We're Americans visiting Berlin. We have some German relatives who live here who we've met before and prior to this visit, when they knew we were coming, they invited us to a party that was already scheduled for during our visit. It's an annual family gathering held at the grandfather's house. Should we bring a gift? If so, what?
What is and is not acceptable to include in job interview follow-up emails? Difficulty level: I'm literally in the middle of a project with them right now. [more inside]
We’re in the very earliest stages of wedding planning, trying to come up with a guest list so that we have approximate numbers in mind when we look into venues, etc. How can - or should - we balance a seriously lopsided family tree with our desire to have our friends there (and not go bankrupt/remain engaged forever)? Details inside. [more inside]
A friend is having a 2-day wedding to a man whom only one of the 4 of our invited group has met, in a location that's an expensive pain in the butt to get to, and will make us all late for work Monday. None of us really want to go. Are we horrible people? [more inside]
I'd like to give an inexpensive token of thanks to each of around 40 people. They are physicians and nurses who are helping on a project. It needs to be something I can get quickly, travel with easily, and ideally no more than $4 US. My ideas so far are Amazon gift cards or Starbucks gift cards. What token gift would you like to receive if you were one of them?
One of my favorite colleagues has a cat, and it is dying. She is just waiting on tests to come back from the vet so they can decide if palliative care is an option or not. I'd like to do something nice to let her know that I'm thinking of her, but need ideas that won't memorialize me as "That girl who did that crazy thing in a misguided attempt to nice." Also looking for a sanity check - if this is a bad idea, please say so (and why). [more inside]
Indians of me-fi: is it commonly accepted etiquette that splitting a restaurant bill with Indian parents is an insult? [more inside]
So, I've jumped into online dating. It's going oddly better than expected, such that I now have a couple etiquette questions: 1) how do I politely turn down a request for a second date? He seems like a kind person and I'd like to avoid hurting his feelings inasmuch as possible, but I wasn't quite feeling that spark of attraction. Is there some equivalent of Miko's breakup talk for this that will help here, something clear but gentle? Also... [more inside]
Am I supposed to tip on the full, normal cost of meals and drinks during happy hour? [more inside]
I googled my new supervisor at my volunteer gig and found out that this person is trans and doesn't identify with a binary gender. I don't know how I should refer to my supervisor now. Some questions about how to proceed. [more inside]
What's the protocol for blocking/unfriending a coworker if you still want to be friends with almost all your other coworkers on Facebook? [more inside]
I've recently been teamed on a project with a co-worker who dresses and acts professionally, but tends to wear low-cut blouses. The problem is not what she is wearing but that she is frequently, nervously making adjustments to her neckline. So often that it's now making me nervous. Question inside. [more inside]
Someone I work with is Turkish and in Turkey for the summer. He asked me to let him know if I would like something from Turkey. I do! But do I take him up on it? [more inside]
This is sort of an etiquette question. A scholarship that I'm receiving is requesting the school's bank account information. I have been trying to reach my financial aid advisor for the past 4 days. I emailed her 4 days ago and did not get a reply. Thus, I called her office several times yesterday and today and no one answered. I left her a voicemail message asking her to call me back and she still hasn't called. Today, I showed up at her office and I was told that she was out for lunch. I couldn't wait so I left a note at her desk to call me back. She never did. Should I continue to pester this lady until she responds? It's very frustrating that I haven't been able to get a hold of her but at the same time I don't want to be a bother or seem impatient if she's indeed really busy. Please advise. Thank you!
I work in an office that shares an office with a group of guys. The guy who is in charge of that office is sort of a dick, or at least I've always gotten that vibe. There is one bathroom and I am the only woman in the office. I used the bathroom once in the morning. [more inside]
I agreed to be a bridesmaid for a friend who wants her bridesmaids to be a lot more present (physically) than I am going to be able to in the lead-up to the wedding. What do I do now? [more inside]
What thank-you gift for a couple of nice librarians? [more inside]
I know next to nothing about weddings, so I'm looking for advice to successfully support one of my best friends who is having a disagreement with her soon-to-be fiance about who gets to pick the ring out. [more inside]
Should I, a non-Muslim woman, wear a hijab to a Muslim burial? What else do I need to know to avoid offending anyone there? [more inside]
Yesterday I took a (metred) taxi in Bali. Upon arriving at my destination, I attempted to pay the driver. He said "no sir, no sir" and made me get out of the taxi, at which point I paid him by passing the money to him through the open passenger-side window. Is this some kind of local taxi etiquette? Is there a reason for it?
My partner and I are hosting a housewarming party and we've invited more people that I think we can accommodate. What's the best way to make sure the party goes smoothly and what are some things we can do to help things along? [more inside]
I "met" an internet friend over the weekend who it turns out is someone I actually dated in high school. I am really embarrassed and hate that I've been an accidental jerk, and I'm not sure what to do now. You know, other than feel like kind of an idiot. [more inside]
Am I out of bounds here or is it an accepted email etiquette norm now that acknowledging an email is optional? [more inside]
I screwed up at work - which was compounded by a string of just plain bad luck. It got really ugly. Maybe could even lose my job. I'm thinking of having a heart-to-heart call with my leadership to apologize for the bits that were my responsibility...Not to grovel and save my ass, but to communicate that I know I impacted them and the team. Bad idea? Does an apology ever help in a workplace, or does it just help affix blame and make everyone uncomfortable?
Job in question is an on-call healthcare position that's interesting, but I know I'll be relocating soon. Details inside. [more inside]
How do I keep my job if a manager hates me? [more inside]
A former distant colleague of mine is a trans woman. I'm pretty clear on the importance of not misgendering people, but I'm running into one or two slightly awkward practical issues in making sure I don't screw that up. [more inside]
Difficulty level: Dutch/Canadian/Australian. Mr Fish and I are getting married in July. A lot of Mr Fish's Canadian family are coming, and this is my first time meeting a lot of them. We absolutely do not expect gifts but we're already getting questions about registries. Do international registries exist? [more inside]
I need to back out of a project that (thankfully) hasn't started yet--how do I write an email that doesn't sound flaky or weasel-y, and ideally lets me keep my client? [more inside]
I am getting married in the middle of July 2014, and have a link to our gift registries on our wedding website. We sent out "Save the Date" cards in January that had the URL for our website printed on it. So it is now the end of February, and we are already starting to receive giant parcels of food processors and other household items which we have put on our registry. Should we wait until after our wedding to start using these items, or should we treat these items in the same way one would treat a wrapped Christmas gift, and wait until the actual event for which these gifts were purchased for has transpired? What's the normal etiquette for a thing like this?
Cross-country skiing on trails also used by snowmobiles: Apart from common courtesy and common sense, is there any etiquette that I should be aware of? [more inside]
This weekend, I'm going to have a home infusion nurse in my house for approximately 4 hours a day while I'm hooked up to an IV. This process is going to repeat every 4-5 weeks indefinitely, to treat an autoimmune condition. What do I do with her? [more inside]
I work in a co-working space with folks who all have their mobile ringers turned on with the shrill "rotary phone" ringtone turned all the way up. Please help me write an email to solve this. [more inside]
I live in a big city and am a part of a group of 10 or so women whose babies are all turning 1 in and around the same month. At best, I would say the majority of these women are acquaintances, people who it's been nice to spend time with on weekdays while on maternity leave, but who I may not see after that. The birthday party invites are starting to come out and we are being invited to many of the family parties. Problem is, for my babies birthday we intend to have a small gathering of family and a handful of very close friends and maybe a couple of the women from the group who I've become close with. Would it be appropriate to write the group and indicate that we are having a small party for family only and tell the two women I'm inviting not to mention their invites? Should I suggest to the group that we do the birthday equivalent of a Secret Santa to save us from buying 9 presents for the other babies? I should add that I am currently unemployed and a bit concerned about the expense of gifts for all of the babies. Thoughts and any suggestions to navigate this?
How can I set up Facebook from scratch with minimal spam/leakage into other accounts and minimal leakage from/to people I don't know? [more inside]
At a restaurant, if I'm not tipping on my card (either because I've left cash or because someone else is leaving the tip), is it better to make a note of this or just leave the tip line blank? [more inside]
My husband and I are disagreeing about check writing and cashing etiquette. [more inside]
We're going to a gig tonight that is massively sold out … and we're on the guest list. Are guest lists completely at the whim of the venue, or are there general guidelines that apply to most venues? We want to enjoy the show, but don't want to be “that guy” who ruins it for those nearby. [more inside]
I had a first interview for a job today. Before I left, they said they wanted me to come back next week for a second interview (yay!). I sent a thank you email when I got home after the interview. I'm usually in the habit of sending a snail mail note after a first interview (it has secured a second interview in the past) but with a second interview already planned should I send the snail mail note this time around? Or save that for after the second interview? Thanks in advance for your advice.
Is tagging OK when you want to make sure that specific people will see (or, at least, be notified about) a specific post? Even if it would mean tagging about 20-30 people... [more inside]
After years of saving and planning, I've been able to realize my dream of traveling the world for a year. I'm 6 months into my trip and I've been posting photos or updates about where I am in the world on facebook about 2 or 3 times a week. While many people have expressed appreciation for the updates or interest in what I'm doing, I've noticed about 7-10 friends who used to interact with me all the time on FB and real life have totally stopped liking/commenting/sending messages although they're still very active on the site. I kind of suspect some of them have blocked me from their timelines. I know not everyone will have an opportunity like this and I try to be sensitive to that. I'm not preachy about "the importance of travel", or posting pics of 5 star hotel rooms and fancy restaurants (I'm doing this as cheaply as possible, mostly hostels in developing countries and couchsurfing.) At the same time I LOVE seeing others' travel pics and, well, want to share some of the exciting, amazing things I'm experiencing with people in my life. But some people seem put off by this, so I'm wondering - am I being a jerk? What's the etiquette here?
A friend of mine (let's call her "Sarah") came over for dinner at my flat last week. Some way through the meal (just after the first bottle of wine was finished) she told us that her partner had recently been tested for a very serious medical condition. She then said that she "hadn't intended to talk about it". She will have recently received the results of this test, and I'm wondering whether it's appropriate to ask her what the result of the test was. I care a lot about Sarah and her partner (who is an incredibly warm and wonderful person), but I don't want to intrude. On the other hand, I don't want to be unsupportive. A few details are below the fold. [more inside]
I'm about to finish my PhD this coming Spring in the U.S., and although the funding I received was specifically for creating "practitioners" I'd actually like to sharpen my research and publication skills via a post-doc. The thing is, most researchers in my area are in the U.K. How do I introduce myself to them? [more inside]
My partner and I got married a few months ago, and now we are receiving Christmas cards from people who had not sent us any before. Why? [more inside]
My SO applied for, was interviewed for, and subsequently was offered an academic post (lectureship). Some stuff just wasn't right from the outset, and all the contact with the department made it clear that it's not the right place to be working. Please help us to say 'no thanks' correctly. [more inside]
Usually I think of sending flowers when I won't be able to attend a funeral. I will be attending one this week, for a pretty close relative, and another relative asked me to go in on some flowers. Is it customary to send flowers even if you're attending? This is in the US.
Suppose two adverse parties meet in a formal legal setting (for instance, suppose plaintiff is being deposed and defendant shows up to observe). Should the parties shake hands? Would it be rude if one of the parties doesn't want to shake hands? I certainly appreciate that the lawyers or other representatives of the parties should shake hands, but what (if any) are the customary duties of civility with respect to hand-shaking between adverse parties themselves? Is it necessary, or is a grim-but-civil "How do you do?" statement between parties enough? (Or is this simply a huge plate of beans that I'm overthinking?) I guess my own view is that there is significant tension between the basic duties of civility between any two members of society and the hostile behavior or insult that has created a lawsuit.
Here's the thing: I don't have a land-line. Over Thanksgiving, my mother got upset at the thought that she couldn't reach me late at night if there were some kind of emergency - the dreaded "3 am phone call." I understand her worry, but I'm feeling very resistant to the idea of keeping the phone on at night. In part, this because I know that most of the calls I'll get will just be annoying and unwanted (I have a fairly severe telemarketing issue) but I think there is also a kind of psychological resistance. I'm a slave to my phone already for all these hours of the day, and it feels good to know it won't be bothering me while I'm sleeping. I'm reluctant to give that up. Can you help me sort through these issues? [more inside]
Given that many people are divided about Google Glass, with some people especially resistant to even the idea of someone wearing them, how, when and what would be appropriate for someone wearing them? I'd especially like to hear feedback from people who are averse to the concept. [more inside]
Some friends are throwing us a wedding reception and have requested "no gifts" on the invitation. Can I somehow ask them to change that or is that just the done thing now? [more inside]