Open Thread

by epi on March 30, 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.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I am working on wording for my daughter’s college graduation party invitation. She will be leaving after graduation to spend 11 weeks in Ghana–7 weeks doing an internship working with child victims of human trafficking and 4 weeks returning to an orphanage she has volunteered at. My question is whether its OK to ask guests for donations in lieu of gifts. She would rather receive medical supplies, toiletries, money for food and medical care, etc… to take with her. Or should I not say anything about gifts and wait until people ask?

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Just Laura March 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

First, Kim, I applaud what your daughter is doing. Certainly the world needs more selfless people such as her. Second, it is never acceptable to mention gifts (donations or otherwise) in an invitation. If anyone contacts you to ask what your daughter might need, that would be the appropriate time to let them know. I couldn’t imagine anyone ignoring this request.

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Rusty Shackleford March 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm

First, it sounds like you daughter is an exceptional and brave young lady and she is to be commended for her work. As for gifts, since these would be items going directly to your daughter, to take on her trip, I would not mention in the invitation and see if people ask directly. On the other hand, if these items are being collected for a non-profit group, I see nothing wrong with mentioning on the invitation to bring toiletries, neosporin, etc., the same way you’d ask someone to bring a can to a canned food drive.

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Rusty Shackleford March 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Not really a question, but just putting this idea out there to see what people think. Last week, a co-worker of mine sneezed. Instinctively, all my life really, I have always said “gesundheit” when a person sneezes. However, in this instance, my coworker said “I prefer to be blessed.” I looked this up, turns out gesundheit is a German word for “health.” And that most non-English speaking countries sneezing response is some reference to health. I was wondering whether anyone feels that “gesundheit” is inappropriate? Is “Bless You” the only acceptable sneeze response anymore?

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Country Girl March 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Should this happen again it might be helpful to know the history behind our custom of saying “God bless you” or “bless you” after a sneeze. It is told that this custom originated decades ago, when it was believed that sneezing was a sign of the plague. Blessing someone was intended as a benediction for they would surely be departing to heaven in light of their grave illness. The other explanation of the custom of this saying is even deeper rooted in the mythical belief that sneezing is in fact a person’s soul escaping. Blessing someone was to keep their soul intact and body protected from the devil who supposedly could enter the body as the soul left.

I find it at least slightly doubtful that your coworker is fearful of the plague or her soul escaping (and you are presumably not the Pope) so perhaps you can ask her why she maintains this preference. I’d be interested to find out. =) While saying “Bless you” or “Gesundheit” are both perfectly acceptable, etiquette doesn’t require us to say anything after someone has sneezed. (Although the person who sneezed can say excuse me if he or she has expelled anything in the way of others.)

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Jody March 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

“Gesundheit” is certainly an appropriate response since, as you note, it does mean “health.” Let’s give the sneezer the benefit of the doubt and assume she doesn’t know what it means.

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Just Laura March 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm

What an interesting coworker you have. I prefer your “health” response, feeling that deities have better things to do than go around blessing everyone during allergy season. Also, what if you are not a person who is comfortable with the phrase “bless you”?
I think any nice response is a good response, and the person should accept it gracefully.

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Antonio March 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I was having a discussion with a friend about etiquette. I have always open doors for women and let them go first. However, my friend told me that when going to an unknown bar or restaurant, the man is the one that should go first. Is that true? And also, when going to the movies or the theater, who should go first into the row or seats? thanks for your help!

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Lee Ann March 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

I received a free medical facial for referring a friend to my plastic surgeon. The facial is done by the esthetician at his office. Do I tip her for her the service even though it is free or is free really free?

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Country Girl April 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm

You should ask your plastic surgeon before the appointment if the free facial includes or does not include tip, so you can arrive prepared. This is a business transaction, not a personal favor, so he shouldn’t take offense at your inquiry and they should presumably already have in place a policy on tipping for promotions like this.

Even if the standard tip is covered, you might like to arrive at least prepared to tip a little more in the instance that she does a really great job. It never hurts to tip more than standard, especially if you are a regular customer and you want promotions like this to continue. =) Unfortunately I have seen first-hand fun promotions like this fail, thus cease to exist, because staff felt like they weren’t being properly thanked/rewarded/compensated for their time and services by the company and/or the customers.

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Ivan March 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Im looking for proper Etiquette for online social networking sites like Facebook Chatrooms and Forums as far as what to say in response to questions. Appropriate conversation, polite responses, verbal and non verbal communication and what is considered to be rude behavior. Being aware of warning signs of predators,Is ignoring someone who you think is a predator further provoking the person? Is ignoring someone who is being polite to you being rude to them?

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Alicia April 2, 2012 at 8:10 am

It is ok to ignore someone who seems creepy in an online forum.
As for ignoring someone polite well it kinda depends . Facebook: Only allow friend requests from people you know personally and in real life and you will be fine. As a result on your facebook everyone is then people you really know and thus not creepy.
Forums: If you are a regular on a forum and someone specificallys asks you a non personal question like “Ivan, do you know how to do this? “It seems like you should reply and being friendly is part of why you join an online forum as well as to pool your group knowlegde about the subject at hand.
Forums:For example this one had you read this question from someone else and you knew the answer it would be appropriate and kind to provide the answer in a polite and clear manner as possible. Forums work because of member participation. Basically think of it as a large group discussion.

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Dawn March 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I recently purchased birthday gifts for a couple of friends. They opened the gifts
on their own but I haven’t heard anything from them; no thank you or even
an acknowledgment that I purchased a gift. I’d like to know if they liked the gift but
feel like I should just let it go. Still, I thought I’d seek some advice.

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Country Girl April 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

While it is unfortunate they haven’t sent you a thank you, it is a rather sticky situation to bring the gift up. There is very limited opportunity to do so without either coming off accusatory or putting the couple on the spot to have to gush about the gift.

I think at this point, it may be best to just let it go. You might find a way to delicately weave the gift into conversation, but I wouldn’t outright ask if they liked the gift. That would likely make uncomfortable situation for you both, and also be hurtful to you if you could tell they (for some reason) did not. Instead I might say something like “Speaking of salad, have you been able to use the salad spinner yet? I just love mine… do you know I also use it to spin-dry my pasta after boiling, which is a neat trick to help the sauce stick better.”

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Alicia April 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

That is a neat trick idea. humm need to go home and try making pasta country girl style

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