Open Thread

by epi on March 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 }

Brandi March 14, 2013 at 11:16 am

I have a question. What is the proper way to respond when you did not understand somebody? For example, is “what?” appropriate? Are there certain responses that are proper in certain situations? I am specifically wondering if the response should be different from a child to his/her elders. I have heard of “I’m sorry?” and “sir? or ma’am?” Thank you.

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Elizabeth March 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

“What?” is inelegant.

“Pardon?” “Excuse me?” “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that…” “Sorry, come again?” “I”m sorry, would you mind repeating that?” are all better options. These can be used with peers or persons of a different age group.

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Bill March 14, 2013 at 11:32 am

I went on vacation and sent emails and private Facebook messages to friends who live in the city I visited asking to grab lunch and catch up. After returning home and posting photos online, my friends started publicly asking why I didn’t contact them about my visit. I did! I emailed AND sent Facebook messages. What bothers me is the public nature of my friends’ comments because I privately contacted them, but now that they have brought public attention to it, what is the proper response?

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Winifred Rosenburg March 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Whenever someone posts something you consider inappropriate on your Facebook, you are free to delete the post and respond in a private way. Be aware sometimes Facebook doesn’t send alerts about messages.

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Vanna Keiler March 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I agree with Winifred’s suggestion. Yes, it is tacky for them to post on your wall these comments, and they should be aware that Facebook is essentially a public venue and therefore, they should behave accordingly (i.e. not embarrass you, intentionally or not). If they cannot control THEIR behavior, you may want to restrict what information they DO see and post from henceforward.

Were you to post something more direct to them on your wall for all to see, that could precipitate a battle of public words, which it seems the direction your friends are wanting to lean. So, keep your Facebook wall clean of anything negative, and simply remove their post, as Winifred wisely suggested (imo).

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Elizabeth March 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Personally, I don’t see anything embarrassing about their query, and I would respond forthrightly to these posts. (That is, I would act as if their messages were genuine, even if you suspect they aren’t.) Something like, “Hey man, I actually did! Has your email address changed?” You may find that this person has changed jobs or similar. Also, if you haven’t messaged them in awhile, it is possible that your message went into the “Other” box. (When you click on messages, next to your ‘inbox’ there is an ‘Other’ box, which is very easy to miss. An old friend of mine contacted me after years of being out of contact, and it was routed for some reason into that other inbox. The message was literally months old when I finally found it!)

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