11 Comments

  1. JB

    I’d like to get the opinion of some etiquette experts. There is a family situation where two members don’t speak. I will refer to these as “A” and “B”.

    In e-mails from third parties, family member A gets quite upset whenever he sees family member B’s name in the “To” or “Cc” fields. Family member B doesn’t care one bit if he sees family member A’s name; but family member B is not particularly interested in being relegated to second tier status as a “Bcc” or as the recipient of a separate e-mail, and would rather receive no correspondence than “second tier” correspondence. In this unique situation where there really are no winners, who gets priority?

    Laura — I surmise you are the moderator and, in any case, appear to be most familiar with Emily Post’s views on proper etiquette. Your thoughts would be particularly welcome.

    • JB,
      I’ve been looking, and I didn’t see an official Emily Post answer for this question of personal correspondence. What I would do is put everyone in the “To:” field, alphabetically. That way there is no “second tier.” As far as Family Member A is concerned, there are more important matters in life than whether or not other members of the family still talk to/discuss events with Family Member B.

      There are several people on this board who might offer a better answer, and I would be very interested to hear it.

    • Ruth Peltier

      To me the answer to this question is really simple… Put ALL the the names in the blind copy section. This way there is NO second tier.

      I do all my emails that way anyhow, because some people do not want their email address broadcasted.

    • Alicia

      A gets upset that he gets the same emails as B. The sinmple fair answer is to remove A entirely from the email chain. No reason to send him a seperate email. He has expressed his wish not to be on the same email as B which is the group family email list the result of that is to not be on the group family email list and thus miss the emails. Others do not have to use bcc or send seperate emails or anything to humour someone in this situation . He does not want to be on the emails don’t send them to him. The person who wants to remove themself can always remove themself. If this results in A missing out on family news then that is the dirrect result of his specific choice.

  2. If I may offer a perspective … this is not a matter of etiquette but emotions. Two family members do not speak, and I would therefore presume they do not have contact. From A’s perspective, when he receives emails that include B’s name (as well as others), he feels he is being forced to have contact with B, obviously against his wishes, and through this, a part of his life is being shared with B. It doesn’t matter that B’s life is being shared with him — he’s not interested! — and that it is a form of communication among a number of people; his desire for privacy and his wishes to separate himself from B are being ignored.

    Whether or not there are other things more important to worry about doesn’t matter. We have no way of knowing what happened, why the family members don’t speak or any of the family dynamics. If A has chosen to remove himself from the situation, his wishes should be respected, even though they may not be understood, liked, or desired by anyone else in the family — they are his wishes. It would be considerate of family members to send A a separate email, leaving B where he is, listed with the group; it will only take an extra few moments and allow A the privacy needed, while at the same time not relegating B to the “second tier”. The other option would be to bcc everyone, so names are listed.

    It may appear to be a small and/or petty thing to many people, and without knowing details, it’s difficult to say. But I can also say that for some, needing to separate themselves from particular family members can be the healthiest thing they can do for themselves, and again, although it may not be understood, wishes should be respected.

    I hope this helps.

  3. Vanna Keiler

    Just my two cents: I think Ruth and Jodi’s answers seem the least disruptive solutions, although admittedly a bit more work to “keep the peace”. In other words, bcc everyone and try to understand that some issues beyond our control are at play here regarding a relationship gone sour, and some people (“A”) don’t want to be reminded of it inadvertantly , via email addresses.

    I have family who have the exact same situation occurring, and my “A” has let me know that she feels a little uncomfortable seeing “B”‘s email address displayed with the others. Sometimes “B” will “reply all” and she gets “B”‘s response by mistake, implying there is communication among them where none exists. Yes, it seems petty to most of us, and perhaps understandably (we were not a part of this estrangement), but I think for the sake of comfort level for all it would just be a small extra thing to do to keep everyone equally thrilled to be reading these family email announcements/news.

  4. Winifred Rosenburg

    My husband and I were invited to a wedding near where we live that was supposed to take place a few weeks ago. The wedding had to be rescheduled because of a hurricane. We found out that the couple picked a new date and it’s two days after a wedding we’re going to on the other side of the country. We already made travel arrangements and as it stands we won’t be back in time for the local wedding.

    I’d like to see if it’s possible to change our flight to come back a day earlier so we could go to both weddings. The problem is our travel agent is the local bride! I feel terrible bothering her when I imagine she’s stressed out trying to replan her wedding, but if I don’t we won’t be able to go. What should I do?

    • Jerry

      Find another travel agent? There is no shortage of them. (Perhaps there is even one that works with your current agent, the local bride.) Or contact the airline yourself.

      Or send your regrets if that’s easier for you since you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling already.

      • Winifred Rosenburg

        My travel agent made the arrangements. She’s the only one who can change them. You can’t switch travel agencies on the same trip.

    • R.

      I think you need to approach your travel agent to change your plans and leave behind the part where she’s the bride as well. While I can see that you don’t want to be a bother, you need to approach her as her client in this regard and not as a guest of her wedding. If she’s got so much on her plate with the rescheduling, she might have made arrangements at work for a colleague to take over her duties temporarily (as if she was on a vacation).

      If she gets upset with you, then let her know that you’re looking to make this change in order to be there for her day and this isn’t a whim. If she’s still put out, then I think you can gently let her know that you won’t be able to make the rescheduled event due to the existing travel arrangements.

      As it’s been mentioned in other posts on other days, etiquette says that you must honour the existing event to which you’ve replied a “yes RSVP” on a given date if another event comes up.

      • Alicia

        I think you should treat the travel agent as the profesional she is. Not everyone will stop traveling due to her wedding. It is a cost of dealing with a friend proffesionally that sometimes you must treat them as a proffesional which in this case means calling the woman up and getting her to get you a different flight.

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