Open Thread

by epi on August 2, 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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

eddie fortunato August 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

I would like to know the answer to this. Someone came in my home to see a baby, their grandson. I the owner and other grandfather was sitting in my deck with my dog. My dog makes when excited and or people enter my home, and everyone knows this. When this person came to my home my wife came into the house when they arrived. I stayed out with the dog. They knew I was outside and the reason, they are annoyed that I did not come in to say hello to them. I did wave through the window to the other grandfather while he was looking out my back door to inspect my yard. Who is the one who is responsible to say hello to who? Thanks Eddie

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Chocobo August 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Mr. Fortunato, you are responsible for greeting any guests who come to your home. One might say especially your in-laws and relatives. At the very least you could try to shout a friendly hello through the back door or window and apologize for not coming in, since you are trying to keep the dog from getting excited. Otherwise, you could tie the dog up or put him in a room until you have greeted the guests or the dog has calmed down.

For the sake of family harmony and for the sake of your baby’s relationship with both of their grandparents, greet your guests and find another solution for the dog.

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Ashleigh August 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Agreed. I’m not sure if your deck is completely enclosed or not – if it is, you could leave the dog outside for a moment while you run in and say a quick hello. If they know that the dog is easily excitable and perhaps needs supervision (don’t know if he does), they shouldn’t require anything more than a “Bob and Sue, how great to see you! I have to run back out with Fido but you are both more than welcome to come enjoy the sun with us.” If they want to chat, they can come outside with you. If not, they can stay inside with baby.

I’m not sure if they stayed inside the whole time but they also could have made an effort to poke their head out to say hi rather than getting upset about it.

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Pam August 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm

First I just want to clarify: I believe that you are a grandfather to the baby and that the people visiting were the other set of grandparents?
I definitely understand that dogs need special attention with certain situations, and it’s good that you know your dog so well that you are making sure to take care of him/her in said situation. I’m wondering if this was a “drop by” visit or a scheduled visit. If they just showed up, then I understand that you took the dog outside and did not have time to prepare properly. For scheduled visits, it really is on the host to supply the greetings. Even if you had peeked your head into an open door, while holding the dog’s leash and offered a handshake, hello and explanation “Hey John, great to see you! I’m just out here with Fido for a little bit until he calms down.” Or if he never calms down, perhaps when a visit is scheduled you could invite everyone to sit outside so that it doesn’t matter as much if Fido leaks a little :) Good Luck.

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Lilli August 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm

If it’s known that the dog becomes overactive I don’t think what you did was wrong, particularly if there is a baby in the house. You should greet your guests and it appears that you did by waving hello – I’m surprised they even noticed your behavior and weren’t completely distracted by the new grandchild!

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eddie fortunato August 4, 2012 at 12:10 am

Lilli you got it right it was know and they just showed up unexpectedly, they were more interested in what I have in my home than thier grandchild!!!!

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Jody August 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Eddie, if this was an unscheduled visit, I agree with those who say you did the right thing. Your wife greeted the guests and you stayed outside with the dog, to control its behavior. If this had been a scheduled visit, I’d say you should have greeted your guests but it seems that wasn’t the case here.

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eddie fortunato August 4, 2012 at 12:22 am

Jody BINGO, yousaid a mouthful. It was unscheduled , These people were in my home several times and they know about the dog. We were forced into this situation by our 20 year old daughters pregnacy, not married, so the other gandparents dont really care for this situation. They feel uncomfortable coming to my home so they were looking to pick on something. My wife and I and the dog was siting out back when my daughter said his mom and dad are coming over so keep the dog out here. No sooner did she close the door they were here!. So I said to my wife you go in and I will stay with the dog. I waved to the grand dad as he inspected my yard through the windows. The grandmother didnt come by the windows or back door. They were here for 3-4 minutes. I wasunder the impression when you enter a home you say hello to everyone as you enter, naturally I always say hello. thanks ed

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Pat Serio August 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

I am writing a business letter to the female president and chief administrative officer of a hospital. For a salutation, do I use: President Doe, Ms. Doe, or something else?
By the way, I would never preface the salutation with *Dear*; that is too personal, and this is business.
Also, your space to enter one’s email address uses the lower case *o* in place of Zero. Even when I tried to type the zero for the preceding sentence, your program chose the lower case *o*. The two are not interchangeable.
Thank you.

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Chocobo August 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

Why would you think “Dear” is too personal? That’s like actually considering whether it really is a “good” morning or not when someone greets you. Don’t over-think the standard courtesies. “Dear” is a perfectly acceptable way to open any letter, business or personal. For example, if you are writing the President of the United States, the correct opening is “Dear Mr. President,” whether or not you consider him dear.

Regardless, I believe the proper form of her name would be Ms. Doe. Or Dr. Doe, if you know she has a Ph.D. or M.D. As far as I am aware, the only time “President” is used before a name in a salutation is to leader of a country like the United States or France.

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Ashleigh August 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab goes through each part of a business letter in detail. Under “salutation” they write:

Use the same name as the inside address, including the personal title. If you know the person and typically address them by their first name, it is acceptable to use only the first name in the salutation (for example: Dear Lucy:). In all other cases, however, use the personal title and full name followed by a colon. Leave one line blank after the salutation.

If you don’t know a reader’s gender, use a nonsexist salutation, such as “To Whom It May Concern.” It is also acceptable to use the full name in a salutation if you cannot determine gender. For example, you might write Dear Chris Harmon: if you were unsure of Chris’s gender.

So in this case, you would write “Dear Ms. Doe:” if you have a formal relationship, or “Dear Jane” if that is how you normally address her. She will not think you have a crush on her or are being inappropriate because of the “dear.”

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Shirley Ann Goerlitz August 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Question for the day: my husband and I do not drink any alcohol. We like to visit with people though and wonder what is the best answer when asked to someone’s house for ‘drinks’. Is it good to tell them immediately, we don’t drink alcohol or would it be better to take a bottle of non-alcoholic drink with us. Please advise.

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Elizabeth August 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Hmm… I can see reasons for and against telling them upfront. On one hand, it would be nice to tell them so they can have something for you to drink. On the other, does our culture revolve around alcohol so much that this should be a problem? If the invitation is to come over to try a specific thing, like if they mention a great bottle of wine, I would mention it. But if they ask you to stop by for a drink before you all head out to a restaurant (the drinking is not so front and center in the evening) I might not.

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Just Laura August 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I’ve had people come over who do not imbibe, so I make sure to have seltzer water, tea or other soft drink around. One person recently did make me uncomfortable as a hostess. I offered wine, but she didn’t drink, so I offered Coke or tea, but she doesn’t consume caffeine, so I offered but she doesn’t like carbonation. I finally offered water, but I couldn’t guarantee the quality (it wasn’t bottled) so she simply sat there without. I felt pretty bad, but honestly had nothing else.

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Elizabeth August 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I wouldn’t feel bad. You can’t walk around with that many restrictions and expect people to have the exact thing you prefer. She turned her nose up at tap water?? Yeesh.

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Chocobo August 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

Normally I would say do not bother saying anything, just refuse the alcoholic drink and say “Oh, some water would be nice, please,” or something along those lines. But since they specifically invited you over for the purpose of drinking alcohol (versus say offering a glass with dinner), I think it would be appropriate to say that you would love to come over, but you do not drink, so you’ll just have water/soda/something else. That way they aren’t expecting to make you cocktails all night and getting disappointed when they find out you won’t have any of it.

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Alicia August 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

Well my boyfriend does not drink and he defaults to the following, he tells the host that he would love to come over and could he bring this awesome peach lemonaid ( or fancy iceds tea or some other fancy ish non alcoholic beverage) That heads ups the host that he will not be consuming the wine or rum but at the same time gives him something fancy that looks good in a cocktail glass.

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