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I am the social chair for my fraternity, and we are thinking about having a beach party only problem is we just got new carpet put in about $10,000 worth. Do you think we should do it?
For anyone interested, imagine a 57 year old housemother who has just discovered a foot of sand [for a beach party] in the party room...after $10,000 worth of new carpet had been installed in the house. It all worked out just fine, but my HIGH recommendation is to have the beach party at the beach! God created sand for beaches and beachparties, He created someone's mind to design carpet for nice homes and civil hallways. Thankfully He also created wonderful children who [sometimes]have the opportunity to grow up and go to college so they may learn classroom information for careers, and out-of-the-classroom information on lessons about life. Always remember that when going through a crisis, think this, "Ten years from now, will this be a big deal?" It has been seven years since the "beach party" and all is well. Had THE social chair scheduled a dull and boring party, we would not have this precious memory to reflect on and laugh about.
My family is invited to a Wedding at a Trump Golf Course at 5PM and the dress is semi-formal. What is appropriate for teenage boys to wear?
Technically, semi-formal means a suit and tie. Many teenagers are still growing, therefore parents do not want to invest in expensive suits. Fortunately there are stores such as J.C. Penney where you can find nice suits with coordinating shirts and ties for a reasonable price. I am not familiar with the location you have inquired about, but even if the wedding is on an actual golf course, semi-formal is a suit. My other recommendation is for you to call the bride or groom and ask what they would like the teenagers to wear. At the very least, I think they would request a jacket and nice pair of slacks. If the teenagers don't want to wear semi-formal they can choose to stay home. It is distracting to see young people underdressed at special events.
Our chapter academic advisor is an elder man, great professor, and very giving when it comes to his time to the chapter and brothers. He also is a member of our AVC. The problem is that he has somewhat of an offending body odor. I don't know if he doesn't bathe, or if he just doesn't send his shirts or suits to the cleaners often enough? The problem is how do we let him know without offending this older gentleman? It is so bad that brothers don't even want to ride in the same car as he when attending out of town events like CLA's or other functions. He does a lot for the chapter so we have to be careful to not offend him. Your suggestion?
The answer is simply: gentle confrontation. There is not a comfortable way of bringing personal hygiene to someone's attention. My philosohy is that no one can correct a problem unless he/she knows the problem. And it really is not fair for people to talk behind the person's back. Hygiene issues often alienate colleagues and customers, leading to many undesirable consequences. By confronting the person you are being honest with them, and you want to help. "I need to talk with you about an issue that is somewhat difficult to discuss. Frankly, I am uncomfortable bringing it up, but as your friend [supervisor, manager], I feel that I should. I have noticed that there is a rather unusual odor about your body [breath]. This might indicate a medical problem. I wanted you to be aware of it." If they react negatively, you could suggest they talk to their physician. If they ask if others have complained, be honest and say that a few have mentioned it. Do not give names because that will create another set of problems. Gentle confrontation is the fair and only answer.
I've been invited to a semi-formal sweet 16 and i don't know what to wear. I really don't want to wear slacks and a nice top, I want to wear a nice dress- nothing too big just one that you would normally wear to a dinner or something. Would that be good? Or should I stick with the slacks?
"Semi-formal" means dressy. Formal would be a prom-type, fancy dress. Semi-formal is still fancy, but not too much whoopla. (That is what I think you are describing.) Although slacks can be fancy, choosing a dress is a much better choice. Your accessories can dress it up, such as earrings, necklace and shoes. My only word of advice is to be classy by having the dress you choose be tasteful for your age group. I think you are about 16 years old, so don't choose a dress that will make you look 26 years old. That means not too short, not too low. Choose a dressy shoe, not too high because you want to be comfortable and gracious. Many stores have personal shoppers (Nordstroms and Steinmart are excellent stores that offer this free service.) These women will help you! Very light makeup will finish you off! My last piece of advice is to be sure to send a thank you note for this special occasion. Send it to the person(s) who is/are hosting the party. That will be the frosting on the cake!
My 15 year old son is invited to a sweet 16 party being held at a firehouse and the attire is stated as semi-formal, would it be appropriate for him to wear dress pants, dress shirt & tie, but no jacket?
Although the party is at a fire hall, if the invitation states semi-formal we advise yes on the jacket. Better yet, a nice suit. For a 15 year old, you could purchase a nice suit at a store such as J.C. Penney's. They also sell coordinating ties and shirts. It would be appropriate to choose a nice colored shirt with a spiffy tie.
Is it rude to chew gum at your place of work or at church? If guests come in chewing gum, what is the proper way to ask them to get rid of it? It is very disgusting to find it on the dinner plate.
This question goes into the category of sensible manners in society because gum chewing is not addressed in etiquette books. For gum chewers, here are the two common sense rules: 1) Chew gum discreetly, preferably alone in your car or in your home. 2) Dispose of it properly. (A good habit is to keep the gum wrapper in your pocket for disposal when finished.) Throughout my lengthy airline career it was a written regulation that gum chewing was not allowed while in uniform. It is perceived as unprofessional, along with chomping on a candy bar or licking an ice cream cone in public. Not all professions may address this under their corporate code of regulations, in which case it is up to the individual to use good judgment. Chewing gum in the office or in church is not a social crime; however, chomping on it and cracking it crosses the professional boundary. Confrontation should be made on an individual basis. You cannot control someone else's behavior but you can communicate in a tactful manner to solve the problem. If a dinner guest in your home is chewing gum, your could discreetly offer a tissue or small piece of paper. I agree with you that gum on a plate is totally unacceptable - along with gum discarded on a sidewalk or floor. Gum chewing is popular for people who are trying to quit smoking. Breath mints are a recommended substitute, especially around others who may be offended by flapping jaws. Recently I was surprised to observe an usher chomping on gum while seating guests at a wedding. Since then, I have heard that bridesmaids have been known to chew it during the ceremony. The common sense rule for such festivities is: NO GUM! For those of you planning a wedding, it would be very appropriate to address this issue at the wedding rehearsal the night before the wedding.
Recently at a family party I saw a male family member who was wearing a hairpiece. I did not know if I should comment on it or not. Do men want to be told about their hairpieces?
Anytime anyone takes courage for self improvement, a compliment is appreciated. Simply saying, "You look nice" or, "I like your hair" shows compassion, whereas yelling across a restaurant, "So when did you get the rug?" is in poor taste, reflecting your character. If the level of friendship is extremely strong, goofy comments in a private Bubba-type conversation would be interpreted differently. If men want to talk about their hair, they will talk about it. Otherwise, it's the end of the subject, so don't push it. People have to remember that personal choices have personal reasons. Cosmetic surgery, hair transplants, and marriage counseling are not signs of insecurity; they are choices. A good friend is supportive and understanding.
My sister consistently calls her little boy "mean Marty" because he is a tough little kid. I want to tell her that it is mean on her part. Do I have the right?
If you reach out in love, you have the right. Choose the right moment and gently tell her how you feel. Explain the negative adjectives instill negativity, especially in the early years of childhood. Secure children are formed by affirmation and appreciation. An adjective such as mighty or magnificent would behoove the child's identification. Wouldn't it have been neat if the denotation of the "X-Generation" could have been turned around by affirming them with the fact that they had the capability to be X-cellent, X-ceptional, and X-traordinary?
The scenario is simple: the office place. Compatible staff working together in close quarters. Enter new employee, a delightful person, good worker, and easy to get along with in most respects. One major bad habit: gum chewing, including occasional popping/cracking. No customer contact, mainly because this person and I share the same office and our job description does not include interacting with customers. How am I to keep my mental sanity?
There are three suggestions I have: 1) Gently confront the person when the time is right. Do NOT wait until you have "HAD IT" because anger will come out and you will be speaking from emotions that could be detrimental to the situation. 2) Have a neutral person such as a supervisor or co-worker bring this matter to the person's attention. 3) Go to the drug store and buy a package of small foam earplugs. There are many bad habits that can be irritants to co-workers. Recently, I head a story that a boss was in a board meeting and he yawned with his mouth open during a presentation. To make matters worse, he took out his nail clippers and clipped his nails! Later, he was overheard on the telephone yelling at his mother. His style of management is totally disrespectful and his employees deplore him. Bad habits are definitely unprofessional. Many times people do not say anything, but they think it. A person cannot correct a problem unless they know there is a problem. Gentle confrontation, as tough as it may be, is the best solution. Otherwise, self discipline is the answer. Simply get over it. Politically, one cannot confront a superior. Bad management will eventually catch up with a person, so my advice is to perservere. Keep on keepin' on and hang in there.
If I have most registered the name of my company under federal trademark, am I liable for a lawsuit?
Yes, you are if someone has registered the name for a business in the same category as yours. If the name is the same and the category is different, you are not liable. To give an example, if your computer company is called Simple Solutions and it is not under federal trademark, you are not liable if the owner of a dress shop has Simple Solutions under federal trademark. On the other hand, if your company sells dress patterns and fashions, you are liable for a lawsuit. My advice is to research the name of your company before you start your business, no matter how small a business it is at the beginning.
Please help me with an argument. Are the knife and fork crossed on the top of the plate to indicate one is finished?
I have heard of that style, however, I have never seen it in any etiquette book. The "crossed" position is the "rest" position for Continental-style of dining. The universal finished position is having the knife and fork parallel together with the handles on the lower right hand side of the plate. Visualize the plate as a clock. The silverware is placed at 10 minutes to 4 [o'clock], with the handles at 4 on the right side. This is universal information. In addition, it gives the server leverage to remove the plate properly from the right hand side. Note: Europeans place the silverware parallel at 3 o'clock. What is important, is to have the utensils PARALLEL, side by side.
It is so embarrassing sometimes using ketchup in a restaurant. Is there an easy way to get ketchup out of the bottle? Is there a proper way?
We all know the scenario. The glass bottle of Heinz ketchup on the restaurant table. The notorious viscosity. The embarrassment of shaking it, trying to get it to pour. The solution is to politely whack the embossed "57" on the bottle to start the flow. Yes, you may insert your knife into the bottle to start the flow, but you will be vulnerable for a mess if you insert it too far. For special parties, serve your ketchup in ramekins for each guest.
My recommendation is to train yourself to enjoy your food ketchup-less. Formal meals will entail social entertaining, business interview meals, business meals with your company, associates, etc. Do not ask for ketchup at formal meals, please.
Recently I attended a large holiday party, and I was confused on how to gracefully eat my food. There were many tables with different foods and small plates at each setting. Is it proper to fill one or two plates?
This style of entertaining is designed for receptions, parties, and reunions where people can mix and mingle while eating lightly, drinking a beverage, and enjoying conversation. The tables of food are called hors d'oeuvre stations, and usually each one has a theme, such as vegetarian, Mexican, fruit and cheese, sliced meats with small rolls, etc. Most of these foods are finger foods which are to be served separately from each table, however it would not be impolite to place small amounts of food on one plate from different tables. The faux pas is overloading the plate, making yourself vulnerable for spills. Do not take a used plate back for replenishing. Obtain a clean plate when you return to the stations. The beauty of this type of entertaining is to be able to socialize more with people. You may sit or stand while consuming the food. Good manners is having a napkin readily available while eating hors d'oeuvres.
What is the most appropriate gift to take to the hostess who is giving a party? I am thinking of wine, candy or flowers.
Out of the three choices, candy is the most appropriate unless she is a member of Weight Watchers. Make sure she is a connoisseur of wine if you choose to take a nice brand of wine. If it is a dinner party, explain that it does not have to be used that evening (this is because the wines have already been chosen.) As for flowers, it would be a wonderful gesture to send flowers only if the party is in your honor. Have them delivered a day ahead of time. The reason I say this is because when you take a bouquet of flowers to a party, the hostess does not have time to find a vase, trim the stems and arrange a bouquet. For the determined romantic, yes a lovely bouquet would be most appropriate for an intimate party. The most appropriate gift to take to the hostess is a simple ABC formula: A: is for attendance from a prompt RSVP (the commitment to attend.) B: is for behavior to have your character shine through with impeccable manners. C: is a card to send after the party expressing your thanks (guys, that goes for you as well!)
When should children begin to write thank you notes? Is it appropriate for older children to write e-mail thank you notes? What about faxing thank yous?
One of my favorite topics is thank you notes. As for children, thank you note etiquette should start as soon as the child is able to hold a writing utensil, even if their writing is not legible. Start with having them sign their "name" artistic as it may be. The parent can write the message and then help the child write his/her name to personalize the card. The next level is simple sentences expressing thanks and love. From there it continues into longer notes, love letters, or creative poems to special people such as Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles,friends, etc. Any paper is appropriate from school-ruled sheets to pretty thank you notes or stationery. (On a personal note avoid the Thank You note cards from the drug store. Plain note cards would be better.) The lesson of manners is part of basic training that is to be taught in the home. (Manners and basic civility start in the home.) It is a must for today's society, no matter what gender. I hear, especially from Grandparents, that people feel discounted when they send birthday money or holiday gifts and then they never hear verbal or written thanks. Young people think that people do not care, but they will learn later in life that they do care. Yes, e-mail thank yous are acceptable. Have your words come from the heart and be enthusiastic! Faxes can be creative with artwork to add flair. Just acknowledge someone's kindness, and it is never too late to send thanks. Special note: To get children interested in thank you notes, get them colored paper, creative children's stationery, colored pencils, decorative address labels, special stamps [that they have chosen at the post office],and stickers so that they can be creative.
Recently I overheard someone smartly ask if they would be seated "above the salt." Is this an etiquette term, and if so, what does it mean?
Offhand I would say this person was showing off because table settings today are different from years ago. The term "above the salt" goes back to Medieval times, referring to the seating of honored guests. Guests were seated on one side of the table so they could observe pages and servers bringing in the large amounts of food. The seating was also so they could view the entertainment during the meal. Salt was a precious condiment, placed in a small bowl (salt cellar) in front of the guest of honor. The guest of honor would use the salt and then pass it up [above] the table toward the head, and then back down again. Therefore, people "above the salt" got two shots of the precious substance. If you had a lower rank or lesser importance, you were seated "below the salt." Etiquette today dictates that the guest of honor - or the guest with the higher rank - is seated to the right of the host/hostess. Salt and pepper shakers are placed by the host and/or hostess, and they are ALWAYS passed together from the left to the right. (Exception: when someone on the immediate left requests them.) NEVER salt or pepper food before tasting it. That is the epitome of bad manners, and also an insult to the chef.
How does one eat and make conversation at the dinner table at the same time without appearing offensive?
Rule #1: DO NOT get drunk. Omit, or at least limit, alcoholic intake. People talk louder when they drink alcohol. Their convictions become stronger; therefore they can be perceived as obnoxious and offensive. Rule #2: Avoid controversial subjects such as sex, religion, politics, and controversial characters (e.g. Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschel, etc.) Rule #3: Listen to others more than talk about yourself. Your interest in another person makes you a more interesting person. Talk to people on both sides of you through out the meal. Rule #4: Know your table manners! Chew with your mouth closed and enjoy the experience.
It depends on where you are and with whom you are dining. If you are alone or with good friends, you may remove your sport coat. For business etiquette, you may remove your coat if your boss or host removes his. Note: At a formal dinner, do not remove your coat at any time.
I have been asked by my company to make a presentation in front of a very high-profile business group. Could you give me some quick tips?
The first tip is physiology. WALK with confidence. Give FIRM hand shakes. Have a PLEASANT facial expression. Give eye contact. Smile. Act as if you have known these people for years. Enjoy the experience. Attention to detail adds to your professional experience. Gentlemen, as you sit down, unbutton your jacket. As you stand, button the top button on a single breasted suit with two buttons, or the middle button/top two buttons if there are three buttons. Double breasted suits require inside buttons to be secured (to keep the suit in alignment) and the outer buttons are to be buttoned, unless there are two in which case only the top button is secured. NEVER button the BOTTOM button. (EXCEPTION: military uniforms, when all buttons are secured.) Next on the checklist: the tie. The tip of your tie should be between the middle and the top of your belt buckle. It is not to be above the belt buckle or below the belt buckle. Absolutely, no tie tacks. Use your old ones to secure the tie underneath, attached to the shirt. This will avoid flopping. The shirt with suits should be LONG SLEEVED, having the cuff be one quarter of an inch below the length of the jacket sleeve. Have your shirt professionally cleaned and pressed (medium starch.) Both men and women: Your SHOES should look brand new. Have them polished. Men's shoes should match the color of the belt, co-coordinated with the socks. Women, remember Rule 13: no more than 13 accessories. No more than one ring (wedding rings are a set, counted for one) on each hand, not one ring per finger. Keep it simple. Conservative HAIR STYLES, both for men and women. No slicking, spiking, or weird colors unless your audience is eccentric. During your presentation, keep your hands below your neck and out of your pockets (even worse, jingling coins in the pocket. Bad, bad, bad.) Don't move back and forth nervously. Avoid phrases such as "and uh" or "like." Do not look at the floor, look at your audience. Use humor appropriately. Lighten up with enthusiasm about your message. Have passion. Express thanks and appreciation at the end. Voila!
Could you cover salutations and closings in correspondence? Is it appropriate to sign "Love" rather than "Sincerely" ?
For business salutations, use a person's first name only if you have a close relationship. Otherwise a greeting such as "Dear Mr. Jones/Ms. Jones" is appropriate. A faux pas today is to use "Gentleman" or Dear Sir/Madame." The appropriate salutation when you do not a name is, "To Whom It May Concern." In business correspondence, simply end with "Sincerely." If writing an official or clergyman, sign "Respectfully yours." The closing "Love" is reserved for personal letters and cards. Only your heart will gauge when that is appropriate.
Years ago I was taught to place my coffee cup upside down to indicate to the server that I do not want coffee. Does this rule still apply today?
Pre-set coffee cups are primarily seen at breakfast and large banquets. It is perfectly all right to turn the cup upside down to indicate that you do not care for coffee. The only problem is that if you desire coffee later, be careful that the server does not remove the cup and saucer. To indicate to the server that you do not wish to have your beverage replenished, simply gesture by placing your hand slightly above the cup/glass using the international stop sign (fingers extended.) If the server pours you a beverage and you do not care to drink it, just let it sit. Enjoy the rest of your meal.
Am I supposed to wait for a woman to extend her hand before I initiate the handshake in introductions?
In a business setting, no. In a social setting, use your best judgment. Shake hands or do as the English by nodding a "How do you do?" with your head. No matter what gender you are, you are to STAND UP and then your hand is to be extended promptly when you meet another person. If you extend your hand to meet a woman and she does not offer her hand, then nonchalantly put your hand back down. And then go buy her an etiquette book (just kidding....sort of.)
Ideally, for a boy this means trousers, a shirt, and a jacket, vest or classic sweater. For girls, a party dress, dressy shoes, and white tights are very appropriate. No slacks or shorts on little girls. If a little girl is in a wedding, it is unsuitable to put makeup on her. I say "ideally" because our world has become so very casual today, and many adults think that many occasions such as weddings and funerals are casual. This concept started in the late 1960's when flower-children weddings in the field became popular. Brides were barefoot and grooms wore sandals. Tuxedos and froo froo gowns were out of the question. Unfortunately many thought a precedent had been set for guest attire. And the rest is history. Please understand that jeans, sneakers, and baseball caps are unacceptable (for all ages) at formal weddings. Whether it be for occasions such as weddings, funerals or any formal gathering, a child or young person's dress is one of the most important acts of propriety. If children cannot adhere to these guidelines, there is an excellent alternative: STAY AT HOME. In addition to dress, appropriateness of behavior is just as important. Parents taking toddlers to religious ceremonies should sit near the aisle. As soon as the child starts fussing, do not give him/her car keys to play with. Instead, PROMPTLY leave the sanctuary. Dear parents, the noise is very distracting!
Is there a boundary to tell someone - whether it be a friend or a stranger - that something on their person needs adjusting (e.g. a woman's slip showing, food on a person's chin, or worse yet a man's fly open?)
The answer to your question is a recommendation to simply turn the situation around and ask yourself, "Would I want this friend/stranger to tell me?" Tact and good judgment are the keys. You could help a friend by nonchalantly tucking in a shirt label or gracefully removing a price tag. We all need occasional help occasionally, and it is a courteous gesture reflecting your character. There are so many stories out there. One woman was sitting in church unaware that she had a $3 masking tape price tag (garage sale) adhered to her jacket. Ironically it was her own jacket that did not sell in the garage sale, so she decided to wear it to church. Other situations have included the infamous zipper, unzipped. Most men know "XYZ" which is the code to zip it up. We have all experienced slight embarrassments including shirt labels out (worse yet, your shirt on inside out [it happens early in the morning]), spinach in the teeth, runs in stockings, mud on shoes, toilet paper stuck on shoe, and the list goes on and on. So the Golden Rule applies, helping others as you would like them to help you.
I do not know if it is because I served my [our] country for four years in the Navy, but I get disgusted when the national anthem is being played and there is a lack of respect. Many men do not remove their hats, women keep on talking, and some people keep walking down the aisle like it is a walk in the park. Why don't they face the flag and place their right hand over their heart while singing?
This is a pet peeve of many, whether or not they served in the armed forces. Although we cannot control inconsiderate people in this country, we can communicate. Here is some flag etiquette: 1) Any time the American flag is being honored, it is respectful to stop talking and walking. 2) If you are uncomfortable about singing the national anthem, lip-sync the words. 3) Face the flag and place your right hand over your heart. Members of the armed forces in uniform or scouts in uniform will salute. Non-citizens show respect by standing with their hands at their sides. 4) It is appropriate for ushers to block traffic at doorways. If you are en route to your seat, you are to stop. 5) If you are observing a parade while sitting, you stand when the first flag goes by. It is not necessary to stand after that. 6) Flags should not be tattered or faded. When they get weathered they should be burned, not thrown in the trash can. If you do not feel comfortable burning your flag, simply take it to a VFW Post, American Legion or any military facility. 7) When displaying the flag by hanging, the field (stars) should always be on the left. Honoring the flag is showing respect for our nation. The gestures and rules of civility have never gone out of style. This protocol should be taught to pre-schoolers, and it should be instilled by example whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, or any other respected member of the community. One more time: Men REMOVE those baseball caps!!!
I have had numerous debates over an obscure issue. My mother says that my brother and I should walk on the street side when walking with a lady. The custom originated, she says, so that if a car drives through a puddle of water and splashes the man is there to shield the woman. Is this still appropriate in social as well as business settings?
Tradition has it that this basic rule of civility was established by George Washington in the days when carriages rumbled by, indeed splashing mud and water. Also, garbage used to be thrown out of windows on to the street, so it was considered chivalrous for the man to be in the path of the discarded food. Although these conventions are out of date, along with a man placing his coat on a puddle for a woman to class, it is a very nice gesture for a man to walk on the street side. In an urban environment, he may choose to walk on the inside to protect her against possible crime. My suggestion is to communicate when in doubt and ask the woman what she would prefer. From the same school of thought, another rule remains in style. Who goes up/down the stairs first? The man is always on the downside in case the woman trips or falls. It is modern-day chivalry to assist anyone who falls, male/female or stranger/friend.
Is it the responsibility of a corporate guest to introduce himself/herself to the receptionist upon arrival at a business office? This seems to be an attitude problem on the regional district management level of our corporation.
Anytime anyone enters a business office where there is a receptionist it is protocol to identify yourself and the person with whom you have an appointment. "Hello, I am Peter Nelson. I have a 10 a.m. appointment with Mr. Huhnke." A handshake with the receptionist is not necessary. Sharp manners would be to hand the receptionist a business card to clarify your name and business. A word to the wise: It would behoove one to have gracious manners with the office personnel, whether your transactions are over the phone or in person. Job offers and business deals start from the time a client/interviewee walks into the main office. Rude people lose big time. If you are the receptionist and someone's attitude seems "above it" to give a name, just smile and simply ask for the visitor's name. Stay sane in spite of anyone's lack of manners.
The answer is under the jurisdiction of the company's owner or management who should give instructions at the time of hiring. When in doubt, ask. Personally, I think it is more professional to state your name. That way a caller has reference. Nothing is worse than being asked later, "To whom did you speak?" and not having a clue. Good lesson: Always make note of a person's name and ask for a reference number or record locator. This is especially important when making reservations.
I am a man and I do not know any etiquette about women's clothing, however, wouldn't you think that a woman would be aware of the shortness of her skirt when she sits down? - especially in a business setting?
Yes, I would think. Note: Most corporate dress codes for skirt length dictate that it is no shorter than two inches above the top of the knee.
When asked what you want to drink, honestly answer whatever you desire. If you say tonic and someone insists you have gin and tonic, politely say that you prefer it without alcohol. Fortunately in today's society it is very accepted and wise not to drink alcohol, whereas years ago guests were pressured to drink alcoholic beverages. Today we do have healthy choices, from food to beverages to lifestyles. A smart host will be gracious to comply. In another situation, if wines are pre-poured at the dinner table, they do not have to be consumed. And if a toast is made, it is the gesture of raising the glass that is important, not the consumption of the beverage.
Please give guidelines about arriving promptly for dinner/social hours/receptions. How are these guidelines different if you are one of the hosts?
First of all, as a host you are to arrive before your guests unless a co-host has been designated. Being completely prepared for guests to arrive is sometimes challenging. Organization is the key. A suggestion is to hire extra help or have friends assist. As the guest, NEVER arrive earlier than the designated time of any party unless you are a good friend or your help has been requested. It is important to understand that the hour before the party is critical for preparation, including getting dressed. That is why it is important to refrain from calling host unless it is an emergency. Arrival times for brunch, lunch or dinner should be promptly at the requested time because these parties have a schedule. It would be very bad to show up 30 minutes late for a dinner party., whereas receptions and social hours have more flexibility. Arriving 10 minutes late is cutely called "fashionably late." When accepting invitations, it is good manners to let your host know if there is a conflict. RSVP means "please reply" at which time your acknowledgement of attendance becomes a commitment. The responsibility of the guest is to show up on time, well groomed, and festive in spirit. If the invitation designates a cut-off time (e.g. 7-9 p.m.) a guest is to depart accordingly.
Last year I sent quite a few graduation cards to kids, enclosing $20 in each. I only received 2 thank you notes. Then I felt that possibly the $20 was not worthy enough for the ones who did not acknowledge it. This year my child is graduating, so I plan to send many more cards. How much is enough? I do not want to look cheap by not sending enough.
The problem is not the money. Twenty dollars enclosed in a nice card is definitely sufficient for a high school and/or college graduation for a friend. The problem in your situation is the lack of manners by the people who have not acknowledged your card and gift. It does not take much time or effort to write a simple thank-you note. Quite simply, kids this age think that people do not care. (If they did not care, they wouldn't send a gift in the first place!!) The young people who did write to you are headed toward more success in life. The ones who did not acknowledge your kindness are off to a bad start in the "real world." Possibly they will learn with the process of maturity when they someday part with a big bill to give someone a "pat on the back." But in my opinion they need a thump on the head!
I read somewhere that you are supposed to tip everyone that does you a service. If this were true, that would mean tipping the person who slices your cold cuts, the salesperson who leads you half way through the store to help you find an item, the person who bags your groceries, etc. Does that mean I would have to tip the boy who mows my lawn, my cleaning lady, and the mail carrier? Are you supposed to tip the carpet cleaners, any service repairman, or the men who deliver your furniture? We live in a small town, so does tipping apply to a small town the way it does to a larger one? Please tell me exactly who is supposed to be tipped and exactly how much. Wouldn't this mean that we would have to carry a lot of dollars around?
If taken literally, "everyone that does you a service" would mean everyone and anyone in business. Tipping originated in the 18th century. The acronym for TIPS is "to insure proper service." Today there are two kinds of tipping. Influential tipping is given to show your appreciation for extra service or for a favor. This would be appropriate for a maitre d', concierge, hotel maid, or furniture movers. The second is a thank you tip given to a person who has performed a service for you. Waiters, bellmen, porters, skycaps, taxi drivers, hairdressers, manicurists, and shoe shiners are in this category. Many of these people rely on tips to supplement their income. At airports only skycaps and porters for special services are to be tipped. The guideline is one to three dollars per suitcase or box, and five dollars for wheelchair (airlines call it "courtesy chair") service. Flight attendants are not tipped, except for charter flights. Tipping in small towns may differ because of the level of service. For instance, in a modest restaurant there are usually fewer people to tip. The general rule is 15% of the bill. Fifty cents to one dollar for the coat person. One to two dollars for valet parkers. In a finer restaurant with more servers it gets more complicated. The general rule is now 20% of the bill. $1-2 for coat clerk. $1-3 for valet parkers. In restaurants where you have received poor service you may leave a smaller tip, but it would be nice to explain why. Poor service in any business should be reported to management. You are doing a favor for future customers. Another form of tipping is a holiday present or gift of money, but it is a very personal thing. To express your thanks it is appropriate but not required to acknowledge those who have served you such as the newspaper carrier, mail carrier, garbage collectors, gardener, babysitter, maid, etc. The bottom line is that you may offer a tip to anyone you wish. Have dollars on hand to be prepared, but the BEST tip is to show respect for a person's job by being kind. A word of thanks or a letter of commendation enlightens anyone's employment. I consistently commend people, and I encourage my readers to do the same. "Thanks for making my lunch" is one of my favorite transactions at a fast food restaurant.
I was born on February 29th, 1976. Throughout my life I have felt discounted for not having a birthdate to celebrate except for every four year. People tell me that I should look at it as if I am "younger" than my friends. But I feel deprived.
Every leap year date is as unique as you. Not only are you a leap-year child, you are also under the etiquette jurisdiction to celebrate your phantom birthday between February 28th and March 1st. Think about it: this entails 48 hours for three consecutive years and 72 hours on every fourth year! Be unique and celebrate accordingly! Or tell your friends and family which date you choose to celebrate. In the meantime, lighten up, celebrate your unique life, and, be thankful to have a birth date!
The etiquette is to RSVP your regrets for the party. Sending a card would reflect good manners. A $10-$25 restaurant gift certificate enclosed in the card would reflect your style. The level of friendship or professional relationship is the gauge. Otherwise, a gift is not necessary.
The etiquette books say no. My take on this is discretion. AFTER the meal, very discreetly put it on. No mirrors, lipstick brushes and all the hoopla. Just a zip across the lip.
While I was outside last week, I was introduced to a man. I removed my right glove to shake his hand, however, he did not remove his glove. Who was correct?
You were correct. Only the Queen may wear gloves while shaking hands.
I am recently engaged and my fiancé wants me to meet all of his friends, of course. My dilemma is when he gets around his old buddies because he forgets that I am there. How can I adjust?
This would be a good one for Dr. Phil. But I will assure you that it is not that he forgets you. He just gets pre-occupied when he is excited about being around his old pals. Remember, although you are very important, his pals played an important part of his life as well. It will be detrimental if you act jealous. Discuss your feelings ahead of time. Possibly he can introduce you to another fiancée or wife so that you may bond with the women. You will have to give him space and respect his territory. When he is wrapped up in conversation, sit and listen to the conversation or walk around and socialize. Approach individuals who are standing alone. Be proud that you are engaged to him. Enjoy the hors d'oeuvres. Watch people having fun. The best way to become a friend is to be one. If you demonstrate respect for him, your mate will reciprocate when he is at your reunions and family parties. If you start a marriage being insecure, you are headed for serious trouble.
My husband passed away several weeks ago. I have been asked why I continue to wear my wedding rings. Is there a proper time to discontinue wearing them? I was told they should be reversed on the finger. What is the proper thing to do?
Reversing the rings on the finger (the wedding band on top of the engagement ring) does indicate that you are a widow. It is a personal choice how long you wear your rings. Your heart will tell you the answer. Some women give them to their daughters. Some put them away in a safety deposit box. And some choose to wear them, enjoying the cherished jewelry and precious memories. People have different reasons and the choices are personal. My widower dad could not get his off his finger, he had worn it for so long. A friend continues to wear her ring so that men will not approach her. (If anyone is interested in starting a new relationship, it may be wise to put the ring[s] aside for a while.)
Condiments are accompaniments for food, such as mustard, horseradish, jam, etc. Yes, there is etiquette when eating such condiments. The key is to "spoon" small portions on to your bread and butter plate (jams and jellies) or on to your luncheon/dinner plate. Never smear butter, jams, or jellies directly on to a roll from a serving dish. In the same manner, place cranberry or horseradish sauce on your plate first, not directly on the meat. Steak sauce and ketchup are condiments. At a formal meal, at someone's home or at a business meal, NEVER ask for these condiments to season your steak. I recommend that you do not use them unless your host has offered them. When providing these condiments at formal meals, it is proper to place them in small bowls (ramekins) with a small spoon for serving. Relevant to this subject, dips are considered condiments for fresh vegetables. NEVER "double dip" your vegetables in to the serving bowl or party dip. Spoon the dip on to your small hors d'oeuvre plate, then you may "triple dip" if you so please.
The main course dinner fork. When you are finished, place both the salad and dinner forks parallel on you plate at the 10 to 4 [o'clock] position.
If you are doing something that does not please your mate, I have to say that you are wrong in working on a compatible relationship. Think about how it looks, first of all. Sort of goofy, right? Now if you are in a diner and you are all alone sitting at the counter, I would say okay, especially if you order chili. But when you are out with your wife, no. It is not worth a family argument. Take the tie to the cleaners if you get it soiled.
On your right side, either on the lapel or adjacent to where the lapel would be. For networking purposes, this enables you to easily glance at someone's name, especially if you have momentarily forgotten it. Let me clarify that professionals such as realtors, store clerks, flight attendants, doctors, and Fred at the gas station wear them on the left. But when networking, the nametag goes on the right side to be in alignment with the handshake.
Left hand. You may drink out of the right hand, but shift it back over to the left. This will enable you to have your right hand free for shaking, but it will also avoid a cold, clammy handshake.
Before going out, wash your hands and dry them well. Apply an odorless anti-perspirant to the palm of your right hand. Whatever you do, be careful not to scratch your eyes using this hand. Hopefully this will help you. People who have cold hands, I suggest that you go to the restroom and run very warm water over them before meeting people.
What does one do or how does one respond when on vacation with friends and someone tactfully and pleasantly says, "We are planning a shopping trip tomorrow, however, it is fine if you don't want to go with us." Excuse me, what does that mean?
It means opportunity !! It means choice !! It means you can sleep in and do nothing - Hallelujah!! It means you have the choice to go shopping, or the choice to have a day to yourself. That choice offers opportunity to go to the beach, visit a museum or take a long walk. It is freedom to do whatever you want to do on YOUR vacation! Please do not be one of those vacationers - or a general person in life - who "reads something into nothing" and hence, spoils the moment or the day. When it comes to vacations, holiday seasons, and everyday life, our basic communication starts with words. Here is a review of word-watch: 1) The words you choose. Are they appropriate, or may they be perceived differently than what you are trying to say? 2) Intonation: the way you say them. Pleasant words don't count if the tone of your voice is sarcastic.
The etiquette is to RSVP your regrets for the party. Sending a card would reflect good manners. Enclosing a $10-$25 restaurant gift certificate would reflect your style. The level of your friendship or professional relationship is the gauge. Otherwise, a gift is not necessary.
It is appropriate for little girls to curtsy when they are being introduced to an important person.
Absolutely! It shows that you are confident!
I would like to have an etiquette information session with girls on how to dress for formal dinners and interviews. I am sorry to say, but some of the girls do not know how to dress appropriately in this day and age. Do you have any ideas on how to present the session without embarrassing the girls?
My suggestion is for you to call At Ease, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH to order one of their videos which addresses professional dress. Their number is 1-800-873-9909, and most likely Suzy will assist you. The problem is everywhere, because young women want to be "in". Dressing for a date and dressing for a job interview are two entirely different categories. Ann Marie Sabbath's information is invaluable for college women today.
I have a small dilemma. I was invited to my fiance's holiday company party. The invitation says semi formal. My other problem is I'm like a size 16, so I have no idea what to wear, and i don't want to wear a dress if I don't have to.
Quite simply, semi formal it means dressy, fancy, cocktail-type attire. You do not have to wear a dress because fancy slacks with a "flowing" top [which will help you with your size] will work just fine. The "in" color seems to be black these days, even for weddings. The accessories are most important: fancy earrings, dressy pumps/sandals, and a small evening bag to carry your lipstick. My biggest tip for you is to BE SURE TO SMILE. This is your fiance's office party, so smile sincerely! This time of the year, most stores are having terrific sales. Having a basic "semi-formal" outfit ready to go will be worth your time and money. Change the look with accessories, but never change the smile=). Have fun, and be gracious!
When departing from a social gathering (be it at a home or academic function) is it correct etiquette to quietly leave as to not direct attention that you are leaving, or to thank the host and inform them you are departing. (It is assumed that if the prior is chosen that you thank the host upon your arrival).
Both of your hypothetical answers are correct. If you know that you cannot stay long at a social gathering such as a cocktail party or academic gathering, inform the host/hostess/sponsor upon arrival. "Thank you for inviting me, I do want you to know that I have to leave in about thirty minutes at which time I will quietly slip out." (NOTE: Same thing when attending such events such as a speech, art show, demonstration, etc. In other words, do not just get up and walk out of a speech unless it is an emergency.) This scenario would not be appropriate for a dinner party where you would be expected to stay through the entire meal. As for large parties, such as a wedding reception, graduation party, etc. where there are many guests, it is proper to thank the people hosting the party as you leave IF there is an appropriate opportunity, AND it is also all right to discreetly leave, not drawing attention to your departure. (Personally I prefer to slip away, but then I take time within a few days to write a note of thanks.) It is never inappropriate to send thank you notes under any circumstances. Today, in our casual society, e-mail is popular correspondence for such affairs. When in doubt, send a personal hand-written note. If a close friend hosts the party, a sincere phone call is appropriate. Just remember that many people are "partied out" the day after a party, mainly because of the time entailed in cleaning up [home parties especially] and the energy involved in hosting. Bottom line: Have your "social sixth sense" be the guide.
Which side does one serve meals and drinks? I knew all this years ago but our family serves buffet style now and I would like to know if I have a sit down dinner from which side of the guest is the meal served and also from which do you serve drinks?
Excellent question! When serving guests at a sit down dinner, the food is served on the left side. It is removed from the right. A way to remember it is "LL/RR" which means "leave it at the left, remove it from the right." The universal sign to a server that a diner is finished, is the placement of the used silverware. Visualizing the plate as a "clock", the knife and fork are placed parallel between 3 [o'clock] and 6 o'clock. I like to teach "10 to 4 [o'clock].) The handles of the silverware are at the 4. This not only indicates to the server that one is finished, it also makes it easier for the server to remove the plate from the right side. Beverages are served on the right side of the diner. Beverages are to the right of one's place setting, hence it is safer for the server to pour beverages closer to the glass/cup. The universal sign to a server that a diner does not want a beverage replenished is when one places a few fingers over the glass/cup, which is a polite "stop" signal.
Semi formal is less than formal, but more than informal. This is a perfect occasion to wear dressy slacks with a dressy top, dressy low heels, and sassy accessories. For a casino night you want to be comfortable too. So forget the long dress and the mini skirt. Be in a festive mood and you will have a great time!
Is it appropriate to ask to see a letter of recommendation that someone is writing for you before they submit it. We all know that letters of recommendation can be wonderful! But, I am concerned about the possibility of someone messing up in a letter that they write on my behalf. Is it rude to ask to see it before they submit it to a future employer, graduate school, etc?
When a person asks for a letter of recommendation or a character reference, he/she is asking someone of mutual respect. If a person cannot write something positive, they should politely decline the opportunity. If you ask someone for a letter for your file, that would indicate you want to possess it. If it is for a letter directly sent to a company, you may not have the opportunity. In that case, you will just have to trust the person you have asked. Some companies offer envelopes, which definitely indicates private information. Asking for a letter may be intimidating, but relax. You will be pleasantly surprised when years later you have the opportunity to read your personnel file.
I am a tall girl and was wondering if it is appropriate to wear heels to a function if they will make me taller than my date? I know to stand tall and be proud, but I am not quite sure if this extended to high heels on a date.
Fortunately for you, there are many wonderful shoes out that are fashionable for your situation. Low (1 inch-type) "high heels" are so in style, AND they are COMFORTABLE! My recommendation is to search out these low, stylish shoes where you feel dressy for formal occasions and sporty for casual occasions. One more time, "stand tall" because that is the way God created you. You are special, do not forget that.
When "closing" the plate to indicate that you are finished, place the knife and fork PARALLEL TOGETHER on the right side of the plate. Visualize the plate as a clock. The handles of the flatware go between 3 and 6 o'clock. I like "10 to 4" (right in the middle of 3 and 6) parallel together. If you need your knife for the next course, place the fork, tines down on the plate. "Rest" position is either crossed (Continental style), or the knife on the plate at the top and the fork tines-up at 10 to 4 (American style.) It can be exasperating when dining in our country because most American wait staff personnel do not know this silent language. ALL European restaurants know this information and abide by it.
Is there a standard format for Thank You cards and where could I access the information on how to write them?
The biggest recommendation I have for thank you notes is to be enthusiastic. Avoid "I would like to thank you for..." Simply start with your thanks in the first 12 words: "Thank you for [the opportunity to be interviewed with your company, the dynamic tie you sent for my birthday, the time you spent with me today", etc.] In short notes, have a minimum of three sentences, one for thanks, the next about how much it meant, and lastly something personal about the person. "Grandma you have always been there for me, and I want you to know that I truly love you" will capture Grandma's heart. The stationery depends on the occasion. A properly typed letter to a company for a job interview is excellent. A handwritten note to Grandma or to a friend's mom whom you visited over spring break is very nice. E-mail is the most informal correspondence, which is definitely better than nothing. (I have received many WONDERFUL ray-of-sunshine thank you notes via e-mail.) I highly recommend having a stationery portfolio. An excellent resource is The Horchow Collection, which is a Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. Their number is 1-800-456-7000, and they will send you sample stationery. My favorite one for ladies is #716A (on sale now, 50 for $31). For gentlemen, I recommend the bordered correspondence cards #705A (also on sale, 50 for $32.) Children should be trained to write thank you notes as soon as they can hold a crayon or pencil. It is okay if they scribble the words, the training is invaluable. Personally, I know of a young man who was hired by a large company because he had written MANY thank you notes/letters.
A relative arrives 1 1/2 hours late for Christmas dinner and then spends another 30 minutes wrapping presents. Does this constitute bad manners?
No, this constitutes abhorrent manners. Try to have compassion and help because this relative needs help. If you are serving a roast and timing is critical, eat without this relative. Offer a sandwich for their meal after they wrap their gifts. Compassion for civility is the key to sanity. Hang in there.
My husband and I are having a disagreement. I took a lot of time making a homemade dinner that included garlic bread. The second his plate was cleared, rather than getting seconds he decided to grab a leftover biscuit off of the counter and smother it with jam as if it were part of dinner. He said he wanted something sweet. I said I found it insulting, though. Not only did he add to the dinner I made but he did it with the kids there, which I felt made a bad statement to them. Was I in the wrong, being offended or was it rude of him to do that?
Perception is reality in the mind of the person who perceives it. This is a perception question. Instead of feeling insulted, possibly you could feel complimented that he loved your food and wanted more by adding jam to the biscuit. Let me twist the story around for you. What if you had a very dear friend over to your place for a meal and you wanted to really please this person? It would warm your heart [hopefully] if this friend gladly ate your wonderful food and then [felt comfortable with your hospitality to] put jam on a luscious biscuit to top off the meal, right? I will not take sides here, but I strongly encourage you to consider each family member as a very dear friend. To communicate without being emotional, simply start the sentence with the word I, not you, e.g. “I feel [uncomfortable]…” as opposed to “You make me [mad]…”
If there is not a professional photographer and you do not get any cues from the girl, my suggestion is to ask her or have her take the lead. Pay attention to any “invisible icebergs” (stay away) or “red flags” (beware, danger) in any relationships with or without pictures.
I am hosting a sit-down dinner for my wife's birthday. I was thinking that it would be appropriate to offer a welcome toast thanking everyone for attending before dinner begins and then later before the cake is served to have a formal toast. I was also thinking of having my wife's sister and my son say a few words. Do I have it all right in my thinking and timing? Thank you very much for your reply
Your timing and your plan sounds very nice.
I recommend the ladies room for grooming. If you have to replenish the lipstick and cannot get away from the table, simply reach down for your purse and discreetly put it on quickly. (It works!)
It depends on the gift. If it is personal, I recommend different gifts. Discuss with a good friend for advice.
It is recommended to keep within the time from of the invitation. If the event is going well the host may encourage people to stay longer.
Unless the children have been invited, do not take your children. There is only one exception, and that happened to a friend of mine recently. She had been invited to an out of state afternoon wedding, and her husband could not attend. She and her 10 year old daughter were going to be in the area for a concert that evening, so she called the bride and asked if the daughter could attend in place of her husband. My friend and her daughter thoroughly enjoyed both events, and the bride loved having the daughter attend. Indeed, that was acceptable. Most formal events do not include children.
What is the proper way to inquire about the progress of a letter of recommendation someone has said they will write for you. It has been 2 weeks.
When you asked for the recommendation did you say the time frame? Calling or writing is most appropriate to gently remind the person. “Thank you for offering to write me a recommendation. I do need it as soon as possible and this is the [address of] person to whom you may send it.”
Either the person is on a mission, or possibly it is to navigate easier (such as at an airport terminal with lots of people). My suggestion is to ask this person directly.
is it ok to wear a maxi long dress or a dress with one sleeve to a christmas holiday work party at a resturant?
If it is an evening party, and if the restaurant is upscale, I vote yes! ‘Tis the season to be festive!
My husband and I took my niece and her boyfriend to a fancy restaurant. I had already advised wearing business casual. When we showed up to pick them up they were dressed in rumpled blue jeans and sneakers. It was embarrassing and felt put on the spot, didn't know what to do. What advice can I give her other than graciously taking a raincheck or calling the restaraunt to find out the dress code herselfThanks.
Oh goodness, my husband and I totally understand this scenario. Unfortunately it is a sign of the times. Your niece and her boyfriend heard the word "casual" when you said "business casual". In early January I will be posting a new chart on my "handouts" under the tab "references" on my website. It clarifies business casual for gentlemen. In your situation, I would have cancelled the reservation and rerouted to a casual TGIFriday's-type restaurant. Because otherwise you would not have enjoyed the meal. This would be a good time to [gently] teach your niece what business casual means because no one has ever taught her (or the boyfriend).
Call the family member and/or someone who lives close to them. Go on with your dinner. Say a prayer. This person(s) may have decided to take a cruise and forgot to call you. Stanger things have happened, especially in families.
I'm turning sixteen in a few months and I'm starting to make plans for my party. Usually, people give speeches at the party recognizing the 16 most important people in their lives. I put a lot of thought into it and realized I can't really put a number order on my friends and family. I don't want anyone to feel hurt that they weren't included or make some friends feel that they are less important to me than others. But will it seem rude and unappreciative to skip that part of the ceremony? Thanks in advance!
First of all, I am very impressed that you are planning in advance, and thinking of the sensitivity of others.
This is my recommendation for your situation: You could address your guests in a “speech-type format” where you thank everyone for attending your party. Be honest, and simply say that you cannot specifically name 16 people [who are important in your life] because you have been so blessed with soooooo many people in your 16 years. Possibly you could say that you want to reverse the number to 61, however that would take a long time. But what you REALLY want is to honor the very people who are there at your party because they came to celebrate YOU!!!! And this is your time to thank and honor THEM in return!!! This will be a very memorable win-win part of your special celebration!
What is the proper time to leave a birthday party if not stated on invite? Any time there is not a time indicated on the invitation, it is up to the guest. When you feel that you have been at the party long enough, that is your guage.
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