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. Melissa

    Has anyone else ever been in this situation and if so, how did you deal with it?

    My 11 year old and my 7 year old are friends with another family’s kids of the same age. This family invited my kids and others to a summer pool party. The night before the party, the parent sent an email to say that as a consequence for bad behaviour, the younger child is no longer allowed to have friends over, so my younger child and all the other younger children are no longer invited. I replied that I was sorry to hear that, and I would therefore have to decline for my older child as well. (My older child was only going to be able to attend the last hour of the party anyway due to another commitment.)

    I am a firm believer in following through with consequences, however this consequence has a much broader reach that affected many other people, hence my reasoning to decline for both children.

    How would you have handled it and what do you feel is proper etiquette with parties as such?

  2. Tanya

    My friend invited a group of us to dinner to celebrate her birthday. The restaurant she has chosen is incredibly pricey–upwards of $50 per person with food and drinks. My boyfriend and I are going to attend, as she is a good friend, but we’re wondering how to handle the bill. Is it expected that someone will pick up the birthday girl’s tab? Normally I would do this without a second thought, but in this case our tab is already going to be more than $100, and I feel it was sort of in poor taste to pick such an expensive restaurant. How should we handle the bill?

    • Vanna Keiler

      Hi Tanya. Your friend invited your group to celebrate her birthday, so technically she was hosting the event and should be the one paying for everyone. However, assuming no one has brought this up, just in case I would bring enough to pay for myself and boyfriend and a little bit more if everyone then decides they want to contribute to the birthday girl’s dessert, if you all choose to treat her to a birthday dessert at the restaurant.

  3. Karen

    A neighbor of mine is moving. She does not care for any of the neighbors but her and I are good friends. Her son and mine were once close, and her daughter and mine are friends. Her husband has already left. I told her prior to her leaving, my husband and I would like to have a little get together. (Just the two families) We would just cook, drink wine, say our goodbyes. I asked and she never responded. I told her I had Tuesday and Wednesday available this week. Yesterday, she finally calls and says well the only day that is good for all of us is Thursday. Which I had already informed was a day we already had a prior committment to. I have felt for sometime that this friendship has become more of a when it’s conveinant for her type. WHich was only reitterated this week. Should I rearrange my plans, or just keep them and know that I did try?

    • Alicia

      Keep your plans. Sounds like in six months she will be the category of former friend and neighbor and you will not be staying in touch. So keep plans and say that you are sorry but that day does not work for you but that you wish her luck on her new neighborhood.

  4. Allison

    I was invited to a friend’s bridal shower. I brought a gift to the shower. This same friend has invited me to her wedding, which I plan to attend. Do I need to bring a gift to the wedding?
    Thank you.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      The wedding is a separate event from the shower so it deserves a separate gift. However, you may want to send the gift ahead of time rather than bring it to the wedding because it may be difficult for the newlyweds to transport gifts after the wedding.

  5. Minimalist Mom

    My husband and I are expecting our first child, and my family members are extremely excited. I feel extremely fortunate to have so much love and generosity for my little one. The problem is that my husband and I are minimalists who privilege quality over quantity. We believe it is very important to raise our children to appreciate experiences rather than things. We also disagree with “disposable” culture and choose not to keep those items in our home.

    My family is very excited about the upcoming birth and has been generously showering us with presents for the little one. Many of these items are useful and appreciated. Some of them are less so, being plastic, battery operated, or made in China. I have been sending thank yours, keeping the gifts until family members see them, and then either exchanging them for store credit or donating them. My mother is extremely angry about this and tells me that it is hurtful that I am exchanging unwanted gifts– that I am snotty and that it’s not about me. I have tried to explain that I am appreciative, but we simply do not have the room to store and display unwanted items just to protect someone else’s feelings, especially when those items go against our lifestyle and parenting philosophy.

    I feel this is the beginning of a very long and exhausting battle, and it makes me worried about other decisions my husband and I will make that she may not agree with. I feel that I am behaving appropriately: thanking the gifter, storing the item for months until it can be seen, and then quietly exchanging or donating unwanted goods. How can I make her see that I have a right to control the things that come into my home, especially when trying to teach my child the value of simplicity?

    Thank you.

    • Alicia

      Once you or your husband send the thank you note to the giver the items are yours to do with as you please. Convincing your MIL of this is sadly not the easiest thing and there is no magic words. Some suggestions of what might be good gifts that would be appreciated would probably not go amiss. Good Luck

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Why does your mother know about this strategy of yours? Exchanging and donating gifts is fine as long as you are discrete about it. Your mother may be upset because she knows that you do this often and is imagining you doing it with her gifts also.

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