1. Michelle Carter

    Name changes for second marriages?
    I use my middle name, Michelle. On most things I have just dropped my first name. I am getting ready to remarry. What does etiquette say about changing your name? Do I keep my maiden name as my middle name or my first marriage name? My two children are from my first marriage and my youngest is a junior in high school. Some people keep all four names. What do you think?

    • Alicia

      Etiquette is agnostic on what name you take or keep. Any choice that works for you and your spouse is fine. File with the state and make your name whatever makes you happiest. Congrats on your wedding.

  2. Angie P.

    My husband and I recently invited an old college friend from California to visit us. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other in person, but we’ve kept in close contact by phone and online. When we extended the invitation, we offered to let her, her boyfriend and her son (age 4) to stay with us. The friend, “Nancy,” told us she’d purchased tickets and confirmed the dates of the visit next month. She also told us that the boyfriend wouldn’t be coming with her due to a work conflict. I exchanged e-mails a with her asking about her son’s food allergies so I could remove any dangerous items from his reach, and at the end of an e-mail she informed me in passing that another woman — another college classmate, “Julia” — to stay with us too.

    I’m seriously upset about this. While my husband did have classes with “Julia” in college, they were never close and we haven’t seen or heard from her in more than 12 years and no longer consider her a friend. I’m furious because A) “Nancy” invited this person without asking us first; B) I really don’t want someone we haven’t spoken to in more than a decade in our home and I have no idea how to explain this stranger to my autistic daughter; and C) we don’t have another extra room for this person to use, so even if we did want the tagalong in our home, the only accommodations we could offer are a couch or the floor, neither of which would be very comfortable.

    I really want my friend “Nancy” to visit, but I’m afraid of what will happen if I speak up against the tagalong friend. My husband says to just roll with it, it’s only for a weekend, but I’m seething at the rudeness of it all. What should I do? What’s the etiquette here?

    • Jody

      Angie — it was definitely rude of Nancy to invite Julia without clearing it with you first. As inconvenient as it is, I think you and your husband should be in agreement on this matter. If you’re willing to “roll with it” for the weekend, you should e-mail Nancy as soon as possible and let her know that unfortunately you don’t have an extra room so Julia will need to share the same room as Nancy and her son. If your husband is OK with not having Julia at all, you’ll need to e-mail Nancy as soon as possible to let her know that as much as you’ll enjoy seeing Nancy and her son, you unfortunately won’t be able to host Julia as well. Nancy may be thinking that it’s a clean exchange of one person for one person, but you can explain the difficulties with strangers and your autistic daughter, as well as space constraints in your home.

      Good luck with the situation.

      • Joanna

        I would simply say, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any room to accomodate Julia.” And leave it at that. YOU are the host, and they invited an extra person without asking you, so you don’t owe any further explanations. Nor should you simply put up with it in the name of politeness, as it would cause you problems and they certainly weren’t polite…

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