Open Thread

by epi on April 23, 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 }

Jessica April 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

What is the polite way to say no to getting to know your brother-in-law’s girlfriend? He asked us to join them for dinner. This is the third girlfriend he wants to introduce and get to know and I am not really interested in investing in some one he isn’t sure about. My brother-in-law and I have different values and I have already declined to have them stay at our house for the night. He has since decided to get a hotel for his girlfriend and himself for this one night stay. I have obliged the first time and almost forced to oblige the last time.

Another thing that bothers me is that he originally asked to stay at our house along with one of his buddies (a guy) and then changed plans and asked if his girlfriend could stay instead.


Jerry April 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Jessica: You would never “get-out-of” seeing your brother-in-law’s new significant other. But it’s a shame that you have plans that will leave you indisposed during his girlfriend’s visit. It does not matter that your plans are to relace your tennis shoes or watch bad reality t.v.

The second paragraph is irrelevant to the issue of spending time with your brother-in-law’s girlfriend. It really sounds like you have an issue with your husband and/or his family; otherwise why would you have such an issue with the gender of your brother-in-law’s weekend guest?


Ashleigh April 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

“My brother-in-law and I have different values and I have already declined to have them stay at our house for the night.” I may be reading it wrong but it sounds as though she might not approve of the sleeping arrangements since they had to get a hotel room. She might not be comfortable with an unmarried couple sharing a bed in her home.


Elizabeth April 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

That is what I understood as well. I don’t necessarily agree with it (unless the BIL is a minor), but she certainly has the right to decline a guest she didn’t invite. I’m not sure what that has to do with the dinner, though.


Elizabeth April 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

If you don’t want to go to dinner, simply say that you’re unavailable. It is perfectly polite to decline, but it is not polite to give away your reasons for doing so.

Aside from this narrow etiquette issue, I’m curious what your husband thinks about this? I’m assuming this is his brother? Does he want to spend time with him? I don’t agree that having one dinner with someone is “investing in them.” It’s a nice way to get to know new people, to hear some new jokes, to learn something new. If he breaks up with her later, what’s the harm? You should also consider that part of getting to know someone is seeing how they react in certain situations. You may actually be doing your BIL a favor by allowing him to see how his girlfriend does in the situation.


Jessica May 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

It has to do with my values of not letting an unmarried couple stay at our house that bothered me the most. My husband and I agree and we are on the same page about not letting unmarried couple stay the night at our place. What bothers me is the deception and ways of asking me to stay with his girlfriend. I imagine he initially wanted to ask to have his girlfriend stay the night.
*I decided to decline them staying and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend got a hotel.


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