Open thread

by EPI Staff on March 17, 2011

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

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.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Candy March 17, 2011 at 4:30 am

I have always been confused on the cell phone etiqutte when a cell phone call drops. Do I call back or should the other person call back? And inevitably we end up wasting time getting each others voicemail as we each try and call the other back. I have finally come up with a way for my friends and I to avoid this time wasting event. So, the rule is:
IF THE PHONE CALL DIES
THE CALLER RE-TRIES
Hope this can help save some time and missed calls.

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Sara Z March 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

That’s how my family and friends handle it as well. Whoever called in the first place will be the person to call back, and we decided on this because it was the caller that wanted to speak, so if the caller wants to continue to speak, he/she should be the one to reinitiate the call.

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Daniel Post Senning March 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

A bit of site meta on St. Patrick’s Day…

I wanted to check in and let folks know that I appreciate all of the feedback that we have gotten about the site since the 2nd anniversary post. It is clear to me that the site has grown up a great deal since we first made our choices about what type of commenting to use. In order to allow the site to continue to grow we will be making some changes. I am doing research and setting up a beta site to try some different comment systems and hope to unveil something new this spring. Right now I am thinking that we will also allow users to register accounts on the blog as part of this upgrade. I am hoping to allow regular users to approve their own comments and long time users to help with site moderation (approving questions from new users). I will keep you all informed about the progress of this project in the open thread comments moving forward.

I used to get scared about making big changes with the site. This time I am excited. I think that it is time the Etiquette Daily joined the big girls of blogging and this is a necessary step for our community. Thanks again for all that you contribute. Take care.

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Elizabeth March 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

The changes you mentioned sound great. Here’s to growth and change!

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Camille March 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ha ha……my boss uses a similar term…….”time to put on our big girl panties”.

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Catherine March 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I am currently trying to decide if I should attend a friends wedding or not. We have been friends for about 2 years. I am recently divorced. My friend is marrying my ex-husbands first cousin. I have thought about not attending the wedding because I did not want to make the grooms family in any way uncomfortable. My dilemma is that both the bride and groom have told me to be present at the wedding and reception, which are in 2 different locations. Should I attend the wedding and not the reception, attend the wedding and reception, or neither the wedding nor reception?

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Graceandhonor March 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Go, be the happy, cordial guest with everyone at both the wedding and reception.

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LC March 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I agree with Graceandhonor. You’re both adults, so there should be no reason the two of you can’t enjoy the happiness of mutual friends at the same event. Be pleasant and cordial, and it will not only put his family at ease, but they will all likely follow your lead. Go and celebrate your friend!

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Country Girl March 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Great advice LC and G&H! I agree. It would probably make things more uncomfortable for everyone if you were to avoid the family by not attending the wedding or parts of the wedding, as well as unjustly hurt your friend on her special day. Let your focus be on supporting the happy couple, and put your own situation to the side.

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dissapointed March 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm

To offer condolences to a grieving acquaintance who lost a parent i made a lasagna and brownies, but then i found out that all the food was brought by my friends wife to her work and given to her coworkers the next day. Am i correct to think that this is rude? even if they didn’t like the food? anyone have any thoughts?

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Graceandhonor March 19, 2011 at 12:04 am

I can understand being overwhelmed with food at that time, but it was insensitive of them to disburse it this way. At the very least they should have made sure you wouldn’t find out, thus sparing your feelings. That being said, the gift of food became theirs to do with what they want. I do hope you are properly thanked.

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polite punk March 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

While I agree that once given, the gift becomes theirs to do with want they want, I also have a hard time grasping the idea of covering your tracks (for lack of a better term) to spare someone’s feeling. It seems a bit too sneaky and behind-the-back for me.

At the same time, we also don’t necessarily know why the wife brought in the lasagna and brownies. There could be many justifiable reasons. Maybe she is overwhelmed by the food donations. Maybe she is on a diet. Maybe she had signed up to bring in lunch that day beforehand.

And at least, the food you made didn’t go to waste!

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Graceandhonor March 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Please tell us how you would spare his feelings.

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Al March 20, 2011 at 2:37 am

I have a question… For many years I have organized and hosted a birthday party for a close friend. This year he had a girlfriend and feeling resentment over years prior I elected not to offer to organize or host the event. His girlfriend was supposed to organize but apparently she never did anything so he cancelled any pending plans. I told him my husband and I would be happy to join him for dinner or something if he decided he wanted to go do something. He organized himself a get together of friends out at a restaurant. To my surprise when out bill came not only was out food on their but also the food for him and his girlfriend and his alcoholic beverages…. A tab coming to over $130. Apparently he told the waiter to put his order on our tab and said he “assumed” since it was his birthday we were paying, my husband and I paid but I am still fuming. Based on my reaction to the tab he clearly knew I was not happy and set a text message saying he was sorry he just assumed since it was his birthday we were paying, there were also five other friends at his table and he didn’t assume any of them were paying? Can someone please help me understand this and do I have a right to be angry? Do i say something or drop it? Oh well also brought a $60 present!!!

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polite punk March 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Ouch! Personally, I think either his girlfriend should have paid for his meal/drinks or everyone at the table should have chipped in for his meals/drinks.

All that said, it sounds like he already knows that you are upset about it. While you could ask him to pay you back for the meals/drinks, I think it’s in your best interest to be gracious by moving on and chalking it up to a lesson learned the hard way. And if he is gracious, he’ll pick up the tab the next time you all go out to eat.

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Graceandhonor March 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

You are a very dear friend to someone who now takes you totally for granted as evidenced by your noting your resentment of years past. You do not mention what this friend does for you. While it is an admirable thing to be selfless, it is not to be a doormat. You have unwittingly contributed to his poor behavior by not speaking up when you’ve had the chance. At this point, let it go and resolve now how you wish to interact with him in the future and stick to it. Of course, you have the right to be angry. The question is, are you going to stew in that acidic vat or are you going to use it to learn and strengthen your resolve?

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Elizabeth March 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm

It’s interesting that, despite it being just his birthday, the birthday boy’s girlfriend’s food and drink were also put on your tab. Even if he had assumed that you would be covering his dinner, I’m not sure how that extends to his girlfriend as well! This ‘friend’ has a lot of nerve, and clearly is taking you completely for granted. You have every right to be angry and hurt.

If I were you, I would wait to see if this guy brings it up again, apologizes and tries to make things right. If he did that, you might forgive him and resume a modified form of friendship. However, if he does not take the initiative to address it, I would drop him. If he asks about his sudden absence from your social life, I would have a concise and calm explanation ready. It sounds as if this behavior has been going on for some time, so you should address your growing feelings of resentment and being taken advantage of, culminating his atrocious behavior at the dinner. You can either ask for an apology and explanation, or you can just inform him that you no longer wish to maintain the friendship.

But I would definitely, definitely NOT drop this issue! One does not organize a birthday dinner so other people can pay for your dinner! (and the hanger-on mooch girlfriend!)

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Al March 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Thank you both for the advice. For my husbands birthday I hosted a dinner party at a restaurant and I paid for mine my husband had a surprise get together here and provided food and drinks. We always thought if you organize or host you provide the food and drinks. I know its common today for people to host or organize today and people to expect to go dutch but I was shocked at having someone tell a waiter to add their items onto anoer persons tab without the offer.

That being said i like to learn from it approach and I’m going to move on and chalk it up to a pricey exoerience on setting boundaries. :)

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LC March 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm

It was rude and presumptuous of the friend to assume that you would pay for him (and his girlfriend, to boot!), regardless of whether you paid in the past. As such, when the bill came, I would have light-heartedly said to the waiter, “Oops, it seems you’ve combined our bills by mistake. Could you please split the check?” If this is a good friend, since you’ve already paid the bill, I would bring up the subject directly and let him know that you felt taken advantage of by his assumption that you would treat him and his girlfriend to dinner, especially when you had been invited as his guest. He never should have told the waiter anything, that would have been you prerogative. If he is not, then I would not feel obligated in the future, and, should he try a similar stunt again, I would mention something along the lines of what I mentioned earlier, making it clear you have no intention of paying his way.

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LC March 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm

You can also mention that while you love to treat your friends, especially on their special days, that it should be your choice when you bestow that kindness, not his.

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