Open thread

by EPI Staff on September 8, 2009

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This open thread is your space to use as you like.  We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Pennie Medley September 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I have a question about engagement etiquette. Is there a polite length of time to wait to announce an engagement, if the person’s older sibling has recently announced an engagement. The younger sibling does not want to steal the glory from the older sibling, yet doesn’t know how long of a wait would be appropriate. Are there any guidelines?

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Graceandhonor September 9, 2009 at 11:46 am

If at all possible, to avoid any hard feelings, if you can postpone your engagement announcement until after your sibling’s wedding, that would be ideal.

Barring that, perhaps midway between the sibling’s announcement and wedding, and be lowkey about your own plans until after the sibling’s wedding. Perhaps your parents could give you some confidential advice and input.

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Jeff September 8, 2009 at 7:31 pm

This question is as puzzling to me as the origin of people who just have to have a red front door. (You red door people are fine, but that is not the opinion I seek.)

I am seeing a lovely lady. We are both attorneys. She is a true southern lady and I a southern gentleman. We are 14 years apart in age. I am the older. Thus, maybe there is something I am missing.

We interact in person like two people who love each other’s company. We are taking it very slowly (we have been out ten times), so there are no issues related to the usual culprit. We are both busy and live an hour apart, so I admit that we rely on text messages during the week until we can see each other on one or two weekend evenings, depending on our children’s activities (we are both dedicated parents).

The only thing that bothers me is that I on occasion ask her (by text I admit) if she wants to meet me on a week night for dinner. But when I ask her if she wants to meet me on a week night, the conversation ends — without exception. A simple, “I can’t” would suffice, but I get absolutely no response.

Is it the word “meet”? (I usually drive to her.) Is it that she cannot bring herself to tell me no for worry of making me think she is putting me off? Am I committing an etiquette faux paus with which I am unfamiliar?

We both prefer text communication for our busy schedules, and plan every date in that manner, so it doesn’t seem to be a telephone invitation issue.

When we are together, she leans her head on my shoulder at a movie or in a social situation. We kiss as two people who are fond of each other would. She is available at every time I ask her out for the next date. We have a very good time. We hold hands and walk around various town squares.

Today, just to be certain that I wasn’t imagining things, I asked her if she wanted to meet me for dinner halfway between our cities tomorrow. No response. We were in a text conversation later tonight and I sent a message that said, “I would ask you if you want to meet me for dinner tomorrow, but the last time I asked that the conversation ended abruptly.” No response. And the conversation ended.

I know this is not an end-of-the-world question, but are my sensitivities from another generation, or what?

I would greatly appreciate sage advice on this issue.

Jeff

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Graceandhonor September 9, 2009 at 11:43 am

Dear Jeff,

It is time to be direct, “Why do you abruptly end our conversations each time I ask you to meet me for dinner?” The problem with the way you broached the subject was that it was a statement, not a question. Granted, she has had ample opportunity to acknowledge your statements, but seems to be passive aggressive in declining to do so, and since this is an etiquette site, it is ungracious not to do so.

I’d also venture to guess that she may be the type of woman who prefers to compartmentalize the various aspects of her life. The times together you describe are in the dating compartment. Week day evenings are in the family compartment; do you see where I am going with this? One person might think this is just organization, yet another would see it as inflexible.

I think this is a red flag for you that something is going on with her; a woman who is truly into you would not be able to get enough of you, particularly at this early stage.

Signed, The Voice of Experience

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Jeff September 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm

The Voice of Experience:

Thank you for your gracious response. I will ask her in a direct manner this weekend. One last favor: You wrote, “I think this is a red flag for you that something is going on with her…” Would you kindly expound on what things (as in categories, not specifics, as I know that you are not reading tarot cards here) that might be?

If you haven’t the time for another response, I will certainly understand. I sincerely appreciate the time you took to give your advice.

Best regards.

Jeff

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Ms. C September 11, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Jeff

It seems to me that V of E might be referring to the lack of respect your lady shows when she just ceases to communicate. At least, that’s what really stood out in my mind as a “red flag”. It could very well be true that she wishes to keep her dating life and her family life distinct, especially since she has kids, but if that is the case she should talk it out with you. In either case, talk, talk, and more talk! Neither of you can get what you want and need from the relationship without open and direct communication.

Ms. C

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Graceandhonor September 12, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Oh, Jeff,

I cannot possibly give you a list of possibilities. That is a rabbit hole that will drive you nuts, so again, this is the time for direct questions, “I am very glad I met you Susan, and am enjoying our relationship very much. How are you feeling about it?”

Mature and emotionally evolved adults will welcome the opportunity of communicating in a direct and respectful way. This is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship.

Please let your friends here know how things go for you.

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Jeff September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Friends:

I thank the both of you for taking the time to answer my inquiries. I will most certainly let you know how things go. Again, we had a great time yesterday (and I am very insightful — to a fault even), so it cannot be my imagination that we are off to a good start. But then stranger things have happened.

I wish you both well, and

Best regards.

Jeff

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Jeff October 9, 2009 at 12:03 am

Friends:

Success, and both of us are incredulous that we met.

Best regards.

Jeff

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Graceandhonor October 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jeff October 18, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Thanks. I don’t know what to think. She’s an oasis in a sea of sh%#.

Best regards.

Jeff

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Graceandhonor October 20, 2009 at 8:04 pm

We should all be as lucky as you.

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Jeff December 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm

The initial problems/miscommunications notwithstanding, life is good. I adore her, and she makes it clear that she adores me. If this fails, I am a man without a country.

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Jeff December 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Just checking in. You all have been so nice. Hope things are going well for you.

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Graceandhonor December 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm

I was thinking of you earlier this month, Jeff, and hope things continue to go well for you and that 2010 is a great year for you!

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