1. Lily

    Hi everyone. When you are invited to a friend’s home, how close to the date should the friend let you know the time she expects you to come? Sometimes my friend Jess will text myself and another mutual friend and say “I’m inviting you over on June 10.” This will be about a month before. It will then be June 7 and I will have no idea what time I am expected and cannot plan out my weekend. I will text and ask her for the time and she will say “I’ve been super busy, I’ll call you tomorrow with the details.” So now I still cannot know if I am getting home late at night or in plenty of time to do some other things I need to do.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      In general that should be worked out when the date is set or very shortly after. If something comes up that you would like to do that potentially conflicts with your friend’s plans, I suggest calling her and saying “What time should I plan on seeing you next week?” If she doesn’t give you an answer, say “The reason I’m asking is I’ve been asked if I can do XYZ from 10 to 1 so I’m going to tell them yes and I’ll see you sometime after 1. Okay?” This sets limitations on your availability while giving her the opportunity to set a specific time before you make other plans.

    • Nina

      Hi Lily,

      If I got a note like that, I’d respond, “Sure, what time?” and follow up in a couple days if I didn’t hear back. I’m really really busy these days and I have to nail everything down or I’d never see anyone. But it would depend on how close a friend it is and how disappointed you’d be if you wound up not being able to see her on the day planned.

      Hope that helps!

    • Elizabeth

      Lily, I think that this kind of invitation is pretty weird, if not a bit presumptuous. I would not agree to devote an entire day if I didn’t know what the plan was. Is it dinner? Lunch? Drinks? Brunch? How is this friend when you invite her to do things at a certain time?

      I think you can address this two ways: First, when you receive an invitation like this, you can immediately write back and say “I have a couple of other things potentially happening that day, so what were you thinking? Brunch?” In the absence of a definite response, you are perfectly within your rights to say, “Sorry, when I didn’t hear back I just went ahead and made other plans. In the future, lets try to be more definite and that way we can be sure to see each other.”

      You could also tell her on June 7 that unfortunately you’ve had some other things come up, and since you didn’t know what time, you had to go ahead and make other plans. You are basically allowing yourself to be held hostage by her indecision, and you are treating her ‘invitation’ as if it’s a summons. If you are ‘busy’, after a couple of times she’ll get the message.

      Lastly, you could simply address this head-on, with a phone-call or an in-person conversation. You can explain that these ‘vague plans’ make it difficult to plan your weekend, and in the future you need something more definite before you can commit.

  2. Cyra

    Hi Lily,

    I would say that unless you’ve been given a time, you have not actually received an invitation, but a “save the date,” which does not require a commitment. So if this happens again I would say you’re totally free to make whatever other plans for that day you wish, and if she doesn’t actually give you details until the day before (which would be the actual invitation) and they conflict with plans you’ve already made, then that’s just how it goes. She certainly can’t expect you to keep your entire day blocked off just because she hasn’t actually planned anything!

    If, on the other hand, she were to say “I’m inviting you over for dinner on June 10″ then you could make some reasonable guesses about what that might be and what other plans you could be free to make.

    • Lily

      Thank you all so much for your input. The event is tomorrow and she never called yesterday to tell me the time like she said she would. I only see this friend twice a year at this point (she lives an hour away). I feel like a pest asking multiple times for a time–I feel like I am then perceived as difficult. She says the reason she hasn’t gotten in touch is she is crazy busy–but so am I…how hard is it to say “it will probably be around noon, give or take an hour.” At least then I have a ballpark figure..b/c right now it could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, 7pm at night, I have no idea, LOL! Thanks again everyone! These are informal invitations over text messaging…but still, an established time of day would at least be nice.

  3. GAGirl1963

    My boss (a school principal) is retiring at the end of this school year. Yesterday, I got an e-mail invitation to her retirement party after hours, off campus next Wednesday evening. It stated that each person should RSVP by Monday and pay $12 to attend. Is it proper etiquette to charge to attend someone’s retirement party?? Five other staff members are retiring and they’re being given a “free” together party at our school during school hours.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      If the party has a host, the host should be paying. If there is a coordinator inatead of a host (which sounds like the case here), the coordinator does not have to pay for everyone and just has to let everyone know the costs (which this person did). If you would rather not pay $12 to attend, you are free to RSVP that you won’t be attending.

  4. susie


    I would like to know proper etiquette regarding giving a public gift from a congregation to a minister. Does the recipient open the gift in front of the congregation or not? Are there guidelines depending on the presentation ie if the gift can be used as a teaching tool etc.

    Thank you,

    • Jenny

      There are not formal guidelines. As ministers, we generally do not like to make a production of receiving gifts as technically it is a job and our focus should be on Christ. However, congregants do like to recognize the work so it makes it tricky. If the object is big, a nice picture or card would be appropriate. It really depends on your denomination, as well. As a reformed protestant, the customs are more focused on the congregation.
      If it is from the whole congregation, it would be appropriate to do this at either the beginning of the service before worship actually starts or at a congregational meeting and given by an elder, deacon, moderator or leader of the congregation. In Seminary, we learned that generally the best receipt way is to have the gift unwrapped with a bow or in a bag. Something that does not make a production of the gift. If it is a personal gift, over a small value such as a trip, a car, a painting etc. that could be construed as swaying the favor of the minister, the minister and or the individuals giving the gift need to make the congregation and/or presiding body aware of such a gift prior to the giving/receiving of the gift. The congregation or presiding body over the church, then should decide whether it is an appropriate gift.
      If you are catholic, the customs are much different and I am not as versed in how to address such a gift.
      Hope this helps,

  5. Jenny

    I am getting married in October. I would like to order stationary that will come from both my fiancé and I for thank you notes, rather than using the stationary I already have with only my name on it. I generally like to send out the note the next day or within the week of receiving it because I hate not receiving one and wondering if the gift had ever been received. Since people send gifts often before the wedding, I am at a little bit of a loss as to what to put on the stationary. After the wedding, it would make sense to receive a card that said:
    Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
    however, prior to the wedding I feel like that is a little dicey. I do not want to buy two sets of stationary for before and after since it is personalized and I do not want to have to throw it away if it is not all used. How does one typically handle this?
    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    • Alicia

      You would send thank you notes for gifts in advance of wedding ASAP. Either you or your fiancee can send the note but one of you must. Notes should really go out ASAP but no more then two weeks post receipt of gift. Use the stationary you already have for these notes pre wedding. No should not be using your married monogram but he could use his. But really any note paper is fine and waiting for stationary is not something you should do. You and Fi should write the thank you notes as the gifts arrive. Some married stationary after the wedding is lovely but the note matters more then the paper.

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