Open Thread

by epi on March 21, 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.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam March 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I work with a college-aged girl who is partially deaf. I am about 8 years older than her. She is extremely sweet and likes to talk to me. However, she is loud when she talks b/c of her hearing loss. She comes and stands in front of my desk and doesn’t really take cues that I am busy or that there are people reading around us. I try to talk to her as much as I can, but sometimes I get up and pick up something as though I need to go to another room b/c she just stands over me. For example, when I try to give a fleeting hello with a smile, she still stops and waits for us to have a conversation. I am the only person to whom she does this. I like her very much and would be so upset if I ever hurt her feelings, but it’s very hard b/c I feel like I get trapped at my desk. Any suggestions?


Winifred Rosenburg March 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Regarding her trying to have a conversation at bad times, you can say “I’m sorry. We’ll have to finish this conversation later. I have some work I really have to get to.”

Regarding the speaking loudly, is there a back room or some other semi-private area you can direct her to? You can say something like, “I think so-and-so is trying to concentrate. Let’s go to this other place to talk so we don’t bother him.”

In my experience, people with hearing problems sometimes miss cues, but they are also generally aware that they sometimes miss cues so they appreciate being pointed in the right direction.


Vanna Keiler March 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Sounds like your colleague can’t take a hint. Perhaps the forward approach is what is needed, which would also be doing her a favor, since she seems to not understand office etiquette very well. The next time she does this, I would say “Can I help you with something?” If she says no or shakes her head, then point to your computer or work station and tell her you are busy and smile sadly, then continue working. Unfortunately, friendship or not, your job is to be able to do your job, and this co-worker is distracting you from having that accomplished. It sounds like others are getting distracted from her presence also, which could fall back on you if they complain, if they assumed you were encouraging her visits.

Another thing you can do is take her out for lunch, or take her aside, and tell her that her visits get distracting.


Pam March 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Thank you both for your very helpful comments. I thought I included the fact that I work in a library, but I realize that I did not. This is why the loudness of her voice makes me anxious, because I get nervous that a patron is going to get upset. Sometimes I will see her walk through the front door, so I am able to preemptively get up from my desk and busy myself somewhere, but sometimes I am involved in something at my desk and I look up and there she is! Thanks again, I will try to utilize your suggestions.


Audrey March 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I am sending out invitations to my Company’s 60th Anniversary celebration to our employees. The total invitation consists of a 5-1/2″ x 8″ jumbo postcard-type invitation, a 5-1/2″ x 8″ reply card that is folded over, and a reply envelope. In what manner and order should I stuff the outside envelope? Thank you!


Winifred Rosenburg March 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

If I am picturing this right, you should put the reply card in front with the flap of the reply envelope over it and the rest of the envelope behind that. Because the actual invitation is the largest item, it can go in the back.


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