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. Kym

    my question is on the subject of “Thank You”….. I was called out yesterday during Thanksgiving Dinner at a very nice hotel… for saying Thank You to the server each time they brought something to the table… i.e. I was asked if I always said “Thank You” to the Server even if I was not the one that had made the request for the item or whatever they were bringing to the table. I was told this was rude to the person making the request… I just say Thank You as a habit… all the time, any time when someone brings something… Note: I was also a server many years ago in College — maybe that has something to do with it?

    — I want to know if this is inappropriate— am I being rude to others at the table if I in fact say Thank You as well? I assure you it is just a subconscious habit of mine— not in any way designed to undercut the other person making the request, or, beat them to the punch. I was quite confused by this –as I did not think it was a big deal after all—- there can never be enough Thank You!’s being said in the world after-all… is there a rule of etiquette on this? Am I wrong? I think the other person is making a big deal out of nothing personally.. but, please give me your opinion….
    and, Thank you!

  2. Vanna Keiler

    Hi Kym. You are a thankful and considerate patron, and I can understand your urge and habit to say “Thank you!” on behalf of your table when you observe the wait staff do something for your group. However, as you mentioned, it is a habit, not necessarily the correct thing to do.

    If it is not specifically addressed to you, it may come across as odd that you are thanking them on behalf of the other person. It may also offend, because by inserting yourself in this interaction, it may be interpreted that you are subtly correcting someone else’s behavior. You are speaking on behalf of them, as it were.

    Personally, I would refrain from injecting myself into their interaction unless it was intended for everyone (e.g. “Does anyone else want water?” “No, thank you.” everyone chimes in at will). Just practice not saying anything if it is not directed at you. You may try and fail, but at least you tried. Then there would be no misinterpretation of your intentions. Good luck!

  3. Gail Ellifritz

    I want to address an envelope, but am unsure how, since the couple are married, but the wife kept her maiden name.

  4. Tina

    I have a question about introducing someone. I was recently at a family gathering when the mother of a family member introduced her son and did not introduce his wife or even acknowledge that he was married. I found that very disrespectful to the wife. Is there a rule of etiquette when introducing people you acknowledge their spouse?

    Thank you

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I don’t know of a rule specific to introducing spouses, but it is rude to leave out people who are present when making introductions. If his wife was standing there, then she should have been introduced along with everyone else.

    • Elizabeth

      I agree with Winifred, anyone who is standing in the group should be introduced. It has less to do with the fact that she is a spouse, but more to do with the fact that she is a human deserving of recognition. However, I will say that awkwardness around introductions is very common, as is people just kind of spacing out. Unless the MIL has a history of treating her DIL shabbily, I would chalk this up to a senior moment. The awkwardness could have easily been smoothed out if the son shook the person’s hand and said, “Nice to meet you. This is my wife, Kathy…” At which point the person (whoever they were being introduced to) would have turned to the wife and shook her hand. Perhaps the MIL was waiting for the son to introduce his wife??

  5. Jim

    Unfortunately, I have made an honest mistake by putting the wrong date in my calendar and it caused me to miss a holiday dinner/entertainment function provided by an organization that I support. To make matters worse, I had RSVP’d that we would be attending.

    How do I appropriately apologize for my mistake? Just a simple apology or should I send a donation to the organization to cover the cost of the meal, etc.?

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