Joan Rivers Etiquette: How to compliment nip/tucked friend

by EPI Staff on June 18, 2009

Q:I ran into a friend I’d heard had face-lift and who looked noticeably younger than she did the last time I saw her.  Since she’s obviously told people about her surgery, would it have been all right to mention it-and how good she looked?

A:Unless she told you about the surgery herself, you were right not to mention it.  If you want to compliment her on how terrific she looks, she’ll no doubt appreciate it.  But be general in your compliments.  Don’t say anything about noticing specific changes from the face-lift.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

LaJuana Caldwell June 18, 2009 at 7:54 am

Q. I am preparing invitations for the 50th Anniversary of my Church and our Pastors’ 20th Anniversary of ministry at the church. The event will be at a hotel. Tickets are $50.00. How do I word this in a formal invitation?


Nicole Jackson June 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I had a family member give me a gift for my birthday which I believe to be fake. Should I let them know how I feel? Not sure how th handle situation because I know it is the thought that counts and I love that they thought of me, but I now don’t feel as good using the item since I found out. Any advice is welcome.


Daniel Post Senning June 23, 2009 at 8:44 am

Unless you feel that the person who got you the gift thought it was “real” and may have been taken advantage of in a way that could be avoided in the future I would not mention it. If they keep mentioning how lucky they were to find you the present or how much they liked the dealer or shop where they got it you might want to say something. Otherwise, whether they intended to fool you, were taken advantage of, or simply don’t share the same standards of authenticity, this could be an uncomfortable topic to raise if you don’t know the circumstances around the purchase.


Sean-Thomas Flynn June 21, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Nicole – your gift was fake. What was I must ask?

However, my curiousity aside, I believe that the thought does count – and anytime someone thinks of us enough to buy a gift – whether it’s genuine or whether it is a “knock-off” they still bought you a gift. Remember the other saying – “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”.

Thank them for the gift and move on.

If you just find it too hideous, you could regift it (that’s a great idea for the company “White Elephant” gift exchange at Christmas time). However, make sure the giving party will not know. And if you think they will find out – DON”T DO IT.


Graceandhonor June 25, 2009 at 7:19 am

Dear Nicole, I must respectfully disagree with my new friends, Messrs. Senning and Flynn. I would say, “Aunt Joan, You are so sweet to have remembered my birthday with the purse you gave me. I am concerned, though, as it is a forgery and I know you did not know that when you purchased it. I hope you can get your money back.”

This conveys that you are concerned for her finances and her being taken advantage of, that you are discerning in knowing real from fake, and that, if this is a normal m.o. of Aunt Joan’s, the family is on to her. There is nothing wrong with Aunt Joan giving knock-offs if she acknowledges they are, but a kind and subtle intervention is appropriate when those we love have difficulties with attempting to appear as something they are not. This, however, does not address the dishonesty we engage in when we purchase an item that is not genuine and cheats the real manufacturer of their rightful fruits, and I vote for avoidance of knock-offs entirely. Forge your own path, seek your own originality!


Graceandhonor June 25, 2009 at 7:34 am

Ms. Caldwell,

May I suggest a formal, border-embossed card (no foldover) with each of the following lines centered:

In honor of
Reverend and Mrs. Matthew M. Luke
and their twenty years of service to
St. John’s Methodist Church
the favor of your attendance is requested
on Saturday, the first of September,
Two Thousand and Nine
Seven O’clock in the evening
Grand Marriott Hotel
2000 Money Boulevard
Houston, Texas

The following lines should be a left margin, not centered:

Reception begins at Seven O’clock
Dinner will be served at Eight O’clock
Tickets $50.00 per person
Reservations are necessary
R.s.v.p LaJuana Campbell, phone (000) 000-0000

Don’t forget the Reverend’s Mrs. and acknowledge her in some way that evening! Good Luck!


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