Open Thread

by epi on November 5, 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.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie November 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

When being dropped off at the door of a business or under the awning of say, a church building, how should you navigate to the entrance if it happens to only be on the driver’s side? Go around the front of the vehicle, around the back, or stand still till the vehicle moves out of the way? My husband gets irritated if I go around the front (my husband has an extended cab truck) he’d rather me either wait till he moves, or go around the back (which is a much longer distance for me to walk and looks silly to me to take the long way around, especially when I am in heels or dressed up.)

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Elizabeth November 5, 2012 at 9:08 am

You should go around the front because its a safety issue. When you go in front, he can make sure that his car does not move and hit you. When you go around the back, the person behind you may not realize you’re there. This is why school buses have those stop signs on the side and they make cars stop while unloading – in case a child has to cross the road.

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Joanna November 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Agreed. We actually had a tragedy in my community a few years ago, where a young woman was being dropped off at the door of a nightclub. It was dark, and I do believe some alcohol was involved, but the woman had bent behind the car to pick up something she had dropped. The driver didn’t see her and ended up killing her.

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Jerry November 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

This is an etiquette issue for me, not a safety issue. And etiquette generally dictates that the person in the stronger position (here, the person in the truck because he is more comfortable and in the position of power) yield to the wishes of the weaker person (the person outside of the truck and more vulnerable). So if you want to walk around the front of the truck, he should let you. (Actually, he should turn around so that your door is facing the entrance, but that’s another issue.)

Funny, that I’ve always felt safer going around the back of the car because I know there is no way that the driver could accidentally hit the gas and plow into me.

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Dana November 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I coordinate a weekly dinner party for a group of friends – ranging in age from 28 to 62 with some of us being male, female, single, and coupled.
I have a male friend who has recently started dating a woman and bringing her to our weekly dinners. The problem is that she doesn’t fit into our group and even outside of our dinner parties she isn’t a likeable individual.
How do we go about letting him know that she isn’t welcome at our weekly dinners since no one enjoys her company and we prefer she not attend?
Is there a tactful way to do this?

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Winifred Rosenburg November 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

This gentleman has established that he considers this lady and himself to be a social unit. Therefore you cannot invite one without the other. There is no polite way to tell him he is invited but she isn’t.

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Ben Bosley November 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Hello Lizzie,

I’m interested in your thoughts on “virtual” manners when using social media. If I met someone in person and then later send him or her an email suggesting that we get together for coffee and that person never responds, is that improper etiquette? Thanks in advance for your response.

Sincerely,
Ben Bosley

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Chocobo November 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Dear Ben,

To tell the truth, there is no such thing as “virtual manners.” That would imply that there is a second set of manners that is different from real life. To be sure, there is only the same old manners applied to new situations and technologies. So the rule remains that an invitation requires a response, usually in the same form that it was given. Once upon a time, these were written invitations on paper, with written responses. Now more casual invitations may be properly sent through the phone or email. And they still require an answer.

However, since the frequency of checking one’s email or Facebook can vary from person to person, I might try a phone call to follow up on the invitation. If the response is still silence, unfortunately it carries the same connotation silence always has: No.

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Jerry November 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

Dear Ben: I (and I suspect many others) knew what you meant when you wrote “‘virtual’ manners” (as opposed to “virtual manners,” which is an entirely different thing). Notwithstanding the snark, Chocobo is correct in part — some people check their e-mail more frequently than others. You can assume that a professional will check his e-mail many times a day; a retiree, not so much.

I’d wait a few days, then try another e-mail. If the person still doesn’t respond, then yes, she’s rude. But there’s not much you can do about it.

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L. Smith November 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

Hello all!
I have a quick question that has bothered me very much as I have become more social. I understand that it is generally accepted that many people I deal with like to smoke, both cigarettes and marijuana, and drink (in some cases, underaged). However, it is illegal still in my state. What is a polite way to divert invitations… and also politely keep these people from my events? I unfortunately must work and go to school with them, but they seem to have become too comfortable in telling me what they insist they must do at parties. I guess they take my silence for approval, but I do not wish them to be in my house! I have a feeling no matter what I ask, even specific, that they will disrespect my home if they are invited to it.

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Just Laura November 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm

In your home, you make the rules. Inside my house, I do not allow smoking of any sort (hookah, cigar, pot, etc), and no illegal smoking is allowed on my property. I’m not passing judgement on their lifestyle – they are welcome to do whatever they please anywhere that isn’t mine. As for underaged drinking, I treat that the same as other illegal activities – I don’t want to be held legally responsible for the choices of another (and as homeowner, you could be held responsible). If your friends want to put you in that uncomfortable moral and legal position, you might want to ask yourself if they are really your friends.
Lay down your rules. Don’t assume they won’t respect them. Your friends may actually prefer your hospitality over their recreational activities, and won’t cause any problems.

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Joanna November 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I absolutely agree! It’s YOUR home, YOU make the rules! If they have company at their house, they get to set the rules. It’s really that simple.

Bottom line, you should never be made to feel uncomfortable in your own home.

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Brockwest November 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

1)For dropping off someone, it makes sense to make it as comfortable as possible for the person being dropped off. That being said, it is unsafe to walk behind an operating vehicle for any reason. It is easy and common for people to accidentally reverse. It makes logical sense to cross in front of the vehicle for safety.
2) For those in social gatherings where one has added a significant other, one has to accept them as a unit,then decide if you wish to invite that unit or not. It does make it difficult if there are a standard 6 who used to get together and now there are seven, but even then, I would invite those you wish to be with…perhaps on a different day or week-end than your previously met, so it’s not so obvious a slap. Life is too short to have to put up with someone who makes outtings unhappy.
3) Virtual manners: I do believe there is a special set of rules involving virtual manners.Whereas I would always respond to someone in person who addressed me at a party, I might well ignore an unwelcome e-mail or blog statement. E-mails do not “require” answers. If someone doesn’t answer their e-mail they might not wish to answer, the e-mail may have gone to spam, they might not check it frequently. If it is important to you, pretend you didn’t send the e-mail and phone. If you get no response to a phone message, then it’s time to move on.
4) Home drugs: I’ve tried both approaches and with the new Dram Shop laws, where the homeowner is held liable if the druggie or alcoholic gets into an accident, I now don’t allow drugs or illegal drinking in my home. I’ve found it surprisingly accepted to tell people that smoking must be done outside. I tell underage drinkers that I will pour out any alcohol of underage drinkers…and I do.
It’s not hard for underage drinkers to move their drinks to Pepsi cans, but then you are not “aware” of the alcohol and therefore are not responsible for it.
That being said, I’ve found that even trying to ignore the Pepsi cans that don’t contain Pepsi results in home damage, so I think it is a good idea to tell people no. Yes, you may get the reputation as not a fun party house, but then you will be safer, you home contents will be safer, and your guests will be safer.

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