Open Thread

by epi on February 20, 2012

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.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

John Scheef February 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm

When a person invites you to a charitable fundraiser luncheon and pays for your ticket/lunch, are you expected to make a donation to the named charity? Is it rude/bad form if you do not make a donation? If you are expected to make a donation, what is an appropriate donation amount?

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Jerry February 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Not necessarily. Often the host is just looking to fill a table. These lunches are networking things as much as anything.

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Ashley February 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I’ve been filling out applications for jobs and have no idea what to put for a job I had during the summers of 2007 and 2008. My boss passed away since I worked for her and no one else at the company would really know me. Not to mention there is high turn over. What do I put on applications when it asks for previous job/supervisor?
For anyone who does hiring: does it look bad to write down a boss who did not know me? My fear is that a perspective employer will call this person and they will not know who I am. Does that look bad to a perspective employer?

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Just Laura February 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Job: Director of First Impressions, Corporation, LLC
Supervisor: Jane Doe (Deceased, 2009)
Phone number: 555-555-1234 whatever the number for the company.
May we contact them: You may try. …You should probably simply write ‘yes.’

Anyone looking at your application should be able to figure out that if your supervisor passed on, and you worked under no one else, the current supervisor in that position will not know you. I don’t know why this would look bad, unless you are the one responsible for the late supervisor’s passing.
Good luck with the job search!

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Sebastian February 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm

My fiance and I have been engaged since 2009 and had not set a wedding date yet due to logistics. My future brother and law proposed to his fiance on Jan 1, 2012 and promptly set a wedding date for June of 2012 without consulting my fiance nor myself. I had been planning to announce a September wedding for the same year and thought it quite rude that they would not even talk to us to see if we had any plans.
Am I just being ridiculous in believing this, or would it have been proper for the younger brother to consult with us first?

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Jerry February 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm

You are being ridiculous.

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Just Laura February 20, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Taking a slightly different tone than our friend Jerry, I will say that you are entitled to your feelings. However, I hope you realize how unfair it would be to hold this against the other happy couple. It appears you’ve had a longer-than-usual engagement (which is fine), and the family has grown accustomed to it. I’m sure that your future brother-in-law (your fiance’s sister’s fiance? or your sister’s fiance? your fiance’s brother?) meant no harm and simply thought you would be engaged for a while yet. Yes, it would have been nice if he had checked with you, but you are two different couples planning two separate weddings in very different months. To be fair to him, your wedding in September does not mean you have plans in June. It means you have plans in September, and I’m glad that he didn’t inadvertently plan the wedding for then.

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Country Girl February 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I can see your hurt feelings, It seems when siblings get married so close to each other there is always a bit of rivalry about dates. (I know from experience =)) But your future brother-in-law did nothing wrong. Even though you proposed first, BIL and his fiance did not need to consult you both to set his wedding date. There are likely various reasons why he and his fiance picked this date, and I don’t guess any of them are ill-willed. Your weddings are two completely separate events, and June and September should be far enough apart to not cause any travel dilemmas for guests. The only thing you can control is the date of your own wedding. If you and your fiance would like to move it, then feel free! And congratulations!

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Winifred Rosenburg February 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm

I agree with previous responses and would like to add that having a sibling get married before you isn’t as bad as people make it seem. I was the last of my siblings to get married and it gives you a chance to learn from their weddings with how to proceed eith your planning. It also means you will have people to ask advice from when problems arise.

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L.K. February 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch after which we were going to see a play I had gotten tickets for. The play was not one we were familiar with, but it was based on short stories of Chekhov, which I knew my friend would be interested in–she agreed to go when I presented the plan to her previously. At intermission, she said she was leaving, as she hated the play, said she enjoyed the lunch, kissed me, and said she’d be in touch. I was taken aback and surprised, and felt her doing this was rude. What is your take on the situation? If it were me, I wouldn’t have left out of deference to the fact that we had a “date,” even though we are mature heterosexual women.

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Just Laura February 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I agree with you, L.K. I would only leave at intermission if I found the play personally offensive. If I found a play personally offensive, I would at least explain this to my friend (who purchased tickets for me!) before my departure.

And it would have to be pretty offensive. I saw Hair on Broadway during opening week with a friend (who bought a ticket for me). I absolutely despised it, but stayed, because she is my friend and bought me a ticket.
I’m interested in seeing what she means when she says she’ll be in touch.

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L.K. February 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

Although I got the tickets ahead of time, I didn’t buy the ticket for her; she paid me for it (I got a discount through Groupon). Does this change things?

Also, she–and many people–say things they don’t mean (another etiquette issue): “I’ll give you that recipe.” “I’ll be in touch.” “I’ll call you.” I’m sure I’ll hear from her again–we’ve been friends for a while–but this is the first time something like this has happened.

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Elizabeth February 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

While I would hate to be left alone at the midpoint of a play, I’m not sure if what you’re friend did was rude, exactly. She could have done a better job of explaining why she was leaving, she could have been more apologetic about it, and she could have acknowledged how you might feel about being left alone. But unless you had plans after the play, or one of you was dependent on the other for transportation after the play, I can see how if someone really disliked the play they wouldn’t want to stick around longer than they had to.

As for the ‘being in touch’ part, that’s not rude at all. Friends are not required to make promises about when they will talk or see each other next. If you want to call her before she calls you, then do so. It might be more accurate to say “let’s be in touch!”, but “I’ll call you” or “I’ll be in touch” certainly doesn’t mean “don’t call me, I’ll call you.” I think, in that case, she did the most natural thing between friends, which was to acknowledge that you’ll talk again in the future. To expect anything more seems outside the bounds of normal friendship.

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L.K. February 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I agree with Elizabeth that friends aren’t obligated to make promises about when they’ll talk or see each other next. However, with the majority of my friends I find I’m the one usually doing the heavy lifting: asking to get together and suggesting plans. So this is a sensitive topic for me. I believe that friendship should be mutual and both should share in keeping in touch and suggesting activities, but most of my current friends don’t participate in keeping in touch, although they seem delighted when I contact them and have a plan of what to do, so we get together. Do others have this problem? It feels unfair!

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Elizabeth February 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

I totally understand that it doesn’t feel good to be in a relationship that seems unequal. The reasons behind it could be anything. It’s possible that they are busy and more stressed out than you, it’s possible that they simply value socializing less than you, or prioritize it lower than other things in their life. It’s possible that their natural rhythm of socializing is different than yours (as in, you would prefer to get together every two weeks, they every two months). There is also the possibility that they simply value or prioritize your friendship at a lower level than you do. The list could go on.

I think you have two options: either make peace with the friends (and the dynamics) you have, and just enjoy the time you spend with them, or back away and see what happens. Make new friends, volunteer and meet new people. Become less emotionally dependent on your current friends, and you’ll find that you just care less about the whole situation.

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L.K. February 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Thanks for your reply, Elizabeth. I have backed away–for several months–but then I reached out to a couple of friends–one could die of loneliness!–who were glad to hear from me. However, I really feel that if I didn’t contact them I wouldn’t have heard from them and am still not sure that they will contact me again. I meet new people frequently and the same thing happens–at this point, I believe it’s nothing I’m doing that’s causing people to behave like this. I think people are extremely self-involved and are too lazy to keep up friendships. Or too something… It’s really puzzling to me because when I meet people who seem interested in being a friend and then it fizzles out unless I’m doing all the work to keep it going… Is this the way the world is? Or maybe it’s the way NYC is…

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