21 Comments

  1. Linda

    Please, if you would, answer my query?
    I recently was invited to a family members house to spend the weekend. The family member is retired. I work all week rising 4:30 am and going to bed around 9:30pm. On the weekend we had a dispute. The family member said that just because they had invited me to stay didn’t mean they couldn’t stay up and cook till midnight and bang pots, wash dishes etc. My feeling was you can do this anytime. You have no job and there are only 2 of us here you and, you are not preparing for additional guests.
    ( I, try to stick to a fairly reasonable schedule on the weekends 8 am to 10:30pm because of my workday schedule). Am I wrong in expecting a reasonable hour of quiet or does family have the option of doing whatever they want because your are related?
    When you invite family to stay, and your are privy to their schedule in advance of the invitation, is this proper behavior? Thank you for your time.

    • Alicia

      No your behavior is not proper. The host can go about their own schedule as they see fit. For you to demand that they change their schedule to fit yours was an unreasonable guest behavior and you should apologize.

  2. Karen

    I respectfully disagree. A good host makes reasonable accommodations for his/her guests. For a guest to expect library-level quiet from 7pm-4am would be asking a bit much of the hosts, but for a guest to expect that the hosts would at least attempt to keep noises down from 10:30pm-8:30am isn’t unreasonable at all, especially if (as it sounds here) the hosts had alternatives for when to do the noisy activities. And, regardless of the circumstances, “I can do whatever I want because we’re related” is absolutely unacceptable from either direction.

    • Andra

      I couldn’t help but wonder reading your question whether you were sleeping in the kitchen. That said, I think this is one of those ‘somewhere in the middle’ answers. It is absolutely acceptable for you to make a polite request to your family member to keep it down. This would go something along the lines of “Hey sis, I know you’re making stew for next weekend, but is there any chance you might be able to be a little bit quieter in the process? The noise of the pots banging keeps waking me up.” Etiquette would then say that your family member would hopefully accommodate your request to the best of their ability (while not horribly inconveniencing themselves). I would say in general, as a guest, I shift to my host’s schedule. As a host, I do my best to accommodate my guests’ needs/preferences.

  3. SS

    I’d like some advice on use of foreign language at work. At my work I have 2 Hispanic co-workers. While they perform their job very well, they chat in Spanish every day, both in private and out in public(in front of clients.)

    The clients come in very diverse ethnicity, and I know that some of non-Hispanic clients give dirty looks when they see my co-workers chatting and laughing loudly in Spanish. These co-workers not only chat everything from their boyfriends’ suspicious behavior to their babies throwing up on them in loud manner, but also talk Spanish directly to Spanish clients. Most of them speak English just fine, but they will also chat loudly in Spanish, whether there is anyone else in the room or not because my co-workers start in Spanish.

    My boss, however, does not seem to notice this. Being quite successful and reputable in his field, I think he should take notice of this and do something but he is “too nice” to take such action. I think it is only a matter of time some client eventually gets fed up with this and leave a bad review on those business review portals.

    As mentioned above, this not only make some clients uncomfortable but also makes me feel excluded. I myself speak 3 languages in native levels and enjoy the advantages that gives, I believe such ability should be only used when a worker is asked to translate/interpret.

    In conclusion, I am not asking for anyone agreeing with me or disagree. But could I please get a nicest way to bring this up, or get an etiquette book that has specific mentioning for this matter.

    Thank you for your time in advance.

    • Jody

      My thoughts are that it’s something your supervisor or HR should mention. Does your workplace have an employee manual that references this subject? If so that’s an easy way for HR to bring up the subject. If not, maybe you can suggest something to HR — saying that you’re concerned about the impression it gives and that you’ve seen clients aren’t happy. Make it clear that you’re not talking about cases where the foreign language is needed (for example, when a client can’t speak English) or private conversations outside the workplace (like in a break room).

      • SS

        Thank you for your suggestion but unfortunately, this is a small business environment, so the boss is the owner and no HR. We had(and the .doc file is nowhere to be found) employee manual but it did not mention such thing when I was hired years ago. It also happens that my line of work

        That was why I asked about if there is a book that mentions about this kind of situation. Being in a small(well, boss, 2 Hispanic girls and myself) environment, I fear that mentioning this directly may be overheard or result in bullying. It may sound like cowardly gesture than mentioning this to a person, but if there is one I am thinking about giving the book to the boss as a gift on his birthday or something.

        Anyone in similar problem? I surely can’t just be me.

        • When I used ASL in front of people who do not know it, someone pointed out to me that I was being rude. And he was right! Since this has been brought to my attention, I try to remember to voice while signing, so that people who do not know ASL can follow the conversation.

          My advice is to simply bring it up to them in a nice way. You aren’t unhappy that they speak Spanish with each other; rather, you’d prefer they speak English when dealing with clients so that everyone feels comfortable – after all, customer service comes first. (Is Spanish one of your languages? If not, then kindly tell them you feel excluded. It is the truth, and there’s nothing wrong with stating it. Otherwise, one could argue they are creating a hostile work environment.)

  4. Tonya

    Our wedding is to be held on a Friday evening at 6:00. Following the ceremony, which will be kept to about 30 minutes long, the guests will go to another area around a pool. We are using bottles of lemonade as escort cards which will be there to sip and mill around. This will probably last 45 minutes or so, we plan to eat by 7:15-7:30. Do we need to have hors d’oeuvres at this point? I know people will be hungry after a day at work, however, there aren’t tables at the pool and the guests will be carrying around glass bottles. They won’t really have enough hands for everything. In addition, our caterer doesn’t provide hors d’oeuvres so we would need to do them ourselves and find someone to set them up. Is it rude to forgo the hors d’oeuvres for the sake of convenience and budget?

    • Elizabeth

      Why have the 45 minute break? Why not just go straight to dinner? If it’s because of photographs, you can take photos before the ceremony, and then you won’t have to make your guests wait.

    • Alicia

      Not rude persay but really a few muchies in a bowl would be really welcome. Likely to get to a 6pm friday wedding they went into work early and then worked through lunch in order to attend. They will be ravenous. A bowl of pretzels at a few cubes of cheese would be be beyond nice at 6:30.

      • Andra

        I don’t know that it is rude, but it would be kind and potentially in your best interest to provide some sort of hors d’oeuvres.

        1) For all those people who are not intimately familiar with other guests, 45 minutes is a painfully long time to mill with a bottle of lemonade and nowhere to go and nothing to do. Providing appetizers give some minor conversation starter and a distraction.
        2) If you will be providing alcoholic beverages during this 45 minute window, you are setting up the serious potential of your guests being intoxicated before they start the dinner as they mill with only alcohol available on empty stomachs.

  5. Heidi

    Hello. I could really use some guidance on this issue:
    Every year I have a party around this time – I try to invite a limited amount of people because I don’t have a huge amount of entertaining space, and because I want everyone to be able to sit at the same dinner table and have conversation. Every year I invite my friend Steve and he always brings his girlfriend without asking me if a +1 is ok.

    Steve and I have been friends for 13 years. He’s been dating his girlfriend for somewhere around 8 years. I have tried and tried to be friends with her but whenever I try to talk to her, she gives me one word responses. She’s been to a large number of other gatherings I’ve had over the years including trips to a beach house I rent among other things. She always gives me the bare minimum “thank you” at the end but the fact that she doesn’t return my efforts to be her friend have gotten on my last nerve.

    This year I invited Steve again to a party and I have made no mention as I did in previous years of inviting his girlfriend. He RSVP’ed late with a note saying “Yes, my GF and I will be there. Sorry for the late notice.”

    Is there any nice way of saying “sorry, I don’t want her to come?” without ruining our friendship?

    • Alicia

      Well this is his long term girlfriend. They are a social unit. You really should not be inviting Steve without also inviting his girlfriend. In future you should invite both of them or neither of them.

    • Andra

      I have to agree with Alicia on this one. If they are part of a long term couple, inviting half of a couple to a couple-oriented event is, frankly, rude. Obviously, this would be different if it were a one-on-one or a guy’s only event. Also, if you haven’t addressed Steve bringing his GF before, you may completely catch him off guard.

      Is GF like this to everyone, or just to you? As a way of protecting your friendship, I might approach Steve and inquire about his GF, especially if you can do it in the spirit of trying to develop your relationship with her.

  6. Lady Anonymous

    Hello, everyone! I have a slightly awkward question – what is the RIGHT way to ‘social climb?’ Right now I am a preschool teacher, but I plan on making a complete career change, and would like to already have connections with the ‘right’ people to help ensure my success. I do not want to ‘claw’ my way to the top, leaving behind a bloody trail of ruined relationships and drama. Instead, I simply want to make good, meaningful relationships and acquaintances with sincere, decent upper class people, and hopefully meet someone to marry from this group. I do not want or need fame, power, or prestige, but I would definitely not complain about living in a Fifth Avenue penthouse with a loving husband, beautiful children, and an exciting career. In other words, I want to do it politely, which is why I ask the etiquette masters. How should I go about it, or is this all a bad idea? Thank you in advance, and have a lovely day!

    • Alicia

      One can do so with grace. To switch social circles of any type. Simply attend functions where one may meet those one wishes to meet. Then when one meets someone one wishes to increase acquaintanceship with then you further the connection by inviting them to social occasions. Slowly you become part of an additional social circle.
      One is never unkind to those from the previous circle and does not take advantage of friendships but instead build a base of friendships. This is true is one is becoming part of a social circle in a new town or a new activity or in a different demographic.
      As far as a more exciting career one gets a good education and then networks on a professional level

    • Have you considered volunteer work? I have met everyone from Congress people to NFL football players by volunteer work. Others tend to form favorable first impressions when they see a person who gives of her time.

      Museum openings, art gallery events and wine tastings also help.

      • Lady Anonymous

        Thank you, both of you! I really appreciate your input. I do volunteer work already at galas and will soon be volunteering at a hospital. What organizations or events do you volunteer at, JustLaura, if you don’t mind me asking? Thank you again!

        • Different ones, depending on my current residence. :)

          When I lived in New Jersey, I volunteered time at the Montclair Historical Society (the former baseball great Yogi Berra lives there, as does comedian Stephen Colbert), and worked as an appraiser an art and antiques gallery. The parties were great! In Florida, I was a curator in several museums (so was invited to museum exhibition openings by default), and interned at a historic house museum run by the Colonial Dames Society (an event at this place is where I met the NFL player). If ever you wanted to meet a group of ladies all directly related to our Founding Fathers, I suggest volunteering your time at one of their facilities. These days, in Oklahoma, I have volunteered at the local no-kill humane society, and at a thrift shop whose donations benefit locals dealing with hardship. On Saturdays, I volunteer my time handling ADA Compliance for the university’s home football games. I’m on the field with T. Boone Pickens and Kevin Durant on a regular basis, but they haven’t said anything to me yet, so I don’t recommend football games as a way to meet influential people. ;)

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