Open Thread

by epi on February 14, 2013

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.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina February 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Hi Friends,

I have a strange problem–please help! About two years ago, my office hired a new employee. She has an unusual name, but from the spelling it looks like it should rhyme with a common name, so that’s how her boss introduced her to us all and that is how we all pronounce her name. Yesterday, I was chatting with a friend that happened to know my colleague through her family, and she told me how her name is *really* pronounced. We weren’t even close.

I know that my colleague is shy and probably didn’t want to call attention to herself by corrected our pronunciation, but I still feel terrible–I’ve been essentially calling her the wrong name for 2 years! Should I apologize? Switch to the correct pronunciation and not mention it? This is not someone I know very very well, but we like to chat and have socialized outside of work a few times.



Alicia February 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I would not switch pronounciations unless you verify with your coworker first. Maybe you are right and your friend is wrong


Winifred Rosenburg February 14, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I would ask her if I’m saying her name right. Some foreign names have multiple pronunciations so you might both be right, but it’s worth asking. If it turns out you’ve been saying it wrong, it doesn’t hurt to say “sorry.”


Country Girl February 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I agree, it’s worth asking instead of assuming you’ve been saying it incorrectly. I’ve had a couple coworkers and friends even who had foreign names, but professionally chose to go by a more American-sounding pronunciation. Reasons varied from avoiding confusion & constantly correcting mispronunciations/blending in/upholding a particular image/etc. One of these coworkers even told me that it was a little unsettling to her when I pronounced her name correctly, as she was used to being addressed that way exclusively by her closest friends and family.


Brian February 16, 2013 at 12:40 am

I’m certainly glad I found this site. I’m a young man born with a lot of old fashion values and I often find it uncomfortable and awkward when I don’t know the manners for a particular situation. Here is my dilemma, my wife (we) will be having a baby on Monday, and I am unsure as to what the protocol is for letting my coworkers know. They know I have the week off for the occasion, but I don’t know whether I should call work and share the good news, or wait till I get back. I also don’t know what I should do when I get back, do just return to work and share pictures when asked, do I give out chocolate or bubblegum cigars to everyone in my department, or just certain people? What is the best etiquette for this situation?


Alicia February 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

A group email stating that the kid was born , name, weight and that everyone is healthy would be lovely the day the kid is born. Congrats by the way. Cigars of any type chocolate tobacco bubblegum are alkward in general and particularly at work. Skip those. Have pictures ready to show of the adorable kid as coworkers are likely to ask and really all that a coworkers wants is to see cute baby picture and to know everyone is healthy.


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