You're cooking dinner for someone, in your tiny kitchen. You're a pretty good cook, and they're not, so you are occasionally asking them to do simple tasks ("Can you put this in the fridge for me?") but you're doing most of the work. What is the nicest, quickest, least irritable way to say "Can you please sit down, because when you hover by the sink or the oven you're in my way?" [more inside]
For the past week or so I have been getting mail addressed to another person and address, with the little yellow "mail forwarding" sticker on the bottom saying "please forward to [blast hardcheese's address]." This seems like it could either be a dopey mistake or, more likely, a weird scammy thing. What should I do? Would it be weird to contact the other person? [more inside]
Specifically, where there's an imbalance between living situations - where one lives alone and has all the mod-cons, the other's in a studenty hovel crawling with housemates. [more inside]
I just got back from a long vacation which was mostly great. I stayed with friends in a few places and at AirBnBs or hotels in a few other places. A lot of morning conversations over coffee included some aspect of "How did you sleep?" and I'm not sure how to politely answer that question. [more inside]
I work from home most days and lately my boyfriend has gotten into the habit of working from my place as well or hanging out with me at other times at my invitation and his pleasure. I love this and am happy to have him around. Since he is over here so frequently, he has requested that I stock some of his favorite things regularly in the fridge for snacking/meals and most of them I'm happy to do so except for this - bottled water. [more inside]
Extended family that I visit (I'm in Canada) and stay with a few times a year have started the application for a "pistol permit" in New York state. I have a toddler who's never met a button that he didn't press or a latch he didn't fiddle with. I know it's unlikely a gun would be accessible during a visit but I've seen the statistics. My gut reaction is to not visit anyone who has a gun (maybe having one locked in a gun safe would be ok) but I don't know if that is excessive. They are buying the gun "for protection" so I am assuming it will be carried and I want to get a handle on my feelings before I discuss it with them. Have you been in this situation? How did you manage it?
I've been trying to reach out to someone with the intent of getting an informational interview, but it's been full of stops and starts and I don't know how to proceed. [more inside]
My teenager has a great summer job. I'm super-thankful to the manager who hired him. I googled to see what there was to see about this nice guy and saw that he has a creative business on the side for which he is currently running a Kickstarter. Would it be creepy or manipulative if I were to kick in a little bit? He's looking for an amount in the low thousands and I would give $50. I've never met him, but he would probably figure out I'm this employee's parent.
What is the meaning of this declaration by Jeremy Clarkson? [more inside]
I have observed that when thank-you notes written by people from old money families are personally delivered, the annotation "By hand" is invariably added to the bottom right corner of the envelope. Can anyone educate me as to the origins of this practice?
So, live-in boyfriend of three years brother is getting married in September. We live in a different state from him and they're not particularly close, so I've only met his brother a few times and his fiancée once, but I'm on friendly terms with the family (I spend Christmas with them, etc). Boyfriend probably talks to his brother about every 6 months. [more inside]
My case is very similar to this woman's story. Otherwise I feel I'm at my wits end regarding this issue. Would appreciate thoughtful answers, as I've asked this in other forums and have gotten some of the jealous lot who say I must be a flirt, I must dress sexy, I'm a hoe, etc. -- which all are not true and are really the opposite. I have strict rules of having male friends to only past work colleagues, classmates and social circles. [more inside]
My older sister tagged me and my three kids about a fundraising event she was doing. No other communication about said event. None of us responded. The day after the event she expressed she was hurt and disappointed we didn't show or rsvp. [more inside]
Is there a greeting, or something us non-practicers can say to people observing?
I was having a conversation with a friend recently about returning change to a customer for a cash purchase, and we got curious about the methods, and their rationale, for handling a mix of bills and coins. Help me understand this territory! [more inside]
Is it appropriate to ask out someone I met while participating in his experiment? [more inside]
A bunch of family is meeting for lunch. I feel compelled to bring a hostess gift. Should I? [more inside]
Amy Vanderbilt says you can do it...but what exactly is this? [more inside]
If you normally wear prescription glasses, when do you wear sunglasses instead? Do you wear them when you go outside and switch when you go indoors? Do you wear them only when driving? Do you carry both pairs around with you? Please explain the nuts and bolts of wearing sunglasses (and glasses) to me. [more inside]
My girlfriend and I will be visiting Montréal in a couple of weeks, and I have a few questions on both suggested sights to see, and local etiquette. [more inside]
Please help settle a wee debate about how to go about returning something that I borrowed from a friend, but didn't actually care enough about to watch. [more inside]
Please recommend an appropriate gift for a professor from an auditing (ie, non-credit and ungraded) student. [more inside]
I was not expecting this additional expense and was planning to wear something I already owned. Would it be rude for me to refuse? [more inside]
My super-rich, super-WASPy, tangential in-laws, have invited us to stay with them for a few days. I do not understand their ways and am terrified of making some huge social faux pas and creating offense I don't understand that will last for forty years. What do I wear? What do I say? How do I avoid weird undercurrents? Please advise! [more inside]
My boss just did me a really big favor. I feel the need to give her a thank-you gift, but not sure what's appropriate (or if a gift is appropriate at all). [more inside]
I'm a bit of an etiquette buff. Not that I follow all the rules, but I'm intrigued by what "the rules" are. I was wondering though if there were etiquette books or blogs that address really modern issues. [more inside]
After reading this WSJ article about two types of responders to the work-life balance (the "integrators" who mix up work time and home time, and the "separators" who try to draw a line between the two), I realize that I fall firmly into the first camp. I often write emails at midnight or later, after the kids are asleep and the house is quiet. But is this unfair to the recipients of my late-night messages? [more inside]
I'm bored at work, to the point where I frequently cry at my desk. I want to talk to my manager about it, but I need a script. This is my first office job, and I don't have a lot of experience with this part of the whole working professional deal. Can you help me?
I have hard time meeting people. While driving for lyft, I am very professional and have good reviews and at times I strike up a nice conversation with the riders especially women and feel like getting to know more about the girl(about 5% of time). But I chicken out in the end and just stay professional, wondering if it would be appropriate to ask a girl her number, or if she has a bf etc. Is it okay to ask people out? If so, how you do it without sounding weird? what is a good exit strategy if it doesn't work out?
Next month, my siblings and I will have an interment ceremony when our parents' ashes will be placed in a vault. The vault is on the grounds of the Methodist church they attended and the minister of the church will preside over the ceremony. As none of us are churchgoers, we're in the dark as to the etiquette involved: whether and how much to pay the minister for his services and the mechanics of such a transaction. Cash? Check? Payable to him or the church? Amount? Any guidance appreciated.
I am utterly baffled and confused by the behavior of this person I've been seeing for the past 2,5 months, who has not contacted me in a week, and I am not sure how to proceed from here. [more inside]
I've been watching Downton Abbey. The butler is aghast at the idea of female servants serving food in the family dining room even though there's a shortage of young male servants during the war, but plenty of female staff. Was this historically accurate? What was the reasoning behind it? [more inside]
At work, my supervisor told me that he was in the market to buy an iconic piece of furniture. As it happens, I am currently attempting to sell that exact iconic piece of furniture, and, without much forethought, I told him as much. [more inside]
How do a tactfully request that someone invited to a party does NOT bring their boyfriend? [more inside]
At work, I sit in the middle of a densely packed row of cubicles. There are 7 other people sitting within 6 feet of me. I want to beautify my dull, grey, small cubicle space with fresh cut flowers, ideally replenishing them every 3 weeks or so. Would this be rude to my cubicle mates? [more inside]
Next week I'll spend several days together with clients from Shanghai coming to Europe for a project we are producing for them. As it's the first time we are working for a Chinese client (specifically: an advertising agency and their client), it would be great to know in advance any specific business etiquette (beyond usual international practice), and any relevant cultural pointers to keep in mind during our work together during the day, and dinners (that we will be offering) during the evenings. [more inside]
I didn't talk to other people for six months and now I offend people constantly. How can I ease back into being part of humanity and learn to talk to people in the future without completely alienating them? And perhaps recommendations for etiquette books that are suited to modernity so I can start by having a crack at those. [more inside]
What's the deal with announcing your own engagement and "stealing the thunder" of another wedding? What's the optimal way to set a wedding date with other people's weddings in mind? [more inside]
I think I come across, unintentionally, as a lackluster mentee. I want to be a rock star mentee. Maybe I am just being too hard on myself, but... I also think that my and my mentor's personalities may be ever so slightly incongruous. Not to mention I have a very stressful current-work situation I'm trying to navigate in an effort to make more time for me mentorship. It all makes me feel awkward and insecure. [more inside]
I sent an email to someone with questions about a job listing they posted. Their reply said that the position is still open, but they are on the road and would write back next week. I replied "Great – talk to you then!" It is now six days later. I want to say, hey, are you back yet? but without sounding badgering or unprofessional. What's a good way to say this? This person and business is not formal, so formality is not necessary, just politeness and professional-style respect.
I am unsure if I should invite my coworkers to my baby shower - the dilemma - I live 2,000 miles away from the office. [more inside]
Yes, I know it’s always nice to go as a gesture of support, but how important is it really, in this scenario? [more inside]
Let's say I said something about person B to person A ("Person B is a terrible mother!") and person A relates that to Person B. Do I have to apologize to Person B if I said it in confidence? What if everyone knows I meant it? Would a phony baloney apology make everything better? [more inside]
My wife and I moved into our first home in March of this year. The previous homeowners asked if we could hold onto any mail addressed to them and put it in the mailbox around Friday of each week and they would come by and get it. Fast forward to today and we are still doing this for them. It's a bit tedious and frustrating to still have to do this and I'd like to find a way to politely find a way to get out of doing this - otherwise it feels like we may be doing this indefinitely. [more inside]
I have a two-year-old, and occasionally I take her out to a restaurant. (Nothing fancy or inappropriate for kids -- think Chili's.) She sits in a high chair and she's pretty well-behaved, but she drops a lot of food on the floor (because she's two). What is the best way to handle this situation? [more inside]
I realize this could be a judgment call, but I'd like to know if there are any good rules when acknowledging a face lift. [more inside]
Thanks for your response! Sorry about clogging your inbox with gratitude. [more inside]
I'm taking my first sick day in a long time, after my boss told me to go home from a meeting because I had actually lost my voice. I'm not good at knowing when feeling crappy merits taking a sick day and when it merits just sucking it up and hauling yourself in to work, especially if you have meetings planned or are supposed to be teaching a group. How do you decide that the level of sick you're feeling is sick enough to require calling in?
Is it polite to invite person A at the last minute to a party (in this case, my darling SO's birthday celebration)? I am feeling somewhat anxious about this occasion already and don't want to offend or exclude anyone. I know this is only a big deal in my own mind, and probably in no-one else's, but it is one of a couple of minor things I am feeling a bit stressed about as the day approaches. [more inside]
Another question about my sister. She has a large pit bull and brings him everywhere (unless it's inconvenient, in which case she leaves him with a friend or family member). She wants to bring him to our house for Christmas. I don't want him to come. [more inside]