Open Thread

by epi on November 9, 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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie November 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I just moved to a new town and met a few girls through my Pilates class. We had dinner the other night and really clicked. They are throwing a wine and cheese party and invited me. I don’t drink wine; is it appropriate for me to bring my own nonalcoholic beverage, like a sparkling cider?

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Alicia November 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Talk to the organizer. Tell her that “I’m really not a wine drinker but I love cheese and I would love to hang out with you ladies. Do you mind if I bring some sparkling cider instead of wine?” Any reasonably nice hostess with say certainly and encourage you to do so. However it is awkward as a hostess to realize at the last minute that a friend does not eat or drink a major menu item when a few simple steps would have prevented the awkwardness. So tell your new friends exactly what you wan and 99.9999% sure they will be thrilled.

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Jody November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Alicia’s solution is perfect. I don’t drink alcohol and usually bring my own beverage (or offer to bring it) to such parties. Not once has the host acted put out because I offered and is appreciative of my offer. You might find that others in the group would prefer the sparkling cider, once they see it.

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Jerry November 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm

At most parties (at least at parties where the host was not born in a barn) there are non-alcoholic options. I absolutely would not offer to bring a bottle of your own non-alcoholic beverage as it will seem high maintenance. (Picture it — you not only refuse to drink whatever the host offers, but you need to bring your own special beverage? Doesn’t look good.) Show up, enjoy the company, and enjoy whatever non-alcoholic options are available. Then, when it’s your turn to host, you can throw whatever party you want.

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Just Laura November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Well, I’d rather have her bring something similar to what everyone else is having than do what one lady did at my house recently. I had a selection of libations, as well as unleaded options such as unsweetened tea, cokes and seltzer water. This woman wanted nothing that I had, and instead filled up her own water bottle at the tap (yes, I’d offered water from our filtration system). Since everyone else was using my glassware, that felt a little awkward.

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Jerry November 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

ROTFL. I guess there are all kinds of ways to be an awkward guest!

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Meredith November 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Many people prefer not to imbibe for a plethora of reasons. I feel it would be remiss of the host to not provide a non-alcoholic option. However, if you want to be sure, why not bring a bottle as a hostess gift?

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Meredith November 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm

What would be the proper response for this senario?

I RSVP’ed that I would attend a bridal shower; a few days before it was scheduled the shower was canceled because the host’s home was battered by Hurricane Sandy. With power restored and improvements under way, the shower has been rescheduled. However, the new date falls on the same day as the open house for a college I am considering. I have already RSVP’ed to the open house, not knowing when the shower would be rescheduled. My question is, which RSVP should I honor?

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Zakafury November 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm

You can decline the new date for the shower if it doesn’t work for you. If there is an alternative day of open house, you can swap that without offending anyone at the college, I’m sure.

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Jerry November 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Ordinarily I stay away from shower questions. But there is nothing more important than your future. Moreover, you RSVPed to the college first. (Yes, I know you RSVPed to the shower, but that RSVP went away when the shower was canceled.)

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Dorothy November 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Assuming the two are at the same time, and the bride is a relative (or soon to be), I think you should go to the shower.
You can tour the college another time.
The bride (hopefully) has this one day and it almost didn’t happen.
There will probably be other ‘no-shows’ due to Sandy, so it’s good you go.

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Karen November 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

If it were a reschedule of the actual wedding, I would consider contacting the college and asking if you could arrange a tour or a meeting with an admissions rep instead of attending the open house. But for a shower? Go to the college event, and send the shower gift with your regrets. The college you end up attending will offer you academic and professional opportunities even after you graduate, and, not for nothing, will be a major financial investment as well as an intellectual one. Do you really want to give up an opportunity to learn more about the school just to spend a few hours watching someone open registry gifts?

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Alicia November 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

Go to the college event you RSVPed to that first. the rescheduling means that you no longer are obligated to the shower. Send your regrets and your present to the shower and then a day or so later call the bride and ask her about the shower and let her gush to you for a while.

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Meredith November 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I’d like to start by apologizing for an important omission in my first post. I meant to reassure the readers that while the host’s home was battered and sustained damage, no one was hurt in the storm. These things are the most important, and I meant to say it in the original post but somehow I overlooked it.
Thank you for all the thoughtful replies. I have decided to attend the college open house rather than the bridal shower. My boyfriend was successful in his efforts to have the day off from work so he could accompany me, and I think it would be rude to reward his efforts by attending the wedding shower. I will be sending a lovely gift and a note with my congratulations.
Thank you for all who responded and helped me make this important decision.

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Pat November 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm

What would you think if while visiting with close relatives in their home, they went about preparing dinner and then sat down to eat it in front of you without offering you any? What if while they were preparing dinner you were really not just visiting but actually busy in the same room doing some chores for them and because you had assumed you would be included in dinner, when you saw them about to eat, you asked “None for me?” and the response you were met with was “No, there’s only enough for two!” What would you think? How would you handle this?

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Just Laura November 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I think I’d go back to my home, as they made it obvious that my company was no longer welcome.

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Alicia November 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

How long had you been visiting? It seems to me two possibilities exist either you had been a welcome guest for a while but had clearly long overstayed your welcome and this was a passive aggressive way to try and get you to leave. Or second possibility you were fine and they were rude and clueless in which case more structured visits may be better for the future.

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