1. polite punk

    I am a consultant at a small office and we had recently hired another consultant on a probationary period. For various reasons, it didn’t work out with the other consultant. However, we spent quite a bit of time working together as well as chatting during lunch and I genuinely like her as a person. I didn’t get to say goodbye to her before she packed up her desk. Is it appropriate to send an email to her personal email address saying I enjoyed getting to know her and I hope we stay in touch? I asked a friend and she said it was too soon and would be awkward. Thoughts?

    • Jerry

      Polite Punk: If you’ve developed a friendship with this woman, there’s nothing wrong with you from reaching out to her.

    • Elizabeth

      I think if you’ve had even one good conversation with her or one lunch, it’s both a potential friendship and good networking, and so it would not be at all awkward to drop her an email. The email you describe sounds extremely non-aggressive and puts the ball squarely in her court. Go for it!

  2. Elizabeth

    Quick dining etiquette question:

    My husband and I were at a busy buzzing breakfast place today. My husband is the kind of guy who really guzzles beverages, and as an iced tea drinker will usually consume around 4 glasses of the stuff over the course of a meal. The place we were at had smaller than normal glasses and had a fair amount of ice in them, so it didn’t surprise me that they went quickly. When he asked for his second or so refill, the waitress actually brought him two glasses. On one hand, I thought – well, that’s efficient. But on the other, it sort of seemed to imply … I don’t know, that he was consuming outside the norm, or that his demand was much more than the waitress was used to. I thought it was weird. He, of course, did not complain. I didn’t mention it either, and left a generous tip as the service was quite good.

    What do you think about a waitress bringing two glasses at once?

    • Jerry

      You were there, I was not. But it sounds like the waitress knew that your husband was going to go through quite a few glasses of iced tea, knew that the glasses were small and didn’t hold a lot of tea, and wanted to make sure he was comfortable on a busy day where she might not be able to give him the attention she would have liked. Of course, it is also possible she was being passive aggressive; however, given that the service was good, I’m inclined to believe that she was just trying to make sure that he was comfortable.

    • Country Girl

      I agree with Jerry, when I was server and we were busy I would do the same. If we were really busy sometimes even leave pitchers of ice tea/pop/water at tables. Customers always seemed to appreciate not having to wait. When a waiter is rushing around trying to get people their food on time it is very easy to overlook beverage refills.

      As a customer, to avoid the passive aggressive “hint” you and Jerry describe, if you notice a restaurant is really busy it is thoughtful for a table to order as many anticipatory refills/extras at the same time as possible. I can’t tell you how many times on a busy day a table would order a refill and when I’d bring it then s0meone else would need a refill, I’d bring that and then someone would decide they wanted an extra side of dressing, then an extra utensil or napkin, and so on. Other customers would be robbed speedier service because I’d have to spend 20 minutes back and forthing on something that could have taken one trip.

      So unless you were “that” table, I think it is safe to assume the waitress was just being proactive, not reactive. =)

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks Jerry and CG for your feedback.

        I do think that the waitress was not being passive-aggressive and was rather trying to satisfy my husband’s requests while also being efficient. Perhaps my question really is: should a waitress do this? At higher-end places, this would clearly be a no-no. But at a more casual place, surely no one would ever complain (I didn’t!). I like the idea of bringing a carafe or pitcher instead of two glasses better. I’m having trouble articulating why it seemed weird to me. I guess it has to do with one, implying that the customer’s consumption is somehow out of the norm and second, it seems to signify that the waitress can’t keep up with the normal flow of demands. I guess I don’t really want either of those things brought to my attention. But I agree that there’s a difference if you’re dining at a casual breakfast place (which we were) and some high-end place where you’re not only paying for the food but for the whole experience including really great service.

        I realize it sounds like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. I will just have to file this one under “things I’ll try not to do if I ever work as a waitress.”

        • My parents would be the type of people who would be thrilled if the waitress left a pitcher of iced tea at the table. My father would think he’d won the lottery. They are super laid back (too much so for me, at times). 😉
          However, I have other friends who are not quite as laid back, and would be offended if left with a pitcher or two glasses of water/tea/coke. They would feel that the waitress was purposefully letting them know how much of an inconvenience they were.

          You were at a diner, so I support what the waitress did. Had you been at a nice dinner, I’d be caught off-guard by this.
          On the other hand, two glasses is better than no glasses. The other night, we were out at an Olive Garden with the m-i-l (not my favorite place), and my husband had to get up and hunt down our waitress to get just one refill of water. This was 30 minutes into the meal. Another waiter took pity on us and brought us more water. I know he’d rather have had two glasses sitting in front of him instead of a forlorn empty one.

  3. feeling like junior high

    I have a tricky friendship question. A couple of years ago, when our children were small (I have a boy, she has a girl) a former co-worker and I were in the habit of having weekly playdates with our children. They enjoyed them, we laughed, and you could say that it made our workplace camaraderie more of a friendship.

    Once my oldest started kindergarten, the playdates fell to the wayside, I became a stay-at-home mother, and the friendship sort of faded out. I was not active in pursuing the friendship, and in NOT doing so, she made her displeasure known. That sort of cemented my desire to not have her as an integral part of my life.

    Last year, I got a text message asking if she had done something to offend me. I replied that she hadn’t, life had just gotten busy, and I hoped she was well. (Just to clarify, we are both in our early forties). She then replied with a gossipy rejoinder, “I heard you were…”, which I ignored.

    Just the other day, I received a holiday card. It was generic and simply read, “Dear ___and Family, (printed message) (a drawn heart), The ___s”.

    Considering that this is not a friendship that I am interesting in rekindling, how do I go about responding? Send one of our photo cards? A more impersonal “winter scene” sort of card with a “Warm regards,” type message? Send nothing?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

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