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. I understand that Emily Post states that it is all right to “save” seats. This leaves me in a quandry as to just how this is to be done.

    1. I understood that there were two types of seating . Reserved seats, and open seating ( first come, first served.) Just when did this change, and just who decided on this change?
    2. How many seats can be “saved? One, three, five, entire rows? Would it be appropriate for someone to “save” entire sections, then charge for sitting there?
    Can this be done even when there is standing room only? Can the elderly and handicaped be denied the seats?
    3 What gives any person the right to decide who may or may not sit in unoccupied public seating?
    4. How far ahead of time can these seats be saved? Hours, weeks, months?
    5. If these people can save these seats, can someone elso also save the same seats? Others have the same authority the seat savers have over them! What if someone claims to have saved the seats before the seat saver arrives? They can’t claim they were there first, as that is just what they are trying to cheat everyone else out of.
    6. What about waiting in line? Can you “save” space in line for others? What if you claim to be saving space for friends, and I am in front of them; can I then announce that I am saving places for everyone behind you, and ask you and your friends to move to the back of the line? If they can save spaces, I should be able to also.
    7. When people place blankets in advance, how can they know the space isn’t already saved? What can they do if I just move the blanket aside and tell them that I had already “saved” the space?
    8 Just what public law allows “saving” of unoccupied public areas? I though public areas were for public use by everone. If it is a ticketed event, I also have a ticket for those seats. Isn’t this in fact, a case of bullying others to get what they want?

    Just what are the rules for this practice or are we just to make them up as we wish?
    Can I make up my own rules also? A simple statement that it is OK, leaves a lot of confusion as to how it is to be done. Just what are the rules?

    • Jody

      David, I think rules vary according to the occasion. The only general “rule” that I know of is that the saver needs to be courteous and reasonable — for example, if it’s a public concert the saver should not save rows of seats for his friends.

      As an example, I attend a very popular concert in Salt Lake City. Tickets are free, and it’s open seating within the section designated on your ticket. The ushers have no problem with early arrivers saving seats, and people are usually reasonable — they’ll save 3-4 at most (with 2-3 of the party already there). However, the ushers don’t let people save them forever. If it comes to the point when they’re letting the standby line enter the concert hall, the ushers no longer allow “saved” seats.

  2. Becky

    Thank you note dilemma… When responding to a gift from a couple, I’ve always addressed thank you notes to the lady, but thanked both in the note. (“Dear Jane, I want to thank you and John for _____.”) In rare instances, I may address to both the husband and wife (usually very close friends or relatives). However with my recent marriage, I have numerous husbands that really ‘took the lead’ for the couple. I know they personally selected and arranged for a gift (ie piece of husband’s original artwork from his major city gallery), signed the card for the couple and a few even represented the couple at the ceremony because child care couldn’t be arranged (one with triplets). Some probably because we are better friends with the husband than the wife and others just because they are cool / thoughtful guys (to us and their wives). We get along very well with all of the wives so, to my knowledge, there isn’t any underlining animosity or ‘other side of the story’ to further complicate the background for my question, which is….in these instances where I know the husband was personally involved in the gift giving (as much as, if not more than the wife), would it be appropriate to ‘break tradition’ and address to both? (Dear Jane and John, Thank you for _____.” This would be the case for a good 30-40% of the gifts…not just a couple of ‘exceptions’, and I certainly wouldn’t turn the tables and address the husband.

    • Alicia

      You should always address the thank you card to everyone who gave the gift. It is quite dated and sexist to only address the woman. Instead if John and Jane give a gift to you they you should address the thank you as : Dear John and Jane,
      None of the gifts should you be sending thank yous only to half the givers.

        • Alicia

          If you address the letter to only one of them then the thank you is only addressed to that person. They are the only one you are sending the thank you to regardless of who you mention in the text.

  3. Nessy

    I am very new to the social media phenomenon known as “Instragram”. I have received a “request to follow” from a person I consider an acquaintance rather than a close friend. I don’t really want this person to “follow” me or to “follow” this person. Is it rude to just pretend I didn’t get the request and not do anything or have I hopelessly outdated ideas of how these social media platforms work and just give in and follow her? I am not sure what would be the implication of clicking the “x” button on the request – but I am happy to let it just sit, unattended to. Any ideas of what to say to her face to face if the matter comes up? I don’t want to be rude but I don’t really want to encourage a friendship.

    • Alicia

      First it is extremely unlikely to come up. If you click X they will never see that you did so it will just go out of the inbox. Likely they are doing a request to follow to all their contacts. All that will happen if you follow them is you will see their pictures if they follow you they will see any pictures you share with your contacts

  4. Kate

    Funeral Etiquette, I lost my mother a few weeks ago and my aunt 2 months ago and 2 childhood friends this fall. Now my brother in law’s father has passed away. I don’t personally know him but am close to brother in law and his siblings. I am really spent, do I have to go to the wake. There is just a wake and internment. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Alicia

      No you are not required to go that said you must have learned how comforting it can be for the living to have the connections show at the wake and funeral. So it is up to you but attending is a kindness

    • Jody

      Kate, I’m so sorry for all of your family losses.

      It sounds like your brother-in-law would understand why you couldn’t attend the wake, given your recent losses. If you can manage it, though, would you be able to just spend a couple minutes at the wake? (showing up, expressing condolences, and leaving right away) If not, I’d think a private call or letter to you brother-in-law would be a nice gesture.

  5. Mark

    My son is 26 years old and has been dating his boyfriend about 3 years now, the second Christmas he was with us, we got him some blank cd’s because he is really into music. At this stage I’m wondering if there is gift etiquette for your childs significant other. My children who are all grown and on their own get monetary presents, and I’m wondering if it’s time to include him in that as well, and at what level. i.e. a percentage of what they get, or the same amount.

    • Alicia

      No firm rules on gifts for significant others or spouses of your kids. Your budget and sentiments and family traditions define the gifts.

  6. Dana

    After getting married, I kept my maiden name and I prefer to be addressed by “Ms.” instead of “Mrs.” But my husband and I keep getting invitations and holiday cards address to “Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast.” Is there a polite way to directly and firmly inform our friends and family that my correct name is “Ms. Myfirst Mylast?”

    • Alicia

      Sign your own letters and your RSVPs as Ms. Myfirst Mylast or as Ms. Myfirst Mylast and Mr Hisname Hislastname. Over time people will get it.

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