First Child: Sending Birth Announcements

Q: I will be having my first child in a few weeks and I was wondering to whom I should send birth announcements? Also do I send them to all of the people who attended my baby shower or just a select few? I have no information on the proper way to send out birth announcements.

A: Birth announcements can be sent to family and friends but are rarely sent to business associates or casual acquaintances. Assuming those who attended the shower are family and friends, you may send them the announcement. If it’s too great a number, you may limit sending announcements to immediate family, close friends, and/or those who do not live locally. The recipient of a birth announcement is not expected to give a gift.

Meat and Greet: Greeting guests in your home

Q: My husband and I are having a disagreement. When any friend of our teenage daughter enters our house, my husband thinks that they should greet us first. I say that they are guests in our home and we should greet them first. A steak dinner is riding on this…which one of us is right?

A: When a guest enters a room, the host should rise and greet the guest. The same goes for a new person entering a room where others are gathered. The people there should rise and greet the person entering. If your daughter answers the door, she should bring her friend to greet you. For example, your daughter would say “Mom and Dad, Greg is here.” You would then greet Greg, and Greg would then (hopefully!!!) say “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It’s nice to see you again.”

Quiet Diet: Special Diets and Dinner Parties

Q: When a person is on a diet and is invited to a home-cooked dinner party, should the guest (who is on the diet) put aside their diet just for the evening and go ahead and enjoy the meal? Or should they stay on their diet, even though the hostess worked very hard to provide the beautiful and delicious meal?

A: Presumably, those on a weight-loss diet that is self imposed can set it aside for one meal and compensate before and afterward. If someone is on a health-related diet she needs to stick to, she should tell her hostess when the invitation is received – “Thank you so much, I’d love to come but I’m on a pretty restricted diet right now. I could bring my own food, if that would be okay with you, or I can look forward to another invitation some other time and not come this time so as not to interfere with your plans.”

Thanks But No Thanks: How to Politely Deny Pushy Free Trials

Q: There is a new store in the entrance hallway of the mall at which I am employed. Every single time I or anybody else walks by, there is an employee out front offering a free massage sample.

On my way into work, I tell them I have to go to work, but they ask again as I leave. It’s annoying and I don’t think I should have to dread walking through the door for fear of being harassed. What can I tell them, or should I complain to mall management? It’s literally every single time.

A: Introduce yourself and explain to those employees that you work in the mall and really do not need a free massage sample.  So since you will see them twice a day, you would prefer if they would not offer you samples.  If they persist, discuss this problem with the health store manager.  If the situation doesn’t improve, report it to the mall management.

Irrational Implications: Dealing with Friends and Family That Make too Many Assumptions

Q: My husband and I work for the government in very stressful jobs. My in-laws are stuck in the cliche that working for the government is easy and imply frequently when we meet. I find it very offensive. Is there an appropriate way to broach this topic with them?’

A: Sure. Tell them that it hurts your feelings that they don’t take the time to understand that your jobs are challenging and stressful. Say, “May I tell you about just one week on the job so perhaps you understand?” If they brush off this effort, then continue to tell them, every time they comment, that they have upset you with their assumptions. And then change the subject. There is no need to be defensive or rude in return, just be matter-of-fact and move to a different topic.