Open Thread

by epi on February 21, 2013

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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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen February 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm

My mother-in-law lives in Costa Rica. When she visits us, which is pretty rare, she always wants to borrow a vehicle from us. Which up to this point we have always had a 3rd car for her. We are selling it soon however. I work from home but when I’m not working, I’m running my kids non stop. Years ago, when she visited, I was working from home, my kids were much younger, and we had a brand new luxury vehicle that we had worked hard for. I really didn’t want to let her borrow it, but she is quite forceful and later asked me why I was so reluctant to loan it to her. I was a newlywed, and simply said oh well its new that’s all. But here I am 15 years later, and worrying about what to say when she visits and wants to borrow a car! ( I should also add that she drives horribly!!) I don’t think the hostess should be responsible for transportation! Am I wrong??

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Elizabeth February 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Your husband should let her know that she should plan to rent a vehicle during her next visit, because you will no longer have a spare for her to borrow. When she asks, “But why can’t I just use yours????” You (or he) can respond, “I’m afraid that won’t be possible. I will need to have the use of it.”

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Winifred Rosenburg February 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

If you’re like most people, your car insurance only covers you if you or your husband is driving. If your mother-in-law borrowed the car and got into an accident, your insurance would not pay for any damages. I suggest telling her that.

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Jen February 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

My long time boyfriend and I have visited and hosted his parents a few times. At first they seemed great, but my (possible) future mother in-law has a certain outlook and behavior regarding our money that I’m not very fond of. She often expects us to pay for things, and not just little things. She seems to push it off by saying my boyfriend makes a decent salary and can afford it. And well we both make an okay income, we are very thrifty, while she, on the other hand, has weekly manicures, facials, massages, goes out for drinks a lot and so on. Most recently, she has been reminding us over and over that we owe her a cruise (apparently my boyfriend offered to send them on this for an anniversary they had years ago before we met). Now they are mentioning they would like a balcony room only as well (which increases the cost significantly for us). I understand this was promised before we met so I don’t have a say, but I would like some advice on how to deal with her outlook towards spending our money. I just don’t want to upset her permanently.
On a side note, she makes it a point to keep in contact with his ex-girlfriend whom both of us have agreed to keep out of our lives (we don’t do the ex thing). She is a very friendly person, but I find this a bit strange as well. Thank you for any help, ideas or suggestions.

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Alicia February 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm

This is your boyfriends money and your boyfriends mom. If he is bothered by this mooching as well he has to be the one to say no. If he is unwilling to say no or says yes all the time then you should understand that this is a red flag and a warning and be glad it happened when you were dating not married. But it is his money and his mom he has to say yes or no.

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Sandy February 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

How can I respond when an acquaintance asks me what my husband does for a living? I say he is in management but then some people continue to pry and ask what company he works. I don’t feel comfortable answering this, as we live in a small city where everyone knows everyone and there is a ton of gossip and competitiveness. I know that some people ask this question as they are sizing up my situation to compare to their own as many people gossip about the income of everyone’s profession. And the last person that asked me this question was speaking about her finances right before asking me this, and I wasn’t showing any interest. I never ask what someone’s husband/partner does for a living, as I figure I will find out when I get to know them well enough, they will tell me. I don’t think it is anyone’s business if I don’t know them! Please help, I am sick of answering this question. This is our business and we don’t need half of the cities strangers knowing where my husband works! How can I respond to this annoying question? Being vague doesn’t seem to work, some people continue pressing with further questions.

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Elizabeth February 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Perhaps when they ask, they are simply trying to get to know you?? I can understand your desire to avoid the drama that comes along with competitive people, but by withholding a very basic piece of information – where your husband works – you are likely coming across as secretive and odd. That’s why they keep pressing – because they can’t imagine why you wouldn’t divulge such a basic thing. I also think you are missing a possible benefit of sharing that information – which is networking, either for you or on behalf of your husband. What if the acquaintance replied, “oh, my husband works there too!” Or, “I work at Company B, and we do similar things. We are actually hiring for a position your husband might be interested in….”

I agree that details like salary should not be discussed, and I support your efforts to avoid those types of conversations. But what someone does for a living and where someone works is pretty basic information about them. It’s the place where they spend most of their waking hours, and tends to be a pretty huge part of their identity. I’m not sure what you think could happen if people know where your husband works…

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