Q: My friend constantly reapplies her lipstick at the table when we’re out for a meal. How can I clue her in to the fact that this is impolite? A: Her habit may annoy you, but it’s just as rude to impose your rules on your friend. When you’re out to eat with friends or […]
Q: When eating in a booth, is it okay to set an empty dish on another closer to where the waitress may pick it up? A: Generally speaking, plates should not be stacked in anticipation of one clearing the table even if your intentions are good. It is safer and more helpful to the waitstaff […]
Q: My mother has always insisted upon a particular point of telephone etiquette – she insists that a telephone call should always be terminated by the person who placed the call. Occasionally, we endure a short, awkward silence on the phone when I call her and forget that I was the person that actually placed […]
Q: Should a lady cross her legs at the knee or at the ankle? A: While good posture when seated is as essential as when standing, there is no specific etiquette guideline which suggests that it is more correct for a lady to cross her legs at the knee or at the ankle. The focus […]
Q: My mother-in-law is hosting the family Christmas this year. We are wondering what the proper etiquette is for the chargers while people are eating. Are they to be removed from the table or do you place your plate full of food on them? A: The first course is served on top of it, in […]
Q: When, if i ever, is it appropriate to hand deliver an invitation? A: If you know you will be seeing a guest in person it’s perfectly acceptable to hand deliver the invitation.
Q: What does ‘your presence is present’ mean at the end of an invitation? A: It means no gift is expected. It is far better to write ‘no gifts, please’ but some people think it is gentler to phrase it as was written on the invitation you received.
Q: I have noticed that more and more people are sending lengthy family ‘newsletters’ in Christmas cards. I have even seen these suggested in magazines as a way to keep people informed. I have always included a handwritten note to those with whom I exchange cards and rarely communicate with otherwise. What is the proper […]
Q: Do Americans bow or curtsey when meeting British royalty? For example, would an American girl curtsey when presented to the Queen? My husband says that Americans don’t bow or curtsey because we have no sovereign and are not subjects of the British crown. I say you follow the local customs when in a different […]
Q: Having ordered a cup of coffee in a restaurant, is it more appropriate to pour the sugar from the container right into the coffee, or pour the sugar into a teaspoon and then place the teaspoon with the sugar into the cup? A: You pour the sugar into the teaspoon and then lower the […]