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Busy Bee: When Does it Become Rude to Not Have Replied to an E-Mail?

Q: I’m generally a very busy person and often I don’t have enough time to reply straight away to e-mails I receive from family/friends. So, my question is what is the polite response time to family/friends – or to put it another way, after what period of time does it become rude to not have replied?

A: An email should be replied to in less than a week. If it will take you longer than a week to reply, a simple message saying something like “I got your email, I’ve been really busy but I want to catch up with you, I’ll email you back as soon as I get a moment ” would be fine. It acknowledges you have received the email, so the sender won’t be wondering whether maybe they had the wrong address for you, or there was some other delivery problem.

Open Thread

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

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.

Hands On: How to Eat a Whole Fish

Q: Please provide guidance on how to eat a whole fish including how to debone it.

A: When ordering a whole fish, the waiter or maitre d’ customarily presents the fish to you, then removes it to a side table or trolley for de-boning and then serves it to you, plated.

Should you have to debone the fish yourself, here’s how:

A whole fish should be eaten with a fish knife and fish fork. Anchor the fish with your fork and, using the knife, remove the head, placing it on a plate for discards. Then use the tip of your knife to cut a line down the center of the fish from the gill to the tail, just above the middle of the body, parallel to the skeleton. You can either 1) lift the top half of the fish off of the skeleton, place it on your plate and remove the skeleton to the discard plate, exposing  the lower half of the fish or 2) you can eat the fish directly, removing the skeleton when you get to it.

If the fish is on the plate meat side up and skin side down, just use your fork to eat the meat, leaving the skin. If the skin side is up, you can gently scrape it away from the flesh below using your knife or the side of your fork, and place it on the discard plate

If you find small bones in your mouth when eating the fish, push them to the front of your mouth with your tongue and then onto your fork, removing them to the side of your plate.

Open Thread

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

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.