Open Thread

by epi on May 9, 2012

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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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Florence Owens May 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm

My husband was clearly excluded in an invitation to a graduation party and engagement party and only my daughter and I were invited. I think this is a terrible thing to do. Isn’t it a matter of proper etiquette that you invite the wife and husband? This invitation came from my niece.

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Winifred Rosenburg May 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

You are right. A husband and wife are considered a social unit so unless it is a women-only party or something like that both spouses should be given the option to attend any social event one is invited to.

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Elizabeth May 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Yes – Winifred is right.
You can simply decline the invitation, but in the interest of ongoing family relations, you may way to gently inquire if your husband had done anything to offend.

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Jody May 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Is it possible these parties are female-only? If so, that would be the only reason to omit your husband; it would have been nice to indicate something about a “girls-only event” on the invitation.

Otherwise I agree that a quiet inquiry is in order.

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Jerry May 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I concur with Elizabeth and Winifred. Who has female only graduation parties?

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Congnizant of Confidentitallity May 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

There is an immediate family member in the family with a disorder, which causes a lot of trouble for people due to the resulting behavior of this person. I am hosting a large anniversary party for my parents and I have to advise the restaurant manager and others involved, so that they are aware of the situation and can help remove the person if they cause a large disruptive. How can I politely explain this? Should I even mention that the person has a disorder? Is this not a breach of confidentiality?
I should mention that there is no option for this person, to not be invited to the event.

I also struggle a lot with dealing with close friends and relatives. I do not want to advertise this person’s disorder but I do not know how to explain their behavior and the strained relationship, which is often questioned by the closest members of the family and friends. Perhaps this is the time when confidence can be broken?

Your advise on this very sensitive topic, is appreciated.

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Jerry May 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

“[B]reach of confidentiality” applies only in those situations where you actually have a duty to keep someone’s confidence, i.e. non-social situations. You can — and should — advise the restaurant managers so that they can make appropriate arrangements to make sure that all of the guests are comfortable and safe. The best way to do this is to explain, directly, what the situation is: i.e., my sister, Sally, has [X], occasionally, she will exhibit behaviors [Y]. We want you to know in case [Z]. She also requires accommodation [A]. Indeed, you owe the restaurant some warning so if your relative does act up, they won’t be surprised. (Imagine, for example, being a server who is on the receiving end of a behavior.)

If you tell the restaurant, be prepared to answer some of the following questions: Does this person turn violent? If so, how big is he? Do he need to be kept away from sharp objects? How frequent are these behaviors? Is there anything that can trigger these behaviors that the restaurant should know to avoid? Are there any warning signs that precipitate these behaviors?

I would not worry about telling close family or close friends that your relative has a condition that has caused some friction. (I wouldn’t advertise it either, but certain close relationships give people license to ask more personal questions like why they never see your [B] any more.) You don’t have to go into all of the gory details, and polite people will know enough not to ask.

Alternatively, with respect to the event you’re planning, is it possible to hire a “sitter” who can monitor this relative and escort him out if it becomes necessary?

Best of luck.

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