‘Going Out’ after a loved one has passed: Resuming an Active Lifestyle

Q: My Mother recently passed away, and my Dad has asked what is socially acceptable as far as ‘going out’. We are pretty sure he means with a female companion, so would appreciate any advice you can give him in that regard.

A: How long should close relatives of the deceased wait before resuming an active social life? The answer is up to the individual. Some survivors may deal with grief by plunging into their regular activities, while others may want to spend time with close friends but otherwise keep to themselves as they adjust to the loss of a loved one. Widowers or widows may start to date when they feel up to it but should consider the feelings of in-laws, their children, and others close to them. Evenings at home with friends or some other inconspicuous activities might be wiser choices than more public activities.

Big Present Etiquette: How to show a token of your appreciation

Q: I have a question regarding ‘gift’ etiquette. My 17 year old son was recently given a car by a friend of my husband’s. This gentleman and my husband have not been friends very long, though they have known each other. How do we appreciate our thanks without insulting them? My family has never encountered anything like this before, and I don’t want to do it (accept the gift) incorrectly.

A: What a wonderful gift! Presumably, your son wrote a very sincere letter or note of thanks, and your husband let his new friend know how appreciated this gift is. You can all brainstorm on a great thank-you gift for him. This is a token of your appreciation, not a matching or in-kind gift. For example, a movie ticket gift certificate for him, his wife and son would be fun for them and help you feel as though you had expressed your appreciation. Or, if your husband knows of a particular hobby or interest he has, something fun in support of that, whether golf gloves or a specimen shrub or plant for his garden.

Evening Wear: A description of ‘After 5 Attire’

Q: I have been invited to a holiday party. The invitation states after 5 attire. I have a tux and suits, but I am not sure exactly what that means. My friends are asking me and they also didn’t know.

A: It is always a very good idea to call and ask when people give unclear directions with their personalized dress codes. However, it is assumed that this means a man would wear a suit, shirt and tie; a woman a dressy day dress or suit, or even pant ensemble.