Open Thread

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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.


  1. Shubha

    I’d like to know how to deal with this situation:
    I am good friends with two colleagues for the last 4 years, let me call them A & B.
    Whenever we have a causal chat or conversation, A always makes eye contact only with B, completely ignoring me.
    But, if I initiate conversation, I do get her (A) response and she does look at me and talk well.
    So, there seems to be no problem otherwise.
    B is cordial with both of us. B and I work together, while A does not work with either of us.
    In the absence of B, A does talk to me very well.
    I tried ignoring this when the three of us meet (which is almost always), but, I just think it’s rude to completely ignore eye contact with a person in a group.
    What do I do?


  2. Vanna Keiler

    Hi Shubha. I am glad you are getting along well with co-worker B, and you are in fact friends. That is very important and I imagine adds to your work satisfaction.

    However, it seems “A” does not actually do well when you, A & B are together in a group. If “A” is not really friends with “B”, but goes along because you are mutual friends to both, it seems she does not want to be part of your bigger circle after all (including you, A and B). Why not just meet with her separately (e.g. for lunch, breaks) and alternate between her and B in doing so? I’m guessing her behavior is a subtle, yet unproductive way of telling you she does not really want to be in a circle of three friends. However, there may certainly be more to this situation than meets the eye, and of course, some people may tell you to just approach her about this, which is certainly another option.

    • Shubha

      Hello Vanna Keiler,
      Yes, I have tried doing so – meeting A & B separately, and it works in that case.
      Thank You for your response.

  3. Karen

    our 37 year old nephew(never been married)-just got engaged-we never heard from him about this news-we learned it when his mother sent an email to all of her friends, and included the only 4 aunts he has on the email – with a photo of the ring-just saying “here it is-the ring” – and in the body- “he’s engaged” – I am disappointed to get important family news from his mother, in an email, and at the same time as all her friends! It has been 3 days no one has called the aunts with this great news- not the groom nor his father who is the brother of the aunts! How should we handle this? I refuse to acknowledge the engagement based on the tacty email with a photo of the ring-lowering the importance of family to be grouped with a bunch of friends getting the news.

    • Alicia

      How often do you speak to your nephew normally? Do the two of you speak regularly? There is no requirement to make a formal announcement of engagement to an aunt you are not close to. You have heard about the engagement. The responsibility goes to you you should call your nephew and say congrats and how happy you are for him and his bride to be.
      Sounds like you are not so close to nephew but that you wish you were so reach out and get closer.
      He has not done anything rude. Nor have his parents.

  4. Jen

    I have a wedding invitation question!

    I am trying to figure out how to phrase my wedding invitation. My parents are married, are both doctors and have different last names. Emily Post’s wedding book states to write out the word “Doctor”- the problem that I have is that Doctor Samantha Smithson and Doctor James Jeffries does not fit on one line (for the top line of a formal wedding invitation).

    My question is: is it acceptable to write “Doctors Samantha Smithson and James Jeffries…” if not, am I allowed to abbreviate Doctor to Dr.? I don’t think this would be acceptable on a formal invitation…

    Please let me know what you think! Thank you for your help!

    • Oh that’s a fun question! A brief perusal of my sources didn’t find any examples of the joint Doctors wording you mention, but it seems to FIT the spirit of the law: if married doctors with the same surname are the “Doctors Sasha and Jack Jeffries”, as oppposed to the unmarried “Doctor Sarah Singleton and Doctor John Johnson”, AND as opposed to the brother-sister “Doctor Suzy Smith and Doctor Jordan Smith” (which would be wrong to write as the “Doctors Suzy and Jordan Smith”) then it seems you may have created the perfect wording that indicates both that they are doctors, by the plural, and that they are married, by the “and” and use of only one title. In essence, you are simply filling out the wife slot from just her first name to include her surname. I like it. And I think it’s preferable to committing the definite error of abbreviating Doctor to Dr. But if I find something that challenges this, I’ll write back. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  5. Uninvited

    I recently received an email blast from a bride and groom regarding their upcoming wedding. My wife and I have been friends of theirs for a few years, mainly in social settings. I have been involved in the bachelor party plans. However, my wife and I did not expect an invitation to the rehearsal dinner. This email blast, however, went to everyone invited to the wedding and ended with a post-script about the rehearsal dinner, indicating by process of elimination that my wife and I were not invited.

    My wife and I, though never expecting to go to the rehearsal dinner, didn’t expect to be told flat-out that we weren’t invited (along with anyone else on the email going to the wedding and not the dinner). We were shocked and offended. I’m wondering if we are over-reacting.

    Thanks in advanced for the feedback.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You are not overreacting. That was an extremely tack way for the bride and groom to distribute information. Because you have already responded to the wedding invitation, you are tied to that response, but you may want to reconsider your relationship with these people after the wedding.

    • Elizabeth

      It sounds to me, from what you’re describing, that the B+G sent a mass email to all the guests, and then put some information about the rehearsal dinner at the bottom for those people that were invited to it, who they listed. It sounds quite lazy – they could have easily sent a separate email. However, it seems quite weird to me to communicate about a wedding at ALL via email, so it makes me think that it’s a pretty casual affair or the people don’t take much stock in ceremony… or printed invitations. I have to respectfully disagree with Winifred, I think this is a relatively minor faux pas. Rehearsal dinners are typically only for the bridal party and close family, and you said yourself that you did not expect to be invited to it. Why take offense when the email simply confirmed what you’d assumed? What did the email communicate to you that you didn’t already know – that there would be a rehearsal dinner and (as you suspected) the bridal party and close family were invited? Keep in mind that the rehearsal dinner is for those who actually have to attend the rehearsal – they have to stand around, bored, for an hour or more while the wedding ceremony is rehearsed. The tedium of this event is compensated for by the dinner (just my opinion). If I were you, I’d be happy not to be invited because it would mean that you did not have to deal with the rehearsal! Again, I think they did it out of laziness rather than malice. If you know this couple to be socially kind of nasty, by all means, cut ties. But if you think that they are just a bit clueless, I would give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • Jody

      I agree with Winifred here. Even if you didn’t expect to be invited to the rehearsal dinner, it was rude and tacky of the bride & groom to include information when not everybody on the e-mail was invited to that dinner. Definitely not overreacting, I would have been offended as well.

  6. Kat Germain


    I’m a vegetarian and I also have a nut allergy. Sometimes this makes it hard to eat out, especially if I am someone’s guest.

    Yesterday I was unexpectedly invited to a reception at a restaurant after a funeral. The family had a pre-ordered menu that was all meat. To complicate things, there were some language barriers. I would have been just fine to just enjoy the company. I’m kind of used to it anyway, especially at non-western restos and I did not want to be a bother. Unfortunately as much as I tried to assure them, everyone felt bad and kept apologizing. They offered to order me something else. My boyfriend wanted to get up and try to find an English-speaking manager, etc. etc. What’s the best way to handle this? Where’s the line between politely declining versus making people feel guilty/ uncomfortable by sitting with an empty plate while they chow down? I ended up eating a bit of something something that looked mostly meat-free however felt pretty queezy about it. I just wanted everyone to relax and it seemed like my only out!



    • Elizabeth

      It’s surprising to me that they were not able to find you a meat and nut-free salad or side of fries. I think you would have been fine to take them up on their offer to order you something else. That way, they would have intersected with the foreign-language speaking staff rather than you or your boyfriend. I also understand that you would have also been fine to sip a drink, but many cultures place a lot of importance on being hospitable (ie feeding one’s guests), so I can imagine that it would have bothered them to have you sit there with nothing (after you, presumably, came to pay your respects to their loved one). That’s why I think taking them up on their offer would be the best way to go.

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