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. Clara

    I mailed a package to a friend via Priority mail. I sent it on Tuesday and according to my tracking # she received it on Wednesday. I have not heard from her (we often communicate via text, and I have not received anything.) I am concerned that she may not have actually gotten the package, but do not want to seem as though I am fishing for a thank you. How long should I wait until I ask her if she actually received it?

  2. Teri

    My niece and her husband are having a first birthday party for their son. The invitation read, “no toys, but you may contribute a monetary gift towards his college fund.” This child will have an opportunity to attend college tuition free (he his Native American and will be registered with his mother’s tribe). I was shocked and appalled and my first reaction was to notify them to remove me from their solicitation list. Is a card appropriate to recognize this child’s milestone? Is there a tactful way to correct the parents’ behavior?

    • Jody

      Teri, I can understand your reaction — I think that requesting money in that way is definitely not proper. I’d just respond that you’re unable to make the party; if pressed for a reason all you need to say is that you have other plans. As tempting as it is to correct the parents, I don’t think that’s something you should do. A card would be perfectly proper in this case.

  3. Leslie

    I have a question about graduation announcements. I’m a 37 year old woman that will finally be graduating with my undergraduate degree in August. I would like to throw a graduation party/open house party to thank everyone that has supported me through the process. This includes co-workers, friends and family. I absolutely do not expect gifts and the event would not be to solicit gifts, but I’m not sure about the correct process. There is lots of information about younger graduates, but as an adult graduate I’m not sure of the correct process. Any suggestions or direction would be greatly appreciated.

    • Elizabeth

      Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, it’s a great accomplishment. Are you planning on sending invitations (either printed or evites)? Most people frown on mentioning gifts at all on an invitation, even in the form of “No Gifts Please” because it still looks like you’re thinking about gifts. If you are inviting directly (in person or phone), you can saying something like “I’d love to invite you to my graduation party. I’m throwing the party to thank all those that have supported my educational endeavor, so actually this is a party to celebrate you! It’s this Saturday…”

      If you do send out regular or e-invitations, you could call it a graduation party, but in the details say something like “A celebration of the friends and family that have made this possible” or similar. Some people may still bring you a small gift, but graduations are not usually big gift-giving events anyway. If anyone calls to ask what they can bring, you can say “Oh, please just bring yourself! This party is an opportunity for me to thank you for all of your support over the years, so I really just want you to come and enjoy!”

      If you simply send out graduation party invitations without any additional editorializing, people will not think that you’re trying to solicit gifts at all. So unless you are really anti-gift, I would just so with this, the simplest option. You can make a nice toast at the party thanking everyone.

  4. Beth

    I’m the niece of a man who recently passed away. He was married to my Aunt, it was his second marriage. His biological children have chosen not to have any service or memorial (we are not close with his family from his previous wife, their choice, not ours – he was married to my Aunt for the last 15 years of his life). I feel he should have something in our local community where he lived most of the later part of his life. He served in the military and was very active in his church. Can the members of a second family have a memorial/service for someone if they are not blood related, only by marriage? The cremation and burial have already occurred, and we only just found out a month after his passing (my Mom, the sister of his 2nd wife, received a condolence note from the real estate agent selling his mobile home – that’s how we found out). It’s insulting that his own children chose to ignore his many accomplishments of his life of 87 years without an obituary of any kind that I can find nor any type of public service. What if I want to coordinate something for our community?

    • Elizabeth

      Is your aunt still alive? She would probably be the best person to organize a service. However, if not, you or your mother may certainly do it. A memorial service is just a way for people to come together and remember someone. It can be religious or not. It is not required for it to be tied to the funeral or burial. I don’t know what the military would do (it is possible they would do something), but I have to imagine that the church would love to have a service for him, or perhaps a remembrance and luncheon tacked on to the end of a regular service. You should go for it, it would be a nice way to remember him.

      • Beth

        Thanks Elizabeth. No, my Aunt passed away 3 years ago. It wasn’t until Thanksgiving last year that his children moved him to a nursing home and then wouldn’t let us know how he was doing or where he was when he was very weak and had to go to a full care facility. I’m pretty sure the church and the military would do something so I’ll look into it. Thanks.

        • Alicia

          As you are the niece not the child I would respect the children’s wishes. If they do not wish to have a memorial service I would not plan one. Call them up and ask. Perhaps your uncle did not want a service. I think that doing one against the wishes of the primary mourners is wrong. Your aunt would have been a primary mourner but you as a niece are a level away from the children and as such should follow their wishes. Speak to them and ask.

  5. Julie

    Is it impolite for guests to knock on the side/ back door and or interior garage door instead of the front door? I have a home with a nice front porch and accessible front entrance. The driveway connects to both a walkway to this front entrance and the side entry garage and laundry room entrances from the exterior. Naturally, my foyer and front entrance is a much more desirable location for me to greet guests. However, both strangers, contractors, UPS, Fed Ex drivers etc feel comfortable walking through my garage and instead knocking on my interior door that connects the garage to our hallway just outside the laundry room. I always feel uncomfortable and surprised that they take those liberties. As a result, I try to leave the garage door closed as much as possible but that does not stop them from knocking on the laundry room door instead. My children open the garage door to retrieve their bikes, balls, etc. I am looking for a way to discretely direct guests to come to the front door and not feel inclined to invade our personal space.

    • Elizabeth

      I think that is quite odd, and I do think it is improper. If I were you, I would keep the garage door closed, and train the kids to shut it as well. Who knows what these people might wander off with if they have such easy access? As far as the laundry room door is concerned, perhaps a small note on the door saying “Please ring bell at front door” would work?

  6. Jazzgirl205

    I struggled with this myself when I lived in a 19th c. house. Even if guests are ushered into the front rooms, the aestectics of the house were designed to be viewed from front to back. At one point, I even put a sign on the backdoor which read “service entrance.” I can understand service people using the backdoor. Through most of the 19th-20th c. they were heartily discouraged from using the front door.

    I really tried to encourage friends to use the front door but to no avail. Many people have that “backdoor friends are best attitude” and think that front doors are for strangers. Seriously. They think it is a slight on their friendship if you ask them to use the front door!?!

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