1. Colleen

    1-Is it ok to eat off the ice cream lid when container is not empty?

    2-Is it ok to spoon out of the ice cream container while at a party of at least 10 and it’s not close to empty?

    3-Is it ok to allow a child to eat cake & ice cream on your hosts’ furnature?

    4-Is it ok to walk into someone’s house with your shoes on?
    (even the pope took his shoes of out of respect)

    5-Is it ok to smoke in an enclosed area with children?

    6-Is it ok to host your own (birthday, house warming, bridal, baby, bachlor or bachlorette) party?
    ~This is any party where gifts are expected…

    7-Is it ok to host your own “open house” This is a party that you pay for and others just attend.

    8-is it ok to show up at dinner time, without notice?

    9-is it ok to wash your hands in the kitchen sink and use the kitchen DISH towel?

    10-is it ok to tell someone to take their shoes off while entering your house?

    11-is it ok to tell your guests not to eat on your furnature?

    12-is it ok to tell the truth if you don’t like a gift you receive?

    13-is it ok to re-gift?

    14-Is it ok to show up at a party that rsvps have been requested and you never rsvp’d?

    • Daniel Post Senning

      I’ll do my best. Here we go.

      1 – No
      2 – No
      3 – Depends on the situation. Sometimes this is what the host intends (many parties are informal), sometimes it is not.
      4 – Again, it depends. The guest should look to the house and host they are visiting for cues. If there is a place where people obviously take off shoes or the host asks, then of course a guest should remove their shoes.
      5 – Never!
      6 – Usually not. I can think of a few cases that might be reasonable exceptions but this is the case with most guide lines.
      7 – Yes
      8 – Need more information for a good answer. Who is showing up where?
      9 – Generally, as each kitchen runs a bit differently, it is a good idea to follow the lead of one’s host with things like this.
      10 – Yes, although I would think of it as asking them.
      11 – Same answer as 10.
      12 – This is one of the best questions about etiquette that we get. We base our etiquette advice on the principles of respect, honesty, and consideration. This is a case where honesty and consideration for someone else feelings might appear to be in conflict. You don’t want to lie and end up getting the same ugly sweater again next year and you don’t want to hurt the feelings of someone who has made the effort to get you a present. Finding something genuine that you can thank the person for is critical. For example “I really appreciate the thought you put into this.” or “Thank you so much for remembering me on my birthday, I appreciate it.” Then maybe when you add “Generally I prefer solid colors to patterns.” they will come to know your taste and make a better gift choice next time.
      13 – Yes if you do it carefully and don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
      14 – It is impolite. Depending on the nature of the event it might or might not be a complete disruption.

      That was fun!

      • Daniel Post Senning

        I would like to expand my answer on regifting as this is such a hot topic in etiquette. Please look for an extensive front page post on Monday (5/18/09) about this topic.

  2. gail

    We are planning a dinner for family and close friends at a restaurant the evening before our Mother’s memorial ceremony. How can we gracefully let invitiees know they are to pay for their own dinner?

    • Daniel Post Senning

      This is a great question that comes up often. Take a look at the question and discussion from 4/16 (Restaurant Parties) in the Entertaining Etiquette category. This might help.

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