help it, or Jane who didn't keep her animal under control even though she didn't technically cause the injury?

(It's a hypothetical situation but sorta based on a couple real-life events: 1. the time several years ago when my mom came home crying because she'd hit a cat with her car [it was snowy out, she was being tailgated by a truck, the cat ran in front of her and she tried to stop but couldn't slam on the brakes because of the truck, plus her car started sliding when she tried to brake; the car must not've hit the cat TOO hard because she saw it run off, but she thinks she did hit it at least a little--it ran sort of toward a nearby house but she wasn't sure if it lived there or just ran into the yard. I think she was too upset to think straight at the time, but I wondered later if she should've stopped at the house in case it *was* their cat and informed them they should take it to a vet and perhaps offered to pay the bill (even though she is on disability and can't afford it). It was a rural area so it was probably an outdoor cat, or an indoor/outdoor cat--that's common in those parts], and 2. the other day when I was on the highway and saw a dog that had been hit by a car [the people were stopped and one lady was in the road with the dog--I don't know if the dog was allowed to run free, or if it was a runaway, or what; there were houses in the area but not really near to where the dog got hit. Hopefully the dog was wearing a collar so they could call the owner(s) and let them know]).
7 comments|post comment

[11 Jan 2010|09:30pm]

I've been curious for years: what're the rules on when you have to have a wedding reception? That is, if your wedding is not public--there are no wedding guests; say you elope or go to the J of P or something--do you have to have a reception? Or is it just if you have a wedding you invite people to? A couple of my cousins have not had public weddings--one I think was a J of P thing with maybe just her parents there and the other was a destination wedding--and they did not have receptions. However, my family's relatively laid-back so what works there may not work for everyone.

I guess it stems in part from me not knowing the function of a wedding reception. In an ideal world it would be to celebrate your marriage, but from what I've gathered from etiquette advice it seems instead to be a "reward" for your guests, either for going to the wedding (sitting through and enduring it, I assume?) or for the wedding gift. So of course if the former, if there is no public wedding, no reception is required. If the latter, you have to have a reception if people send gifts. Although I suppose it depends on the people involved...my family wouldn't give a crap, but some people would be highly offended if someone didn't have a reception, regardless of the reasons.

Largely I'm just curious if eloping or having a private wedding would mean one wouldn't be saddled with a reception and all the politics that go with it (or expense, for that matter. Marriage shouldn't be just for the rich)...
6 comments|post comment

Wedding reception speeches [13 Oct 2009|10:29pm]

In a few weeks, I will be emceeing a wedding reception for some friends. I was asked to do the job because I have experience in public speaking and I know more about etiquette than most of my friends (I made them promise me there wouldn't be any gift registry information on the invitations). So, it'll be my job to make sure things run smoothly and briskly (so that no one is bored) and also to make sure that things that should happen will happen.

So here's the question: who traditionally gives speeches at a wedding reception? Is there a list somewhere of the people expected to say something? In the interest of keeping it to a minimum, I'm hoping it's nothing more than parents, best man, and maid of honor. But if I'm expected to give time to the whole wedding party, and the grandparents, and the sister of the groom, and the caterer, I wouldn't want to offend anyone who's owed some time.

I'd ask them who they want to give time to, but I'm sure they'll just say, "Oh, I don't know. Who traditionally gives a speech?"
5 comments|post comment

[07 Aug 2009|07:06pm]

Hey all,
I always think of little questions but never want to post them individually, lol...so here are a few...

1. At the grocery store last night, there was only the checker, no bagger. And this store always has long lines due to not many lanes being open. I noticed the lady ahead of me bagging her own groceries. When it was my turn, the checker bagged my groceries. I wasn't sure if I should do it myself or not, so I didn't.

Should I have? 1., her having to bag my stuff was holding up the line, as otherwise she could've been checking out the next person. 2. I'm not one of those "oh, the customer service person must do EVERYTHING for me" people. However, I also wasn't sure if it would be impolite to essentially take over and do her job for her (some people would be offended by that, or perhaps if her manager saw it she might get in trouble). What think you all?

2. At the library there are usually two librarians available for check out, then on the desk between them is a machine that you can use to check yourself out. Generally people just form one line and the next person in line goes to whichever librarian is next. The self-checkout is rarely used.

If I'm several people back in line, I'm willing to use the self-checkout, but I'm not sure if I should wait until I'm at the front of the line, or if I can just go ahead and use it if no one else ahead of me looks like they're headed up to it. The latter seemed to make sense to me, but then I wondered if maybe someone ahead of me was planning to use it and WAS waiting until they got to the front of the line. Probably is not that big of a deal as I've never noticed that I seem to be holding up someone else in using it, but...maybe all the people in the line always secretly despise me for "cutting" in line,
I dunno.

Okay, I know I had one more but naturally I don't remember it now.
4 comments|post comment

Letter writing [26 Jun 2009|03:17pm]

I have a question that I am hoping someone will have the answer to. When I sit down to write a letter, regardless of whether it is a long letter to a friend, a thank-you note or a formal letter, I always begin by writing the date in the upper right hand corner. I assume that this is how I was taught when I was younger and learning to format letters. My question is if this is the assumed standard and if not writing the date breaches any sort of etiquette rules. I am corresponding with a friend who does not date letters, so I was unsure if dating the letter was simply a formality or if there is more to it.
5 comments|post comment

Letter Writing Etiquette [10 Apr 2009|02:57pm]

Hello! I am a new poster drawn here by need actually.

I applied for a job via e-mail and received a response asking for a meeting. I addressed the first e-mail to a Dr. Jane Doe. She replied and signed off as Jane. When I reply to her now, should I use Dear Dr. Doe or can I use Dear Jane?

Thank you for any help you can give me.
2 comments|post comment

Addressing invitations [01 Apr 2009|03:05pm]

I am graduating from college and sending out invitations to relatives but am unsure of how to address one particular family. My uncle is a widower but he has a long term girlfriend. On the outside invitation that has the address I wrote "Mister Michael Doe and family" but on the inside envelope I wanted to be less formal and write my "Uncle Mike". The question is, since I am writing out the names of my uncle's children on the inside envelope do I also need to write the name of my uncle's girlfriend and her daughter? I figured since they weren't married that his girlfriend and her daughter should not be formally written on the invitation, but I am unsure of what to do with the inside envelope since I am making that less formal.

Thank you for your help!
2 comments|post comment

[26 Nov 2008|11:19am]

I couldn't think of a more appropriate group for this, even though it's probably no longer relevant.

I love to read old etiquette books and in many pre-1960 volumes they dictate appropriate women's dress in "the city" and in "the country.". For instance, women should wear dark suits and nude hose and closed toed shoes in the city, and colored tights, sundresses and sandals only in the country. I figure large cities like New York and Seattle are "the city" but where is the country, besides rural mountain towns and farmland? What would have been appropriate to wear in a small town in the west that is the only city in a fifty mile radius? Or a suburb of a large city?

It's not terribly relevant nowadays when most people tend to wear jeans except to work, but I wonder if this community has any insight for me. Thanks!
2 comments|post comment

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