1. Cathy

    I have always heard that the correct thing to do after receiving a gift is to write a thank-you note to the “giver”. Isn’t it in poor taste to write a note to the person who gives it to you personally, instead of thanking the person warmly from the heart when the gift is received? It just seems to pretentious to send a thank you note after a lukewarm “thanks”.

    I appreciate your point of view in this matter!


    • Elizabeth

      Etiquette rules state that you need not send a note when a gift is given in person and thanks delivered then. There are some obvious exceptions – for instance, people still expect a thank you note when they give a shower gift. However, another way to think of the note is this: you may be pleased upon first receiving a gift, but the first time you wear it/use it/taste the wine, you may feel more gratitude and be able to articulate what you especially appreciated about it, and there’s nothing wrong with expressing a second wave of gratitude.

  2. Cathy

    Is it still the correct thing to do, to stand when a lady arrives or leaves the dinner table? And should this be done always or only at restaurants?



    • Elizabeth

      While this rule may still be in effect in the most formal of situations, it is essentially obsolete in daily life. As a woman, I would not expect this. On the contrary, I feel as though it would be calling attention to my comings and goings to the table and would disrupt the enjoyment of my guests who might be eating at my table.

      I do think that it is polite for people to stand and greet you when you arrive to the table – to shake hands, hug or whatever. But if they didn’t I wouldn’t think much of it.

    • Elizabeth

      Presumably your sister-in-law’s husband also had a relationship with the mother and is also grieving, if not quite as deeply as his wife. I would address the card to them both, but when referring to the deceased I would refer to her as “your mother” and not “your mother-in-law.” The card should speak to the most deeply grieving person, I think.

  3. Peter

    I found this site by accident. Would never have guessed that there is a website dedicated to the rules of etiquette! The questions on here would be funny if they were not so pitiful, and taken so seriously by these sad people. It’s the twenty first century, not the 1930’s. Get a life for God’s sake! There – now I’ve broken all of the rules.

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