1. Lisa A.

    I kept my name when my husband and I married. We had it announced at the end of our ceremony: “Friends, I am pleased to present Buddy B. and Lisa A., husband and wife!”. However, many people have been directing their correspondence to “Mrs. Buddy B.” or “The B. family”. Or worse, calling me “Mrs. B” or “Mrs. Buddy B.” in a public social setting.

    When it happens face-to-face, I usually smile and when the moment is right take them aside and say “Hi Marsha, actually I am still Lisa A, and won’t be using B. as my last name. Thanks.” Most of the time this goes well, but sometimes the other person feels the need to try to change my mind or give me a list of 500 reasons why my husband and I made the wrong decision and this is the why the country is going down the tubes, and so forth. I have so far only kept the smile on my face and said, “I am sorry you don’t agree with our decision. However, it was ours to make and it’s final. This punch you’ve made is FABULOUS! Can I have the recipe?”

    So, two questions: one, is there a way to spread the word that my name is still Lisa A.? I guess the recipients of thank you notes did not note the names on the return address. Two, is there a way I can more gracefully handle being called the wrong name, without being shrill but still conveying my preference regarding my name?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      1) Since it is the season, you can send out holiday cards to everyone you wish to inform of your name preference and sign them “Buddy B. and Lisa A.” If they don’t figure it out after that, it’s a lost cause.

      2) You seem to be handling the situation gracefully. Keep it up!

  2. Zakafury

    You could also mention in your replies to mislabeled letters that you “nearly mistook it for junk mail.” My mother and step-father routinely throw out mail to Mr. . You could also use your full signature on your thank you notes.

    In person, coach your husband to make introductions before others flub it up and call you by his name. You should certainly never be called “Mrs. Buddy B.” in person. I think a warm tone and a smile with “It’s actually Lisa A., but just call me Lisa.” works just fine.

    It’s all about tone, really. I appreciate being able to get it right in the future, but I would resent being talked down to (as has happened after touchy mispronunciations).

  3. Pam

    Help! No matter how many lists I make, how much forethought I put into Christmas and how much shopping I do months before I always forget something! I have a friend at work who always gives me a little something on my birthday and at Christmas. I keep forgetting to bring in a little something for her. This year I actually kept thinking about what to get her and then boom, here it is, Dec. 23rd. She hands me a very cute mug and cocoa and I feel awful! I was thinking of having something sent to her home tomorrow–some sort of edible fruit arrangement, but she is the mother of 5 children and I think it would look sort of sad if I sent the least expensive arrangement with only 6 chocolate covered strawberries. The larger arrangements are very expensive and while I do not mind spending the money, I also don’t want to send something that is obviously a lot more money than what she got me. What should I do?!

  4. Alicia

    First relax! You are not required to get someone a gift just because they give you one. Send a nice thank you note and that is fine.
    Second,(yes you can laugh at this overly organized solution) I used to have this problem then I started a Christmas Gift excel sheet. I have the names of everyone I get gifts for.,What I got them the last year, Any ideas that occur to me between one holiday and the next I put in there to help me shop, my overall Christmas budget and what I am budgeted per person and what I actually spend per person. I also put in who gave me what. The next year I can then pull up several ideas for people, what I bought them the years before ( this has stopped me from buying a sweater 3 years in a row for my brother in law) and who gave me what the year before.
    The other solution I have heard is to always have a few generic kinda gifts on hand.

    • Country Girl

      Can I just say how jealous I am that you are this organized? =) The spreadsheet really is a great idea.

      I am in the camp that tries to keep a few generic gifts on hand. Pam, if you have some extra Christmas cookies, that may make a fun plate for the children as well as the mother to enjoy. Also it wouldn’t cost you anything extra. The strawberry bouquet also sounds lovely though. And don’t worry for a single second that anyone would even consider that you got a less expensive arrangement. I think she would be thrilled at the gesture.

  5. Pam

    Thank you Alicia! The excel sheet is an excellent idea, I think I will do that. I keep a running list of ideas all year, so I really should have a list of what I actually got the previous year. I think I’m going to send a thank you note and then maybe I will find a little something up in New England when I am away next week. That can just be a “I saw this and thought you might like it” gesture.

  6. Rachel

    I have always been a stickler for proper spelling, although as I’ve gotten older, I have refrained from flat-out correcting mistakes as I do not want to annoy people.

    Having said that, there are still a few irritating spelling mistakes that friends and family make that I have been biting my tongue on correcting because I don’t want to make them feel badly.

    The first, and perhaps most common, is the spelling of my husband’s name. He is Rafael, and although I write it correctly in emails, cards, and letters, I still get several people writing it as “Raphael” – sometimes even in a reply email which contains the correct spelling in the original message.

    The other is the spelling of the country in which I live – Colombia. (My husband is Colombian, and we live in the capital city of Bogotá.)

    The majority of my friends and family live in Canada, so it is not surprising that they would assume the spelling of my adopted country is “Columbia”, considering Canada has a province called British Columbia, and considering there is a Columbia Sportswear, Columbia Records, and of course a Columbia University. While those are all fine in context, the spelling of “Columbia” does not refer to the country in South America.

    Even after I sent out formal change of address cards containing the correct spelling for Colombia, I don’t think I have seen one person get it right. When someone emails, “How is Columbia?”, or “Did you hear about that pipeline explosion in Columbia?”, I am irked! Of course I see they care enough to ask, but I wish they could learn the proper spelling.

    I have corrected the spelling of my husband’s name several times, but to no avail. Should I leave it alone, or address it specifically?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      In most cases, you should leave it alone and just write back using the correct spelling even though they may or may not notice. In cases where you think you can successfully pass it off as blaming technology instead of the person, you can try that. For example, say that your computer is always trying to correct Colombia to the wrong spelling too, but just so you know it’s spelled with an O.

  7. Rachel

    My husband and I recently planned a get-together at a nice restaurant, and sent out e-invitations (via Paperless Post) that specified the location, date, time, and that we were paying for food and drinks. We were leaving town for the next ten months, and thought it would be nice to invite friends and colleagues to see them all before we left. The invitation kindly asked for an RSVP.

    In planning, I reserved a section of the restaurant for our gathering.

    Paperless Post notifies the sender when a recipient opens the e-post, and every invitee opened and viewed his or her invitation. What irked me was that out of twenty-five people invited, only two people responded.

    Twenty-three people simply didn’t bother to RSVP at all. Not a yes, no, or maybe. I wouldn’t be offended if someone said he or she couldn’t make it; in fact, I would prefer to know so I could make proper arrangements regarding the reservation.

    I wasn’t sure whether or not to cancel the reservation at the restaurant, so I kept it. My husband and I waited, and the two people who said they were coming came, and although we had a great time with them, I couldn’t help but be hurt that no one else could be bothered to let us know one way or the other if they could join us.

    Should I mention something to the people who didn’t respond?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      It’s too late to mention something now, but you could have after the RSVP date and before the event to confirm whether or not they were coming.

  8. Nicole

    I have a gift etiquette question: My neighbor and friend gave me an assortment of homemade Christmas cookies and fudge in a ceramic Christmas dish as a holiday gift. Do I return the dish after the holidays?

  9. Elaine

    Hello, when hosting a family dinner or any type of dinner, a time is established for when the food will be ready and the dinner begins. If someone is going to be late they should call and let the host know. However, should dinner be held until that person arrives? This has happened at several family dinners and we have waited up til an hour for the person to arrive. What is the appropriate time to wait for some before serving dinner?
    Thank you

  10. Alicia

    No do not peanalize those who are priompt for the late person. Save aside a portion for the late person and then they can have their food microwaved later. Waiting making the food for the prompt people dry out and become less tasty and the guests more hungry is not the way to treat the guests that are kind enough to be on time. Wait no more then 10 minutes for late people.(unless you are using them as an excuse because the dinner needs a few more minutes to finish up cooking. )

  11. Nicole

    Hi everyone. My fiance’s parents (who are overseas) offered to buy plane tickets for my kids to visit them during the spring break. I can’t afford to buy them plane tickets right now. They haven’t met my kids and would like to “meet them and get to know them”. Me and my fiance will be accompanying them, of course (the trip was just supposed to be the two of us, but with the offer it could be all four of us). Should I accept the offer?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You should also take into consideration if your kids will be able to handle a long flight. If they won’t be following flight attendants’ directions, running around, etc. it would be rude to the other passengers to bring them. Only you can know if your kids are ready.

    • Ashleigh

      I would say go for it!! It’s great that his family is so eager to fully welcome you and your children into their family!! If possible, I would take your fiance’s parents out to a nice dinner while you are there to show your appreciation. Another cute idea might be to have the kids prepare a little scrapbook or something of the like to send (along with a card from you) back to your fiance’s parents to thank them for the wonderful experience.

  12. Alicia

    1. Do you want to bring the kids? Kids along on a trip change the tenor of the trip.
    2. Can you afford and do you want to pay the other extra costs that bringing the kids along on the trip will entail?
    3. Do your kids if old enough to get a say want to come?
    If all 3 are yes then do say yes to the gift of tickets. It is a gift not anything bad. These will be their grandparents getting to know them is valuable for your kids and your future in laws.

  13. Jean K.

    Can someone please tell me what hat etiquette is today for ladies? I am referring to small brimmed ladies hats. Are there certain places where a lady must remove her hat? Does it depend on the style of hat and the size of the brim as to when and if you must remove your hat?

  14. Donna

    This might sound silly, but …my daughter does orginal tattoo work. She has had two people who have started the tattoos with her original art work, then gone to someone else to finish up the color work, because she didn’t do it fast enough for them. Is this bad manners? I know it hurts her artist’s intigrity to have someone else work on her art work. Looking for the right response to those who might do this again in the future.

    • I sympathize with your daughter. While I have no ink myself, I know that a tattoo artist is a true artist, and should be treated as such. But I’m also a little concerned for your daughter’s clients. Why is she not able to finish their tattoos in a timely manner? I know a lot of people who get inked, and they don’t want to wander around with half-finished sleeves or back art. If she is overbooked, she needs to handle fewer clients so that all art is completed at the speed the client expects. However, if this is just a matter of a client refusing to wait a realistic 24 hours and deciding to run off elsewhere, your daughter should look into contracts. Have her (or her lawyer) draw up simple contracts stating that for original art tattoos, the client will come to your daughter for the complete inking. That could solve a lot of her problems.

    • Other Laura

      Without you posting up the time frames within which your daughter finishes the tattoo work she does, it is hard to answer your question. I feel like, from my own experience, that when you start a tattoo with a person, you generally have that same person finish the tattoo. It sounds to me like your daughter is perhaps not finishing the tattoos in a timely enough fashion for her clients, thus forcing them to seek other artists out. I have many tattoos. When I get mine done, my artist does the black outline AND the color fill-in on the same day, even if it takes 4-6 hours (which is generally the most hours a person getting a tattoo can handle in one sitting). When people WANT a tattoo, they want to walk out of the shop with something they can show off that same day. It’s just a thing people want. (: SO, my advice to your daughter would be that she should try to devote enough time to her clients to finish their tattoos on the same day she starts them, UNLESS they are very large tattoos. In that case, it is not unusual for an artist to do an outline one day, and finish the coloring in of the tattoo at a later date (but still within a week or so of the outline work). Your daughter might benefit from doing an apprenticeship under an experienced tattoo artist who can show her the ropes of the business. Even if she is a very good artist, she could probably benefit from working with someone who can show her the ins and outs of tattoo machine work, and how to properly deal with clients. Good luck to her! This is a very interesting field, and one where the artist gets to express her talents and give other people joy from her artwork. It will be a very fun career if she can get a solid footing and a good client base!

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