Open thread

by EPI Staff on March 8, 2011

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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.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Country Girl March 8, 2011 at 1:01 am

I am wondering this from a purely curious stand point. What are other proper response when someone apologizes to you? The most common response seems to be “Its ok.” Sometimes that seems trivial in proportion to the offense committed.

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Just Laura March 8, 2011 at 1:53 am

I’ve always heard that “I accept your apology” is good, unless, of course, you don’t. But that doesn’t tell a person that what they did was acceptable, only that their apology is. Another one I’ve heard is, “Your actions really hurt me, but I’m prepared to try to move past this.”

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Marianna March 8, 2011 at 2:43 am

The proper response is “That’s quite alright.” You can vary your tone depending on whether or not it actually is alright.

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JB March 8, 2011 at 3:10 am

How about simply saying “Thank you” or “I appreciate your apology”. Saying “That’s ok” does imply that whatever transpired was acceptable and the apology was not actually necessary, when clearly it was not. I feel that saying thank you is a way of accepting the apology for what it is, and closing the situation down so that you can move along. Obviously, if there is a need to discuss what happened, you can still do so, but this is a nice way to end things and then, perhaps, change the subject.

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Melissa March 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

As a Christian, one should say “I forgive you, as Jesus forgives my sins.”

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Sara Z March 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

As not everyone we encounter are Christians, and as not all of us our Christians, I think it is better to keep the reply religion-neutral as to not offend anyone.

Melissa March 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Then you could just say “I forgive you”.

Marianna March 8, 2011 at 2:50 am

What is the proper response to a business referral?

I teach private music lessons. The way I end up getting a lot of my students is the band teacher “Mr. Smith” of one of my students “Max” will be impressed by “Max’s” improvement and recommend me to his other student “Casey.” Then “Casey’s” parents will call and tell me “Mr. Smith” recommended me. I’ve never actually met “Mr. Smith” so I’m not sure of the appropriate way to thank him.

I can sometimes track down the person’s e-mail, or I could send a letter to the school he works at. What do you think?

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Graceandhonor March 8, 2011 at 3:23 am

Break the ice first by leaving him a message at the school asking for a return phone call and first thank him verbally for the referrals. Then follow up with a written note thanking him for his time on the phone and the referrals. I suggest the call first because that conversation is your chance for professional bonding. Remember him with a holiday gift like you’d give to other business contacts at the end of the year.

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JB March 8, 2011 at 3:24 am

Marianna,
You absolutely want to say thank you to anyone who sends referrals your direction. Reputation and recommendations via word of mouth are invaluable and the band teacher is providing you this, based on student performance alone. You could always go to the school website and find his email as there is typically a staff list available. However, for an initial thank you and introduction, I would suggest you write him a note and enclose a gift card to a local coffee house, only $5 or so, with the comment that you would like him to enjoy a cup of coffee on you. The reason I am suggesting such a nominal amount is that the school district may prohibit him from receiving gifts of any significant amount.

You could either then mail it to him at the school, or, contact him via email and ask to set up a very brief appointment to meet with him in order to introduce yourself and “put a face to the name.” You could give him the card at that point in time, along with your verbal thanks as well. Personally, I would go with the face to face thank you, if possible, as it is more personable and friendly. Emphasize that you only need a few minutes of his time and would simply like to introduce yourself.

I hope this helps!

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Alicia March 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Absolutely sent a thank you. Via the school address if that is what you have. School offices generally have mailboxes for each teacher and the mail would end up in their mailbox. I would also encourage you to go to the next band performance for Max and Casey and congratulate your students but to also introduce yourself and say congrats and hello to the band teacher. Keeping contacts with the local band instructors is a great way to build your buisness. If other of your students belong to other local bands a nice way to network would be to go to their performances, introduce yourself to the instuctors, and then follow up the next week with a nice note congratulating them on how lovely their students performed something. Over time these sorts of things pay off big time.

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Miss Juice March 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I don’t like gift registries. I don’t get offended or anything when I am going to a wedding and the couple set one up, but I don’t want to register when I get married. I could go over all the reasons why I have a problem with them, but as etiquette enthusiasts, I am sure you know them all already. Here is my problem: Whenever the topic has come up among friends, family, and acquaintances, a rather substantial amount of people have said that they are sort of put off when couples don’t register because they assume that the couple just wants money. My reasons for not wanting to register are sound, but if a sizable portion of my guests would be a little upset and assume that I am some sort of boreish money grubber, well… that would just negate the point. How does one get around this?

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Just Laura March 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I’m getting married Friday, and we have no registry. I will tell you exactly what we both have said.

“You’re right – I should be registered. I think your taste is so horrendous that I can’t trust you, my friend, to properly pick out a nice gift for me.” This is only said to those I know very well, who will understand the sarcasm. This has always been met with laughter, and “you’re right! I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

To people I know less well (and I’m not sure why they’re inquiring in the first place), I reply, “I feel uncomfortable with anything that seems to request a gift, so I have refrained from registering anywhere.”

That being said, I try to always order something off a registry if the wedding is for one of my friends. My distaste toward registries is a personal decision, and I don’t want to hold it against my friends.

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Graceandhonor March 8, 2011 at 7:43 pm

You are absolutely correct about registries, Laura. They are a crass modern invention and not having one DOES NOT indicate a preference for monetary gifts but is instead recognition that gift giving is not order filling.

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Alicia March 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Commonly people do not register because they do want money. Since many people do this and many people do not want to give you something you get duplicates of or would not like the gut reaction for most is to give cash due to lack of registry. Also it is a smidge difficult to know what a couple has and does not have in say their kitchen and what others have given them if there is no registry. Also a registry gives a bit of a guidance in terms of colors and tastes. For example my cousin last year got married( my family never gioves cash so we all gave real gifts). Our family loves waffles and there is a family waffle recipe. Several people knew she did not own her own waffle iron and thought well that would be a nice gift. She got 9 belgian waffle irons. No nobody needs 9 waffle irons in their lifetime. 8 got returned. Had she registered for a waffle iron people would have been able to see that the waffle iron had been purchased and gotten her something else. If you do not mention a registry until people ask you if you are registered they are simply a bunch of ideas to give people some concept even as to things like what colors are in your kitchen.

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Just Laura March 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Did you know you can register for money and gift cards now? ugh. So while I definitely understand not wanting 9 waffle irons, no matter how much one enjoys waffles, one doesn’t have to forgo the registry to request money. :(
sad.

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Alicia March 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Yes that is sad and pathetic. Registering for money is tacky beyond words. However as a guest I do like some guidance in terms of what you already own and what you do not. I hate giving money , gift cards,something someone already has, or something they are getting multiple of. So if someone does not register I sit there in a quandry wondering what to get them.
Yes I did give my cousin a waffle iron, a copy of the family recipe, and a check. I prefer a registry so tht I know that for example they got the waffle iron but have not gotten the salad bowl they would like. For someone who does not register I almost always end up giving some money in addition to a token item because I do not want to give something they can not use.Failure to register as a result although technically proper and fine makes it hard to buy wedding gifts particularly for a larger wedding.

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Lin March 9, 2011 at 5:27 am

I’ve found a lot of the dislike of registries stems from how it is presented and perceived. I’ve heard quite a few people treat registries like it is the end all and be all in regards to what should be given as opposed to a way to help large groups organize who’s getting what and to give suggestions for gifts. It really kind of sours the whole gift-giving experience when the recipient acts tyrannical about it.

Instead of selecting a store and exact items, would you be willing to make a list of general ideas for gifts (not anything elaborate, but enough to spark ideas) and give them to whomever you think would be asked about where you are registered?

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Dianne March 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Doesn’t a guest, in response to being honoured with an invitation, have at least a bit of responsibility to find out what the couple would like? A guest who does not know the couple well and is unwilling to do even a little investigation (surely they must know how to contact some of the couple’s friends and/or relatives!) would seem to be selfish in their requirement for a “gift-selection-made-without-thought” registry. Registries are very impersonal and put gift-givers, who do not like registries, in a bad position, because they are no longer welcome to inquire as to the couple’s preferences – every query leads to a referral back to the registry. I don’t know why these couples don’t just buy all the gifts they want and then just have guests sponsor those gifts at the wedding – it really amounts to the same thing.

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Lin March 10, 2011 at 5:38 am

I’m sorry, I did not mean to sound like I was trying to argue about whether registries are appropriate and offend you. From your post it sounds like I did that and for that I am sorry. My intentions were to deepen the conversation and to suggest a solution to your problem.

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Dianne March 10, 2011 at 6:07 am

No, my apologies, I didn’t mean to imply that you did offend me because you most certainly did not … I was just making a general comment re registries; I should have inserted my comment elsewhere so as to not cause unnecessary confusion. I agree with you that the way registries are presented seems to be half the problem. I also strongly agree with your second paragraph re giving general ideas to someone who could pass that info along when inquiries are made. That is the perfect solution and was the usual custom before registries became so popular. I don’t have a problem with guests wanting registries per se, just the idea that a registry is the ONLY way to know what to purchase. And I wouldn’t be miffed if a couple had a registry if it wasn’t also implied that that is the ONLY way for a guest to purchase a gift. All gifts should be cherished for the thought that was put into them, even if they are duplicates or don’t match the decor.

Amanda March 9, 2011 at 1:08 am

I received an email this morning – incorporating office taglines – the contents of which were a of a personal nature pertaining to the sender .
I have obviously been sent this in error, (so do I let the person know, or let it go) but as the writer is a senior staff member of a not-for-profit organisation of which I am Chair person, I would like to let the sender know I understand miss-sent emails, but I do rather object to personal emails being sent on our “letterhead”.
Does anyone have advice on how to handle this situation?

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Alicia March 9, 2011 at 2:02 am

Yes you should let the sender know. “I understand miss-sent emails, but I do rather object to personal emails being sent on our “letterhead”.” is a perfect statement go ahead and write exactly that.

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Lady Antipode March 9, 2011 at 4:48 am

Yes, you should let the person know that their email didn’t go to the intended recipient. Something like “I think I received this by mistake. I’ve deleted it and thought I’d let you know. By the way, I’d appreciate it if you could take the organisation’s letterhead/logo off personal emails. Thank you.”

If you don’t feel that you can approach the person directly, a quiet discussion (without naming any names, of course) with the CEO or other person in charge about limited personal emails being fine, but does he/she not think it would be better if the organisation’s identifiers were removed? Then leave it to the CEO to disseminate the message.

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Just Laura March 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I am inclined to agree with Sara on this one. I think what JB said was sufficient.

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Graceandhonor March 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I think we should note Melissa said”…as Jesus forgave my sins.” She wasn’t speaking of the other person. It is admirable for someone to speak of their own beliefs and we should respect that. She is identifying herself as a Christian who is attempting to live by Christ’s example and she did nothing the other party should be offended with. Surely we aren’t so critical that Christ’s name cannot be mentioned nor the other person’s god.

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Sara Z March 11, 2011 at 2:38 am

I do see your point, G&H, but I do not see the need to add more to the acceptance of the apology than is necessary. By adding the second part, to me, it would feel as if she was trying to push her religion onto me. Granted, not in the manner in which she is forcing it onto me, but in the way that she is assuming I am of the same religion and thus believe the same as her, even if it is that Jesus forgave her her sins. While I do respect her choice in religion, she in turn must respect the religion of others. In this case, I feel that by keeping the end of the acceptance out of the equation, everyone is respecting each other without judgement of the other person’s religion or lack thereof. I guess what I’m saying is that it is better to say nothing than to say something that might offend someone else.

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Graceandhonor March 11, 2011 at 2:45 am

She didn’t say anything at all that assumed the other person was Christian and in this country should still be able to reference her own sincere beliefs. I find this admirable and of great courage. It would also be admirable if we were all tolerant of others.

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Melissa March 11, 2011 at 5:35 am

Thank you, Grace. I do not feel that expressing my faith is by any means offending other people. I also freely wish people a “Merry Christmas!”

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Sara Z March 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I agree to disagree, then, because I feel that she would be.

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