31 Comments

  1. Clara

    I am starting a new job on Monday. 2 weeks ago I called my future employer to touch base as it involves a transfer from my current job. She said she was waiting for certain forms to come back. I know the forms came back b/c my current employer received the on her end. I told her that I would wait to hear from her. I have not heard anything at all. I think I am going to call this afternoon because I really don’t even know what time to show up on Monday. I am so nervous to make a wrong move or come off as annoying by calling again. Any advice??

    • Elizabeth

      Clara,
      I understand how this situation has made you a bit uneasy. However, the best way to address it is to be calm, direct and straightforward. The person you are dealing with on the other end is probably very busy and has a million things going on, so it would probably be helpful for you to follow up with her.

      You could call and just say, “Hi NewBoss, I’m just calling to check in with you about my starting this Monday. I heard from OldBoss that the forms you were waiting on were sent over, and I’m just wondering if there was anything else you needed on my end and if we were all set for my scheduled start date?”

      • Clara

        Thank you Elizabeth! I called and she was really nice and said she was happy I called. She said she intended on calling but was glad that I called. This gives me peace of mind. Thanks again!

  2. Melissa

    I received an email invitation to an event for about 10 ladies. I accepted; it sounded like a ton of fun!

    A second email was sent out about 4 days later from the host saying that she would like to change the date, as three people couldn’t attend, and if that was okay with everyone. I replied that I wasn’t able to attend on the newly proposed day.

    A third email was sent out saying that the event’s date was indeed changed. I sadly could not go and was very disappointed.

    These ladies are all friends of mine, and I asked them about the event later. I learned that I was the only one who was not able to attend.

    I hold no grudges against these ladies and we are all still friends; I just thought I’d ask if you think it’s appropriate to change an original date, even if it is to make it so that more people can attend.

    Did the host break any etiquette rules?

    • Country Girl

      Technically no etiquette rules were broken by the changing the event date itself since all guests were informed ahead of time. However, the hostess should have certainly avoided informing everyone that this date change was for the purpose of including certain guests, as it obviously put her in a bad spot when another guest (you) couldn’t attend the new date. While it is unlikely she was intentionally hurtful, the host backed herself into a corner and made you feel that including of these other women was more important than including you. Also, it is my feeling that when a host says “I would like to change the date if that is ok with everyone…” she should truly mean that.

      I can imagine your disappointment, but you seem to be handling it very well.

      • Jody

        I agree that no etiquette rule was broken. I read the situation as “the hostess wanted to change the date to accommodate more of the guests” rather than “some particular guests.” If that is the case — choosing the date that a majority could attend — I can see the hostess’ reasoning in changing it.

        Melissa, I also understand your disappointment that you couldn’t attend and think you handled it beautifully.

  3. Country Girl

    Hi friends,

    I have been on a sort of quest since moving to a new town 2 years ago to find good service providers: hairstylist, dentist, doctor, etc. I have been truly disappointed.

    I have tried asking friends and colleagues who they use as well as done online research, but when I go to set an appointment the person is either booked for a year or not taking on any new patients/clients.

    When told this on the phone, I have tried asking something like “Well can you recommend another stylist who specializes in naturally curly hair?” It seems I am always giving to a brand new person or has availablity the next day and has no idea what they are doing. (Seriously I’ve had an ob-gyn who talked the entire time about his football team instead of concentrating on what he was doing and a hair stylist who when I asked for layers, proceeded to tell me that he worked in construction up until a few months ago and gave me a literary explanation of how construction taught him that layers didn’t mean what I thought it did as he cut my hair straight across the bottom into a box shape.)

    I know there may be good people out there just getting their start and building their client/patient list, but I am so sick of being the guinea pig for those who stink at their job. My question is, how do I politely ask on the phone for someone who knows what they are doing? Also, after having experienced these individuals whom I don’t mesh with, is it ok for me to go back to the same salon/doctors office and request a new stylist/doctor?

    • Jody

      Country Girl, it’s definitely OK to request a new stylist/doctor at the same office. If you do so over the telephone it will be easy, as the “former” stylist/doctor won’t be there to hear you ask for somebody else. Just politely explain that you’d like to see somebody else, as you weren’t happy with your treatment by Dr./Mr. X. If asked why, keep it simple — I didn’t feel that Dr. X listened to me, Mr. X did not my hair the way I requested. It’s easier to do this type of request over the phone; if you do so in person, the doctor/stylist you don’t want to see may overhear you.

      I was in a similar situation a few years ago with my dentist. I really liked her, but did not like the new hygienist. For one appointment I had to see somebody else; when scheduling the next cleaning I was told that person was a temp and I’d be scheduled with my regular hygienist. I asked if there were others I could see because I thought Ms. X was too rough. The receiptionist did give me an appointment with another hygienist, who I really like.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi CG,
      I agree with Jody’s advice, and wanted to add a bit more.
      First, since you are having so much trouble, it might actually be worth it to make the dentist appointment for a year out, just to have it available if you need it when that time rolls around (which it will, and more quickly than you anticipated). If you haven’t found anyone you like by then, you’ll have it there, you’ll be in the system, and you’ll be a patient so you can get in more quickly next time. You can always cancel.

      Second, I would just encourage you to listen to your gut feeling. If you don’t like the vibe of the stylist or the hygienist, just say so and leave. Or, if you’re in the middle of it all, just speak up. “Dr. Football, I’m glad that you’re so invested in your home team, but I would prefer if you’d concentrate on the, ahem, matter at hand.” Be blunt, be polite, but be direct. It takes a little chutzpah, but you’ll feel better in the long run having stood up for yourself.

      (I will say that I had a OB-GYN who used to engage me in conversation about favorite or new local restaurants, and I think he was just trying to help me keep my mind off of an uncomfortable procedure. He was always very efficient with the procedure, so I always felt like he was really concentrating, so I appreciated his efforts, but I can see how it would be super frustrating to have the conversation feel like a distraction, especially if it’s a topic you’re not interested in. I would definitely NOT want to hear about football in that situation.)

      Similarly, you can say: “HairGuy, I appreciate your perspective, but I’ve had this hair all my life and this is just not sounding right. If it’s all the same to you, I’ll just have my hair washed and blown out, and we’ll skip the cut today.”

  4. Winifred Rosenburg

    Hello all! My husband asked me to post a question for him to see what you all think:

    My husband has fibromyalgia. As a result, when his symptoms are flaring up, it can be very painful for him to stand for too long, particularly on a subway where there’s a lot of bouncing. Occasionally he’ll be sitting in a crowded subway car and an elderly person will step onto the train. If he were feeling well, he would of course give his seat to an elderly person, but when he’s not feeling well he doesn’t. Sometimes the elderly person will give him a look of disgust when he doesn’t stand up. One time, a woman commented quite loudly to her companion “Look at these young people who won’t stand up for us!” So far, my husband has followed the New York subway practice of avoiding speaking to his fellow passengers, but he was wondering if he should make an exception in these situations and explain why he can’t stand up. What do you think?

    • I attended NYU, and not being a native north-easterner myself, I was astounded that while most NYers are much friendlier than outsiders admit, I seldom saw anyone get up for anyone else on the subway (visibly pregnant women were the exception). As you stated, Winifred, there’s the Rule about no eye contact with fellow sub passengers and certainly no conversation. I seldom encountered anyone who dared deviate from that norm.
      I recall one older New Jersey women who couldn’t believe a young man offered her his seat. “How can he point out in front of everyone that he thinks I’m old!” I was there, and he simply offered her his seat believing she might need it more than he. Obviously there’s no pleasing everyone.
      There are so many people out there with invisible issues, from cancer treatments to fibromyalgia to persistent back pain to a recent surgery with residual discomfort. How can we know what another is experiencing?
      In my younger days, I was walking in the parking lot toward a store when a young man swerved into an accessible parking spot in a new Mustang, and hopped out as nimble as could be. I nearly gave him a piece of my mind! …right up until he ran around to his trunk, pulled out a wheelchair, brought it to the passenger side, and helped his friend get seated. I’m glad I kept my mouth shut.
      My point is that unless these women are psychic, they do not have the right to judge others. Sure, there are some awfully self-centered people who feel entitled to the subway seat because they got there first, but I believe most are tired from long days or, like your husband, have something else going on. I do not suggest telling your husband to say anything back. In fact, I’d tell him to look straight ahead, make no eye contact and fuhgeddaboutit.

      • Clara

        Most New Yorkers are very friendly, they are just very focused on where they are going and moving very quickly. I remember seeing a show a few years back where they did a test in various cities across the country. For example, they dropped a wallet on a corner to see who would mail it back to the owner. Most of the wallets returned were those dropped in New York. I also know people who have moved to other states only to return because they were treated poorly and felt unwelcome. I’ve always wondered why New York gets such a bad rap when I see so many people helping each other and being courteous. There are always rude people but I’ve experienced that in various states. Anyway, the subway is s place to just stay aware of your surroundings but keep to yourself, and I’ve seen plenty of people offer their seat for those who are obviously in a physical state (pregnant, canes, walkers, etc) that warrants it.

        • Joanna

          Winifred, I’m in the same boat as your husband – I’m 32, and I have lupus and polymyositis. Although I can walk, I am physically unable to climb stairs or even rise from a seated position unless there is something nearby that I can lean on. Thus, depending on what I’m doing, my disability can be a bit hidden.

          Overall, I haven’t had too much trouble regarding my handicapped parking tag or other issues. The one time I WAS asked about my claim to disability, I responded – politely – “Are you a doctor?” When the person invariably says no, you then say, “Then you can’t know my issues, can you?” That shuts people up AND gets the point across.

  5. Judy

    It has been a long time since I’ve been to a bridal shower. A couple of questions. Is it the maid of honor responsibility to throw the bridal shower? The bride thinks so & is she responsible for the cost? I thought that the mother of bride would be pinching in. Also as a guest is the proper thing to do if you when a prize give it to the bride?

    • Maid of honor typically throws the bridal shower (though not always – a good friend could). Why would the mother of the bride pitch in? It’s inappropriate for family members to throw showers, as it looks as if the family can’t afford to give gifts to the couple and must turn to others to fill the void.
      The bridal shower is a gift for the bride; of course she wouldn’t pitch in for it. As a guest at showers, I’ve noticed everyone always kept prizes they had won.

      Disclaimer: I married last year, and did not have a shower. They aren’t a requirement for a good marriage. :)

      • Clara

        Judy, in many circumstances the mother does contribute to the shower, but this is not a requirement. In fact, it seems that etiquette says the family should not give the shower. However, this is obviously a rule that is sort of outdated as I have never been to a shower that was not thrown by the mother and sister, usually because if the bride has a sister, the sister IS the maid of honor. However, I know my grandmother, over 30 years ago, paid for a lot of my Mom’s shower because she did not want my Mom’s sister or friends, all who were in their early twenties, to have to incur such a large cost. I was asked to be a maid of honor a few years ago in a wedding that never happened, but I had no expectation that the mother was going to ask to contribute.

        • Everyone is of course welcome to their opinions and all opinions are welcome here; perhaps we may even agree to disagree. However, bridal showers were intended to be intimate gatherings of the bride’s friends and family, thrown by a friend, where small, modest presents are given. Such an event would not incur much of a cost. It is unfortunately that some today choose to focus on the size of the parties or the gifts received rather than the marriage itself (I am not implying Clara is one of these people).
          There are many rules of etiquette that some feel to be outdated. We hear complaints about writing thank-you notes, about addressing people by their formal titles, about how to ask for cash as a gift, and about who gives what sort of baby/bridal shower. Even the Emily Post Institute recognizes that while in some circumstances a family member may host the shower, it is long been frowned upon. It is really so much trouble for a good friend to throw the shower?

          • Elizabeth

            Just to throw in another perspective, here: I’ve actually never attended a shower that could be described as “small” or “intimate.” I’ve never attended a shower that was held at a private home. All of the showers I’ve been invited to have been held at nice restaurants – either they close off a section, or the restaurant has a nice private room. No MOH has ever hosted one of these on her own, nor would she ever have been expected to foot the bill of such an event. In most cases, the hostesses were a combination of aunts and the bride’s mother’s good friends and I would wager that in most cases the bride’s family did chip in to fund the event (although I don’t know for sure).

            I’m not bringing up my experience to negate or disagree other perspectives, but only to say that there are many many forms that the bridal shower can take, and I disagree with a one-size-fits-all approach via etiquette. It’s not wrong to have a big shower with multiple hostesses (provided that all the guests will be invited to the wedding). This likely isn’t within the means of everyone, but it is tradition in some quarters.

            To answer the OP’s question: the MOH isn’t required to host a bridal shower. The best advice I would give is to get a sense of what kind of shower is typical in the bride’s friend and family groups. If the MOH can host (along with the bridesmaids, perhaps) a shower in her home, that would be a lovely thing to do. If the family expects the seated lunch and open bar for 60 guests, obviously this isn’t a cost that the MOH would be expected to incur. The MOH should go into a discussion knowing her limits (budgetary, amount of time she can invest, etc) and talk with the bride. It is possible that the bride’s extended family already has something in mind, and that the MOH could join in as a hostess by purchasing some party favors/games, or the cake, etc.

          • I completely agree with Elizabeth’s last paragraph.
            Again, what I believe and what others believe isn’t the end-all to any argument. Personally, I’ve never been to a shower held outside of someone’s home or a small-rented space (church basement, community hall). But that doesn’t mean my experience trumps any other experience. I do feel people shouldn’t expect showers, definitely shouldn’t expect lavish ones, and no bride should set high expectations on any member of her bridal party or family.

  6. Jean

    I have a question. My hairdresser also owns the salon and has other hairdressers that work there. Do I still tip my hairdresser even though they are the proprietor of the business and do not just rely on percentage and tips?

    • Chocobo

      In short: No. Owners of establishments are not tipped, as it is assumed that their salaries are not dependent on tipping like the other employees. Though if she was really wonderful one particular time and you felt moved to give something extra, you could.

  7. Kathie

    I have a relative who always seems to get bent out of shape if you don’t offer to bring something to a get-together, often a family dinner or family party. There is also always a sense that you are expected to help clean up, wash dishes, etc. When I have people over (with the exception of a potluck or picnic where it’s very casual), my expectation is that I am giving the party and have everything planned and under control, and don’t expect others to even offer to bring anything. I also don’t expect guests to help clean up…I’d rather them enjoy themselves and leave the cleanup to me when everyone has gone.

    I rarely offer to bring anything or help because of the way in which I view entertaining. Am I wrong? Am I being a rude guest?

    Thanks for clarifying this as I am always feel on the spot when going to this relative’s home.

    • This person has made his/her rules clear in his/her home. For you to accept an invitation to this person’s home (knowing the expectations) and then ignore the rules is rude. If you do not agree to the rules, then please host this person in your home instead (where, of course, this person should endeavor to respect your rules).

  8. Nicole

    I have a question-

    I invited family from out of town to attend a banquet that is being held in honor of my parents, I didn’t have all the details -the cost per plate, location and time. But I wanted them to save the date. I said the following-
    *********************************************************************************
    Hi XXXXX Family-

    Save the Date….

    My parents will be celebrating 27 years at our church this December. We are having a dinner banquet Saturday, November 17th- celebrating their birthdays since they are both in November.

    Please consider attending this event. I will provide additional details as the planning progresses.

    Save the Date– also- your attendance will be a surprise.

    *********************************************************************************
    The date was fleixble and they suggested the weekend of Thanksgiving.

    (My parents always travel to see the family out of town- from TN to Mich-but are getting older and do not need to trave as much due to health reasons.)

    Should the family from out of town assume the banquet will be no cost to them.

    I am sending the official invitations out today- with the details, cost, location, attire, etc. The Banquet will be November 24th- approximately 4 weeks from today.

    They will spend Thanksgiving with us and I considered covering the cost for a social family gathering that Friday (non formal mixer of sort).

    There will be relaltives in attendance that have not been in the same city in years.

    We have been in touch regarding hotel accomodation, etc.-The inviation will include the details regarding the actual event.

    I reviewed the details with my brother including the cost- $50.00 per plate. He stated that they probably assumed there was not a cost associated with the banquet, and may be surprised.

    I told him I did not say it was a birthday party- but a dinner banquet hosted by the church in honor of them- but November was chosen because of their shared birthdays.

    So I guess I think differently about a birthday party and a banquet “In Honor of” ocassion.

    I did reach out to them about having a family gathering on Friday, but wanted to guage interest considering the dinner Saturday would cost approximately $40.00 plus tax and gratuity.

    Almost evryone responded they wanted to do the Friday activity. No one mentioned the cost for Saturday. So does that mean they expected to pay after all…a couple didn’t reply- so does that mean they were surprised about the cost. I may be over thinking this.
    I am considering covering the cost of the banquet on their behalf- but I haven’t heard any complaints.

    I don’t want to cause a financial strain on anyone- but I don’t want to provide a free ride if they intended to pay all along.

    Thanks for any advice.

    • Alicia

      I think I am getting confused.
      From what you wrote I would expect the event on the 17th to be free to attend as you are hosting that in honor of your folks and did not mention cost in the save the date.
      The invite for the 24th you mention cost at $50 a person I’d just decline. But that depends on your family. I might feel guilted into attending.
      Dinner Saturday (unclear date) nobody expects you to pay if you mae that clear upfront but you should not snea it in without letting them now.
      If you do not normally organize the family holiday and you are now organizing three different events for family in november for a cost of at least 90 total a person well honestly that is a lot of time and money to be expecting from everyone around the holidays. But that also could vary based on family.

      • Nicole

        Thanks Alicia….I reread my post and may have rambled off and left you confused – sorry :).
        The church is hosting a banquet at an hotel or fancy restaurant in honor of my parents…..the date was flexible based upon family that may want to attend.
        The family from out of town suggested the Thanksgiving weekend because they had planned to visit for thanksgiving…kill two birds with one stone….

        The save the date notice was to save the date with details to come.

        The invitation has the cost for the banquet.

        So to your point….they know the cost in advance…..but I guess my thoughts are I have never been to a banquet that was free….so I would expect details about the cost to follow and then make my decision…. The date was moved to accommodate their existing travel plans….. The Friday dinner was an optional suggestion. The are not normally her for Thanksgiving but my immediate family has a set tradition of a family outing the day after Thanksgiving so we were offering to include them since they will be here celebrating with us…..but optional considering the cost of the banquet on Saturday….

        I am trying to understand was there anything else I needed to communicate other than the Save The Date….date and occasion…Invitation ….date location attire and cost.

        Thanks

        • Alicia

          The save the date should have said Cost(likely $40-$60) and details to follow.
          Save the dates are generally not sent until date is set and cost is set or close to set.
          The way the save the date was written they would have expected that they were not payng but now as they have made plans around this event are kinda stuck going and paying.
          I have by contrast never been to a church banquet that had a cost over $5 and the vast majority have been free organized by whichever organization is doing it. Then again my family does events in their houses and would never ever charge a per head price for a family event it would be organized and paid for by the organizer or organizers or a potluck in someones home. But maybe your family does that differently is paying $40 a person expected for your family get togethers?

  9. Brockwest

    1) non-visible disabilities: It is very sad that people feel they have the right/duty to accost people who have non-visible disabilities. My wife and I both have non-visible disabilities and have been accosted. I think with the subway situation and the potential danger involved, the smart course would be to do the blank stare in the distance as if you had not heard the insult. I haven’t been personally approached about my non-visibly disability, but am afraid I may break etiquette rules if I am. I was outraged to find an anonymous note on my car windshield saying that my handicapped tag was disgraceful. Had I found the writer, there would have been an incident. My wife has been personally accosted, with the accuser stating “obviously your disability must be mental.” My wife pointed to her handicapped tag that the person hadn’t seen and they went quiet, but then my wife came home very upset.
    Originally handicapped tags were only for wheelchairs, but local governments have increased the conditions for troubles walking, breathing, and all the non-visible disabilities.
    I saw a 60 Minutes report that had the reporters ambushing people in Florida parking in handicapped spots with handicapped tags to find out what the situation was. Most were using someone else’s tags. I was stunned to find that over 50% of drivers in Florida have handicapped tags, according to the report. It was the first time that I realized that I was able to get a tag myself, and it has been life-helping. Whereas I used to debate going out because I would be too tired after the trek from the parking lot, now I can go.
    I’ve wondered if they should make two types of tags and spots, one for the non-wheelchair group, and one limited to the wheelchair group who require space to download their wheelchairs?
    2) Bridal shower costs: Originally bridal showers were given by friends with simple finger foods, drinks, and simple presents. Unfortunately from what I read, bridezilla’s have begun to take over the shower as part of their main event and insist that their bridesmaids follow their demands of expensive locations and meals. It would seem simple to say “that’s not in my budget as I’m a student,” but I’ve read the bridesmaids get screamed at or dropped from the bridal parties. I truly don’t know how to handle the demands, other than quietly stating what your budget is, and you will understand if they want to drop you, and smile quietly if you are dropped.
    3) save the date/added cost: I agree that all parts of the invitation (save the date, formal invite) should include the basics of the plan, including that there will be a cost involved. It can be awkward to give a basic acceptance, then a declination when the rules change. Personally I feel that when the rules change, one is absolutely free to change their original plans to attend.

    • There are two types of spaces: Ones with accessibility lanes (extra-large spaces with a striped area for the van’s lift) and regular accessible spaces that are the same size, just close to the entrance.

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