29 Comments

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    A question about handicapped parking. I have always been told that parking in a handicapped space when you are not handicapped, or using someone else’s sticker is truly a disgusting thing to do. When you see an able bodied person using the space, with no sticker, is it ever appropriate to say/ask anything?

    • I used to be of the mind to say something… right up until I worked with people who have disabilities.

      There are times when a person’s disability is not apparent, such as in the case of a person with rheumatoid arthritis (which can strike at any age, by the way). Sometimes a person with cancer appears able-bodied, but perhaps they get severely winded after walking too far, or have balance issues (which would make walking far through snow/ice/puddles in a parking lot difficult). If you KNOW that a person is using someone else’s sticker, say something. It’s illegal, and unfair to those with real disabilities. If the person has no accessible-parking placard/license plate, I would probably say something, or call the police.

    • Valerie

      You should never assume that just because someone looks perfectly able-bodied, they are. I had leukemia and was extremely anemic. I looked fine, if a bit pale. I also had an handicap-accessible plate and one day when I was running some errands and older man took exception to me parking in an accessible spot. He actually began to berate me in a parking lot filled with other shoppers. He made quite an embarrassing scene, but I believe he was more embarrassed when I waited for him to calm down before calmly explaining to him that my chemotherapy made it difficult for me to walk long distances.

  2. Shy but trying

    Rusty,
    It seems to me that it would be rude to say anything directly to the person, but maybe you could leave a note on their windshield. I think another guideline might be not to assume that just because the person *looks* able-bodied doesn’t mean that they don’t have some other disability that is harder to detect. Hope this helps!

    fI have two questions:

    Yesterday I was talking in the hallway with a colleague at my internship. I asked how he had ended up in the area (he had moved to Tennessee from Oklahoma), and he said “I got divorced.” I was somewhat taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. What would have been a polite thing to say?

    Another situation happened this morning: I asked a classmate sitting next to me (I’m in grad school) what she had done over the weekend, and she couldn’t remember. The smooth thing to do would have been to change the subject, but I just blanked!

    Any suggestions on either?
    Thanks a bunch!

    • Leaving a note on their windshield is very passive-aggressive. As you said, perhaps this person’s disability is not easily seen. If the person is truly parking there illegally and taking up a spot that could go to a person who is mobility impaired, the police or store’s security need to be notified.

      Question one: “Well, I hope you’re enjoying Tennessee so far!”
      Question two: “That must have been a good weekend. :)” (It’s what I always say.)

  3. Trying To Be A Good Friend

    So I have this friend… she is a very good friend to me, probably in the top three best friends I have. However, I have a hard time co-mingling her with my other friends. She is a very insecure person inside, and I know this because she way over-compensates for her insecurity by being outgoing to the point of weirding others out. I love my friend and want to include her in my outings with other friends, but she doesn’t really ‘fit in’ very well. I still try though, and I end up inviting her to a lot of things that unfortunately end up being awkward. I’m not embarrassed OF her, but sometimes I admit that I’m embarrassed FOR her. She is on a lot of medication for a previous injury, and therefore seems ‘high’ quite often, and she lets her inhibitions down as a result. One example, she will befriend another of my friends or family members, and then call them and attempt to keep them on the phone for 2 hours just chatting (no joke). It is this type of behavior, along with other ‘overly outgoing’ things that makes people want to avoid her in the future. Also, due to her prescription drug use (which is entirely necessary because of the type of injury she has), her personality has changed to the point that it’s destroying her marriage. Her husband has talked openly with me about leaving her.

    I don’t know what to do! At this point I’m spending time with her basically alone. When I do invite others to hang out with us, they often decline and I find myself thinking that it is probably because of the way she is. Should I say something to her about ‘chilling out’ her personality in hopes that I can widen her circle of friends? Or should I just go with the flow and be grateful that I have a good friend, and accept the fact that I am basically her only true friend? I guess I find myself feeling bad for her, and I don’t want her to be lonely, ESPECIALLY in light of her marriage being rocky. So I’m torn between saying something to her and potentially hurting her feelings, or just not saying anything and feeling pressure as basically her ONLY friend. Any suggestions? I really do love her a lot! Thank you in advance for any advice you can give. Also, sorry this is such a long question… but it is a hard situation to describe in just a couple of paragraphs.

    • Alicia

      Maybe I am misreading your posts but I see a lot talking about how you are embarased and how you want her to have more friends and how you want her to chill out her personality, you do not want her to be lonely, and how you feel that this makes you her only true friend. This sounds a bit selfish to me. If you want to be a good friend to her then do so. Be happy with just the two of you hanging out, let her be her. If she asks for your advice give it but until such a time accept her for the person she is and enjoy that. She might enjoy her personality.

      • Alicia,
        I nearly always agree with you. In this instance, I might depart just a bit. This friend appears to be a different person today than she used to be, and this is due to medication. That makes me sad, because this isn’t the person’s real personality – it’s the chemicals or hormones in the meds creating a different person. As a person who had a medication one time in high-school that changed my personality, I understand that there is nothing one can do about it (and I hadn’t really realized the change until someone pointed it out. When I went off the med, I reverted back and was happier.) This friend’s husband is already talking about leaving her. Because I believe that “in sickness and in health” actually means that, I think he’s acting like a jerk. But Trying appears to be concerned about this new personality, and wants to help her friend see that these med-induced changes are adversely affecting her life. I think that pointing it out to her gently would be acceptable in this situation. She probably has clouded judgment because of the medication, and wouldn’t otherwise see these new problems.

        • Trying To Be A Good Friend

          Just Laura, I actually have brought certain things up to her before about her personality. She is on some seriously strong pain medication–fentanyl patches. They REALLY zonk her out. There is also the added issue that she threatens to kill herself fairly frequently when she gets stressed out, and in front of her child, too. *sigh* It’s a bad situation. She drives around with her child in the car on this medication, having mistaken her ambien for her dilaudid several times, and nearly falling asleep at the wheel. The medication really messes her up, but she needs to be on it after having 7 surgeries. The pain is intense. This is a BAD situation and I have no idea what to do about it.

          • Frankly, she needs something more than just bringing it up to her. You may risk losing her as a friend, but you need to have a one-on-one sit down with this woman. She needs to know what she is doing is hazardous to her child, both mentally and potentially physically. She can have her child taken away for this. Is she aware?
            And mistaking one med for another is just stupidity – bottles are labeled for a reason. If the labels are difficult to read, then buy bright colored stickers and put a different one on each bottle. I have a blind friend who doesn’t mix up his meds because he places them in different, specific locations. I realize you can’t constantly hold her hand, but I urge you to have a blunt discussion about her behavior. Her life could derail very quickly if she doesn’t do something now.
            Another girl friend and I once had a frank discussion with a friend, and she was no long our friend for close to a decade. But then she came back and apologized – she finally realized that we were trying to help, not hurt. I was sad to lose my friend for so long, but I like to think something I said helped along the way.

          • Alicia

            Ok the extra info about the meds makes it seem like a meds problem not just a socially alkward problem which is what your first post sounded like to me. If this is her personality and the meds are a side issue which is what your first post sounded like then let her be. If this is a change in her behavior due to meds then you should suggest she talk to her doctor about the side effects of the meds. Doctos when told about side effects can often change doses and drug combos to goo effect and allow her to revert back to her real personality. If the meds are the problem this is not an issue of not having enough friends this is a huge side effect of drugs effecting personality. I took the focus on not having enough friends to mean that drugs were not the issue. My response is very different depending on which way is accurate. If a friend is having medical troubles yes suggest she go to the doctor!! That is not a personality issue it is a medical issue. Mistaking pills is also a severe medical issue and is not just a matter of being socially alkward.

          • Trying To Be A Good Friend

            It is very dangerous, I know. It’s out of control. I don’t understand why on earth her husband has let it get to this point, other than the fact he has emotionally ‘checked out’ of the entire relationship. I fear the worst for her. She’s not going to get off of this medication because her doctors keep giving it to her, and I truly believe it has become the most important thing in her life. And I feel like if I do the ‘tough love’ thing and try to intervene on her, and put my foot down and set boundaries… it’s not going to help and she’s just going to end up alone, and she will be worse off than she already is.

            I appreciate all the help you and even Alicia have tried to provide. But I believe more now than I even did before that this is just an impossible situation with no real solution. She’s heading for disaster.

  4. Trying To Be A Good Friend

    Alicia, I guess it might have been a good idea for me to put into my post that I am likely moving out of state within the next year, and thus, will no longer be around for her to hang out with. I would like her to be able to make more ‘true’ friends before I leave.

    I find it sad on sites like these that, more often than not, it seems as though people are ready to attack someone rather than give heartfelt advice. I hope I am wrong about that in this instance, Alicia, because I really AM sincere in caring about her and about wanting her to have a larger circle of friends. This is not about me, it’s about her.

    • Susie

      An intervention is imperative at this juncture. The husband should contact the doctor, explain the problems, exploring the possibility that she may have a not only adverse reactions to the drugs, but also a drug dependency, and he should immediately protect the child. If the husband will not and you sincerely believe the child is in great danger, you should consider contacting the authorities or CPS.

      Also, just so you know, this site is designed for etiquette inquiries, so your inquiry is quite a departure from this intent.

      I hope you can help your friend before she causes serious trouble for herself and those around her.

      • Susie,
        If this person felt that this was the only place where she felt safe and comfortable discussing this issue, I don’t believe it is our place to put her down for it.
        I think you’re correct that the husband should be involved, but it sounds as if he is not a decent husband nor father, as he is not.

        • LC

          It appears that Susie may have been responding to the LW’s comment questioning the nature of advice given on “sites like these” and clarifying that the site isn’t actually intended for that type of advice, so the advice she receives may or may not be what she needs.

  5. Michelle

    My friend is planning a wedding for November 2011. She has been co-habitating with her fiance for quite sometime. She came to me to ask my advice regarding Wedding Gifts. She stated that her fiance and she has everything the need home good wise, and would love to take a “dream trip” next summer. Is there a “tactful” way, other than word of mouth, to inform guests she would rather have them contribute to this venture instead. I told her to do both a gift registry (for the traditional folks) and maybe an insert to her announcement informing guests there is a account setup for a purpose of a dream vacation trip in November. What do you think?

    • Other Laura

      My sister Leah had this very same issue at her autumn wedding last year. I found a lot of good information on the interwebz for her. :) She can have a miniature Wishing Well constructed and painted to sit on a table at the wedding reception, and make an insert to her wedding invitation as follows:

      “More than just kisses so far we’ve shared
      Our home has been made with love and care
      Most things we need we’ve already got
      Like a toaster and kettle, pans and pots

      A wishing well we thought would be great
      (but only if you wish to participate)
      A gift of money is placed in the well
      Then make a wish … but do not tell
      Once we’ve replaced the old with the new
      We can look back and say it was thanks to you!
      And in return for your kindness we’re sure
      that one day soon you’ll get what you wished for!”

      Here is a list of more wishing well poems to choose from! http://www.bridesofaustralia.com/Wishing_Well_Wording_Poem.html

      I know that it is probably NOT polite to ask for a gift at all, and especially not polite to ask for money. And since this is an etiquette site, I am fairly certain that you and I may both get bashed for suggesting it. ;) But since it is HER wedding, she may do what she wishes, and I find that this wishing well poem placed inside of the invitation on a separate sheet of paper is a cute way to go. Good luck to her! Best wishes for a wonderful life together. :)

      • Alicia

        She may absolutely do as she wishes in this manner however begging for money with or without bad poetry is tacky an against polite behavior. It is likely to make her guests feel alkward and uncomfortable. However you are right it is not agaist the law to behave in this manner it is just neither kind hearted nor gracious. So yes people can be tacky however people should instead behave with kindness and grace.

      • Oh God I hate these things. (But I do like how much effort you put into helping Michelle, and for admitting that it isn’t polite – thanks [no sarcasm intended]). ;)
        I once was invited to a wedding where I had to travel, which was fine. So I paid for the airfare, hotel, rental car, and bought two gifts off the registry. I thought I was good. Until I got there, and there was a money tree and a money dance. Of course, I was pretty well tapped out by that point so I didn’t give any cash. Then the mother of the bride stopped by each table and said to everyone who wasn’t participating, “Oh, you don’t WANT to dance with the bride and groom? You don’t WANT to help out with their honeymoon? Really?” So, yeah, we all caved.

        I have been adamantly against blatant money grabs ever since.

    • Susie

      I believe the point of wedding gifts once upon a time was to help a new couple establish their first home away from their parents’, not to shower them with money. In that spirit, I find it highly inappropriate to ask or suggest that people give them money. If they intend to push for money, they should be so discreet as to register for gifts and return them for the cash or credit. Regardless, gifts or registries should never be mentioned on invitations.

      • Elizabeth

        I’ve had a lot of friends get married, and none of them were just out of high school and setting up a household for the first time. The fact is that it is the norm rather than the exception now for couples to delay marriage until after they’ve completed their education and gained a foothold in their profession. Cohabitation is also widely practiced. So, I don’t agree that the only point of wedding gifts is to set up a household. Rather, it’s a celebration of a milestone and it is a custom. Just like giving and receiving gifts for birthdays, there is no necessity to it. People give gifts because it’s a societal norm, they do it because they are fond of the recipient(s), and probably, because they enjoy getting gifts themselves. It’s all part of the social contract.

        That being said, of course I agree with you that anything relating to gifts should never be mentioned in an invitation. The primary purpose of an event is celebration, and not a gift exchange.

        Lastly, I’m not sure why someone would be so concerned about the possibility of getting gifts (rather than cash) in the first place. Almost everyone who gives a gift will give a receipt. If there is no gift registry, or only a very small one, most people will default to cash gifts through sheer inertia. I think almost everyone has a budget number in mind when giving a gift, and unless they are that rare special breed who will hand-make something like a quilt for a wedding gift, most people will resort to money simply because it is easiest.

        The bride and groom could set up a honeymoon registry, just as they could set up a gift registry (withOUT publicizing it, though they could list the information on their wedding website, which is the ‘new thing’), but again – why bother? 75% of the wedding guests will give cash anyway.

        • Susie

          Once upon a time = Historically, as in, not recently. Cohabitation prior to marriage and waiting until much older to marry are relatively recent phenomena, read: later in the past century. Wedding gifts, to be sure, should be intended as a celebration of a union, as birthday gifts are a celebration of someone’s day of birth, etc. It shows your affection for the receiving party. Gifts should never be expected in any situation, even a wedding. The point of a wedding is decidedly not to garner gifts or fortune, but to join two people in the witness of friends and family. Much of current wedding expectations can be chalked up to the commercialization of weddings, as much as engagement rings to the marketing genius of the diamond industry (DeBeers).

          I personally find honeymoon registries to be in poor taste, but to each their own, I suppose.

    • “maybe an insert to her announcement informing guests there is a account setup for a purpose of a dream vacation trip in November…”

      So her friends aren’t getting invitations, they are receiving announcements?
      And she will be including in these announcements information about gifts that are expected even though they aren’t invited to the wedding?

      Oh no no no. This is not tasteful. I get so irritated that there are these brides out there who can’t trust their friends’ taste enough regarding gifts, and instead feel the need to dictate where the friends spend their money. This is sad. Surely the friends already know that the two cohabit, and likely own most common household things? Is this person so unfortunate in her job that she must beg for money from her friends in order to travel? I direct you to Miss Manners’ excellent response to someone who just wanted cash for her wedding.

      Wouldn’t we all like a dream vacation financed by others….

  6. Jolene

    My best friend asked me to be her matron of honor in her upcoming wedding (May 2011). This is her 3rd marriage (1st marriage – large, traditional wedding, ended in divorce; 2nd marriage – destination wedding, no guests, ended in divorce after 6 mos) and her fiance’s first. They opted for a smaller ceremony (family and very close friends only) followed by a very large reception (co-workers, other friends, extended family). I was her maid of honor in her first wedding and planned the shower and bachlorette parties. She and I have discussed that since both she and her fiancee have an established home, and because this is her 3rd marriage, she did not want a shower. We never discussed a bachlorette party.

    Last week I received an email from one of the bridesmaids (who works with the bride) regarding a bachlorette party and what I thought we should do. Honestly, I wasn’t planning anything other than something along the lines of a “spa day” with just the other girls in the wedding party a day or two before the wedding. One of the other bridesmaids is from out of state and doesn’t know anyone except for the bride and myself so I thought that would be a good “ice breaker” day for them to get to know one another. So, I suggested that to the other bridesmaid.

    Flash forward to today…. I receive an email… FROM THE BRIDE… stating she knows she’s “not supposed to plan the bachlorette party” but she and the other bridesmaid that she works with were talking and thought I might like a list of names (of which there were about 25)!!! She also went on to suggest a date that would work for her as well as 2 potential “bars” that have rooms that we could rent for the party!!!

    I’m absolutely flabbergasted by this… I was so upset by her bluntness that I was shaking. I have yet to respond other than “I can not believe you just sent me this email”. I honestly do not know HOW to respond! PLEASE HELP!!! I’m having a “wedding reality check” supper with the bride on Saturday night and really would like to approach her on this in a tactful way.

    I’m thinking of just telling her of what I was thinking of doing (which we have talked about in the past AND told the other bridesmaid about my idea as well last week) and telling her that if she wants a “bachlorette” party I will coordinate an e-vite (I’m not going to send actual invites) for those 25 guests to meet on X day at Y time at Z place and leave it at that. There will be no veil and bachlorette type games…. I just can’t do that. Am I on the right track here?!

    • Elizabeth

      Jolene,
      I can tell by your post that you are frustrated and you feel as though this friend has taken enough of your time, money and energy away with her numerous marriages and corresponding parties. A question – why did you agree to be her MOH? There is no rule against a 3rd-time bride having a bachelorette party. I can’t exactly tell if you are against the idea because of the cost or because you feel it is unseemly for her to have one. It appears as though you believe she should be more circumspect in her celebration because she’s already had two previous weddings.

      I don’t agree or disagree with you – you are entitled to your sentiments. However, I think it is unseemly that you regard her in this way and agreed to be her MOH. Why not step down and allow another bridesmaid to fill the position, one that is enthusiastic about her upcoming nuptials and genuinely wants to celebrate with her. I’m curious – if you could sit down with her for dinner on Saturday and say exactly what was on your mind, what exactly would you say?

      If you want to remain the MOH but feel like you can’t bear the cost of the bachelorette party (or would rather spend the money on a spa day), I would be apologetic and honest – say that you value your friendship, but you were hoping to do something more low-key and would like to organize the spa day. If another bridesmaid would like to take the lead on the BP, then say you’d be glad to play a supporting role. However, I don’t think you can say that you don’t think she deserves one or that it’s inappropriate for her to have one. You can’t say it without causing great offense, anyway.

      • Jolene

        Well, I had a nice long response all typed up and then *POOF*!!!! gone… :(

        Anyway… I’ll try to make this one shorter… I don’t mean to come across short/harsh but I’m in a hurry so it’s going to be right to the point…..

        It has nothing to do with the cost of a bachlorette party or that I don’t think she deserves one whether she’s been married once or 50 times…. I do, however, think it was inappropriate with HOW this was brought to my attention… an email telling me that here are the names (25 of them!), the date that works for her and 2 places that would be a good place to have a BP without me even asking for any of that information. It feels as if I was TOLD “this is what you are going to do for me”. And after all of that, she follows it up with she just wants it “local and low-key”. Somehow I’m having a hard time accepting that a guest list of 25 people and a private room are “low-key”.

        Our “wedding reality check” supper was scheduled earlier this week before I ever got this email and it was a joke between the two of us. She mentioned how she was stressing over the wedding and I asked her, jokingly, if she needed a “wedding reality check” supper to get it off her chest and she said yes. She has always considered me her “grounded” friend… someone to calm her down when she gets frusterated or upset or stressed over things. I help her to see things a different way that she maybe didn’t see before. I guess you could say we compliment each other in that we are so different in so many ways and that is why we have remained such good friends.

        I was hoping to keep the “low-key” to just the wedding party girls for a spa day so that it could be an ice breaker for the bridesmaid that is out of town to get to know everyone since she only knows the bride and myself.

        How you put to approach the bride is pretty much right on what I was thinking…. I just didn’t type it out as nicely as you! LOL!

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