1. Pam

    I have always wondered about this but didn’t think of posting it until it happened yesterday. When you go out with a friend, and one of you does the driving, how do you handle the “okay it’s time to go home” moment when the other person has yet to say “well I think I better get back home.” My friend wanted to give me a birthday gift and get some lunch. I told her I would pick her up. We went to lunch, did a little shopping and then got coffee. I came up with the idea of stopping for coffee and she agreed. I felt like we had been together for a few hours and it was time to part ways (I had nowhere else to be which is why I didn’t say that I had to be somewhere else). But what do you do if you are the “driver”? I have had this experience with other friends when I drive. It feels like I am deciding that our time together has come to a close and it is “time to go home” and I feel strange about that. I have been on the other end of it too…one time a friend picked me up for a movie and drove me right back to my house after without suggesting that we get dessert or something, and I felt like I couldn’t suggest it because she was the one driving.

    • I think you’re right – it seems the driver should dictate when the visit is at an end. The passenger wouldn’t want to impose additional miles/gas/time spent on the person doing most of the work. Usually to signal the end of a date with a friend, I say something such as, “It’s been so spending time with you, and I hope we can do this again soon.”

    • Nina

      Pam, the fact that you are worrying about this probably indicates you are being more than polite. I am a carless person and the frequent recipient of driving favours. I try to avoid suggesting extra stops in case I’m imposing, though if the driver asks me what I feel like doing next, or something similar, and it seems like they are open to further hanging out, I might say, “I’d be up for a coffee if you’ve got the time.” But if I’m not asked, I usually don’t say anything–better safe than pushy, is my thinking, and I prefer that the person doing the favour take the lead on how much is enough. Does that make sense?

  2. Scott

    Is it acceptable etiquette for adult siblings to decide to not get each other gifts on their respective birthdays, as they had previously done when younger and in better economic times, and instead simply get together with family for a meal instead? The reasons would include avoiding the stress/time/money involved in gift giving and at the same time avoiding the risk of an undesired gift. A separate, but related question would be whether it’s appropriate to directly ask the person what they want, and then buy them the exact item – is this acceptable etiquette when the thoughtful shopping aspect is eliminated?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      That is perfectly acceptable etiquette. Many families come to these agreements because they realize everyone has too much stuff.

      It is acceptable to ask the person what they want. The person answering, by the way should avoid being demanding and say something along the lines of “I was thinking of getting these things for myself. If you want, you can get one for me.” It’s usually a good idea to give the person several choices in case the first choice ends up being too expensive or difficult to find but leave the door open for them to decide to get you something not on the list.

  3. Dan

    I have question about wedding etiquette. Has it become unfashionable now for the bride and groom to send out a formal (or even informal) wedding invitation? Out of the past three weddings to which I have been invited, two couples have waited until the last second to announce their plans, and then only to select people (like Mom and Dad, who now “control the information” for the rest of the guests). For one of these weddings I had to leave the reception early to catch a flight home and I was upset about that. As I am now being asked to fly across the country to attend another wedding, isn’t it appropriate for a guest to ask – and expect an answer – to when will be the wedding and the reception, and where?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      No, it hasn’t. In general, if you are upset about the way you were invited to a wedding, or any event for that matter, feel free to not go.

    • How thoughtful of you! Every time I’ve attended a homecoming for a soldier, there have been few, if any, gifts. But my husband said he liked receiving movies, gift cards for books or restaurants, or a bottle of bourbon when he returned from Iraq. These are things the soldier missed out on while serving his/her country. When our housemate returns from Afghanistan next year, he expressed interest in just have a simple house party with good food and all his friends. He has missed this the most. :)

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