Open Thread

by epi on August 4, 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.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry August 4, 2011 at 8:27 am

How do I say NO to a request to be the party planner extraordinaire at work? I used to enjoy helping to coordinate the office potlucks but lately it’s way too much of a hassle and not enjoyable at all, I’m sick of the complainers, the ones that decline and state that they don’t wish to contribute yet freely help themselves to the buffet, etc. It really bothers me and now I am really discouraged and no longer wish to be the one that collects the money, runs around town buying items, cooking for hours the night before the event, carting everything to work, making multiple trips from the parking lot into the office with all the food and supplies, etc. How do I say NO when the bosses ask me to do this next time?

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Pam August 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

You could nip it in the bud and approach them now about how you would prefer that someone else be asked next time. Just keep as positive a spin as you can on it by saying that you think you would prefer to pass the baton on the party responsibilities..you could say that you have increased responsibilities at home (or something of that nature). If they insist because you do such a good job, just hold firm and, with a smile, thank them for their confidence in your abilities but that you really need someone else to take it on. Perhaps a “Sunshine club” could be formed in which a committee of people share the responsibilities? I totally sympathize because all anyone at my job does is complain about everything and last year we didn’t even have a holiday party because it is so poorly handled, but no one wants to do it because it becomes depressing when everyone just complains. Good luck!

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Jody August 4, 2011 at 9:42 am

If the bosses are the ones asking you, it’s a bit of a delicate situation. A way to decline might be to politely say something like “unfortunately, due to workload and other demands I won’t be able to coordinate the event this year” (assuming you really are busy with work-related duties). Stick to your guns; don’t offer to help somebody else or do it “just one more time” or you’ll be back where you were at the beginning.

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Elizabeth August 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

Hi Larry,
It sounds as though you have had enough with a thankless job.
The next time someone asks you to party plan, or just assumes that you’ll do it (by now them must), all you have to say is: “Actually Bob, I thought I’d step back and let someone else take the parties for awhile. I’ve developed some “party fatigue” and I think the events will turn out better if someone more enthusiastic and less busy with all these TPS reports (or whatever work you do) takes over for a bit.”

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Mrs. Czeisel August 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

TPS reports! LOL!

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Pam August 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I’m starting to think that “Dear Abby” may not be feeling very well. First she advised one reader to call relatives that owed money “deadbeats” publicly on facebook (July 17). Today she told a reader that inappropriate touching by a neighbor may not be “assault” but “sexual battery”. Any kind of physical touching (and even verbal attacks) are a form of assault. Should Abby really be declaring that a sexual assault was not an assault??? What do other people think of Abby’s recent advice??

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Just Laura August 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

In Florida, sexual battery is essentially rape. Not all states recognize it, though. I think Dear Abby should have checked with a lawyer before using that term, even if wasn’t entirely inappropriate. And yes, I read that this morning and was horrified for that young woman.

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Rusty Shackleford August 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

It would appear that Dear Abby is either a victim of cybertrolling, or possibly just trying to achieve some sort of shock value for her readers. I don’t know how much we can discuss a competing internet sight here but I will say this. The question posed to Dear Abby seemed very odd, and possibly a trolling attempt. Trolling is when a person asks a very strange and unfounded question (including a made up fact pattern), to try to evoke a raw, emotional, and sometimes risque response. Its possible someone made up a story to see what Dear Abby would say. And I agree with Just Laura that maybe she should not have given legal advice, but she was clearly right to tell this person to report unwanted and inappropriate touching to a social worker. I think its important to remember that Dear Abby is not necessarily an etiquette expert. She is someone giving advice on an array of topics.

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Pam August 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I think we are free to discuss a competing site. Abby was right to tell the person to inform authorities and/or a social worker, but she should not have given the person any inkling of a thought that this may not have been an assault. Whether the person who wrote the question was trolling or not, people are sexually assaulted and anyone reading her column should never think that Abby is even slightly downplaying an incident by saying it may not have been an assault. And if the person with the “deadbeat” relatives was trolling is also irrelevant. Those who read the column and really do have “deadbeat” relatives could still benefit from Abby’s answer and as the famous “Dear Abby” she should never let people think it’s okay to call people out on Facebook.

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scdeb August 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I’m a Dear Abby reader & I thought both of those columns were outrageous. I wondered if she was on vacation. People can get sued or worse putting stuff like that on facebook. And today–why didn’t the woman get out of the car! Why didn’t Abby tell her that & more? Very strange & dangerous advice.

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Laura L August 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Each state uses different terms for “physical touching” crimes. In some states, assault is merely the threat of unwanted touching (whether sexual or otherwise) and battery is the actual act of touching. Therefore, the sexual battery crime could actually be a more severe crime than the sexual assault crime.

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Karen August 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I have a question about wedding etiquette for a step mother of the bride on what I should wear. I was told the “mother’s” (hers & grooms) would be wearing ‘mother’s’ dresses. What am I supposed to wear as the step mother?

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Just Laura August 18, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Anything that is classy and modest that makes you feel wonderful would be fine (most people agree, however, that all wedding guests avoid the following colors: white, ivory, red or black). :)

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Alicia August 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I’m not entirely clear what you mean by “mothers dresses” unless it is those rather ugly beige gowns they try and sell in bridal shops to mothers of the grooms. You should wear a fantastic dress in keeping with the formality of the wedding that is lovely and in a flattering color on yoyu and that is not white ivory black or cherry red( cranbery red would be fine). I would also if you know the bridesmaids color avoid wearing exactly that color.
You should look lovely and like the dressed up version of yourself.

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