- Did your dog attack the holiday ham just as your guests were arriving?
- Do you feel you have to write thank-notes to holiday party guests who brought you a hostess gift?
- Did you receive a spectacular present from a colleague you didn’t give a present to, and how did you react?
- Are you annoyed at our ‘forced hugging culture’ where everyone feels they have to give-a-hug-to-get-a-hug? Or do you think it’s cozy cool?
- Did your famously misanthropic brother show up for dinner with a plus one and there was no place at the already over-crowded dinner table?
- Did your brother-in-law forget to bring the promised dessert?
- How did you manage to get that last staggering guest to go home?
- How did you handle holiday “forced hugging”?
My fav word this month is ‘tidy’.
- To rediscover the difference between what I want and what I need. To have all I need and want all I have.
- Eat new foods.
- Never forget my shopping bags or list.
- Do one thing every day that scares you (me). ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
- Read two books a month.
- Be a better listener and stop interrupting.
- Don’t let anyone tuck me into a “forced hug.”
- Use “Thank You” more and “Sorry” less.
- Be politically more responsible.
- Clean up my manners.
Past Failed Resolutions — that I’ve given up on:
- Saying that I’ll cook more–I hate the cleaning up.
- Saying that I’ll walk more–I hate walking in the cold.
- Saying that I’ll make new friends–I don’t pay enough attention to the ones I already have.
- Saying that I’ll restart a gym membership–when I hate the smell of gyms.
- Saying that I’ll write every day–some days I simple cannot.
- Saying that I won’t eat as much chocolate–I love chocolate.
Resolutions I’ve totally given up making:
- Get more sleep.
- Be a better gardener.
- Be more thrifty.
- Wast less time on the Internet.
- Loose weight.
- Entertain more.
- Exercise more.
- Drink less wine, but better wine.
- Eat less chocolate.
Catch us up on your pet peeves and Dos + Don’ts. I bet you’ve got plenty of them, because we do.
–Didi, Newport, RI
–Didi Lorillard, Newport, RI/New York, New York
–Socially Ignorant in Manhattan
- Wear a collared long sleeve shirt, and if required, a freshly presses coat (jacket) and tie.
- Shine those leather shoes.
- Clip those nasty fingernails, floss those teeth and check for debris in your mustache and beard.
- You think that nobody will notice the coffee stain on your shirt, but they will.
- After all, you don't want to be the object of a coworker's affections while auditioning for advancement in the company.
- Bringing a plus one means you're either insecure or you aren't interested in widening your circle of associates so, circulate and socialize.
- The snack will have coated your stomach if you've had too much to drink.
- Pace yourself by drinking a glass of water before imbibing every alcoholic drink.
- Or find a grouping of more than two people.
- It can be annoying when someone starts pumping your hand.
- If your hands are naturally sweaty, brush your palms against your side to dry them.
- It's an especially polite thing to do when you're not sure who knows whom.
- Act smart at an office party by asking your coworkers about themselves, their families, and holiday plans,
- You can even use the opportunity to set up a work related conversation over lunch or on a call at another time.
- Many of us simply don't enjoy talking shop at the shop while attending a social gathering, so ask for their calling card or offer yours to them. Look at theirs earnestly before making a comment and placing it on you or in your bag.
- Not everyone likes to be pawed over in public.
- After the six second handshake, keep your hands to yourself.
- Resting your hand on someone's shoulder or holding them around the waist at an Office Party could make the recipient of your affection feel extremely uncomfortable.
- BroHugs should be fast -- as in the Obama hug.
- Kisses are best stopped as a quick peck on the cheek.
–Fuddy Duddy Parents, Boston
- Take the focus off the sleeping arrangements because they may be as apprehensive about their sleeping in your house as you are.
- Don't take her to her room, let your son lead the way.
- Tell her to let you know if she needs anything, such as more towels or bottled water.
- Don't turn down the beds for them as a way of ordering them which beds to sleep in.
- Let your son and his girlfriend choose where they sleep.
- Remind them to help themselves to food and beverages.
- Once they've settled in, make her comfortable by asking her if she has any food allergies and to be sure to tell you if there is anything she cannot eat.
- Most importantly, be good memory makers, so that they'll wish to come home again.
–Elizabeth, Charleston, SC
- You asked about the good etiquette, which has always been that the woman extends her hand first for a handshake, or offers a kiss on the cheek by cocking her head, initiating the physical contact. Perhaps she'll be rebuffed, but it is her purgative. Unlike the elbow or fist bump, which more than likely has been agreed upon.
- The person going in for the greeting hug picks up on the body language, captures the nuance ritual as his own, and bumps elbows.
- Elbow bump and fist bump where two people touch elbows or fists are both informal ways of greeting someone you already know or whom you know of through a mutual friend..
- By 2009 'elbow bump' was considered for word of 'the year' by the NEW OXFORD AMERICAN DICTIONARY.
- Interest in the elbow bump as an informal greeting took hold during the 2006 avian flu scare, the 2009 swine flu outbreak, and by the time of the 2014 Ebola threat, USA health officials were supporting the use to prevent the spread of germs.
- By 2011, The World Health Organization and The Association for the Advancement of Science -- as well as many colleges -- had already endorsed and encouraged the elbow bump as the polite customary greeting.
- Then. if you must, in the moment say, "You wouldn't want to catch my scratchy throat." Or, "You wouldn't want what I'm just getting over." And they won't.
- Personally, as a greeting, I'm a big fan of the queen's wave. A slight wave of the right hand mimicking the blade on your windshield during a drizzle. It helps to keep that modicum of distance in a busy gathering, or when bumping into someone in the neighborhood.
–Mr. Curmudgeon, Chicago
- Purchase takeout food from a place that you know well and tip accordingly.
- If you don't know the place, give the counter people a token of your appreciation by way of the tip jar, opt for 10% on the iPad, or simply click on No Tip.
- Upon your return, the mer fact that you're returning should be a signal to you that you liked the food well enough to try it again, and tipping on their iPad won't feel as awkward.
- Tipping should make you feel good, not manipulated. If you're feeling grouchy and you haven't sampled the food and/or beverage before, don't tip.
- Another way of looking at iPad tipping is: "Well, if that were me or my child or friend doing the serving, I would want customers to tip me, him or her."
How do we go about choosing a monogram or logo for our wedding stationery? One that we can use for the wedding invitation and other wedding stationery, as well as for our thank-you notes and letter paper or correspondence cards going forward.
–S+P, New York, New York
- This gold monogram (upper left) with the letter S entwined with a P represents the first letters of the last names of the bride and groom as they appeared on their wedding stationery and invitation.
- Whether you choose to continue using the monogram or logo on letter paper or correspondence cards--or even linens and bar glasses--once you're married is something you can decide as time goes by.
- This first monogram below with four initials represents a couple who use their own last names. The monogram forms a line of her first and last name initials followed by his (no middle initials).
- Start by going on to the websites of the various stationery greats such as Dempsey & Carroll and The Printery in Locus Valley, NY, etc. to get an idea of what speaks to you, what gives you that "It's us!" go-head feeling.
- There are, also, excellent online stationers such as Paper Culture and Minted where you can choose a monogram free of charge.
My first marriage ended in divorce, but I’ve gone by my first husband’s last name professionally for twelve years.
–newlyweds, Newport, RI
- Will the bride be using her maiden name and/or her professional name plus her new husband's last name? Consider how she is best known.
- If the bride is not changing her last name to her husband's last name, or hyphenating it to his, does she include her middle name and/or maiden name, with her professional last name? Her choice.
- In printing out the names, are both middle names spelled out? Or are both middle names represented simply by an initial with a period after it? Both middle names should be represented in the same fashion: spelled out or represented with the first initial followed by a period. Elizabeth B. Livingston and William N. Livingston or Elizabeth Bennett Livingston and William Norman Livingston. Follow style.
- Since some of the wedding announcements are being sent overseas, do you need to make the location Newport, Rhode Island, United States? If they know you live in Newport, Rhode Island, United States, then just the city, Newport, is perfect. Especially when Newport, Rhode Island, United States, already appears on the envelope's return address
- The big decision of whether to use thermography or engraving may be decided by your budget.
- Embossing is no longer an option since the US Post Office now has a band on blind embossing and will not return an envelope that is mistakenly addressed when the return address is embossed.
- Should the envelopes be lined? Not necessarily.
- Do you need a loose sheet of tissue over the card? Perhaps, if the card is engraved. Follow formality.
- Would you like to focus attention on the the weight of the card and its information by having rounded edges with colorful beveling that create a subtle frame for your announcement? It is a lovely option.
- Are you planning on using an eye-catching motif in the heading, such as a family crest or a monogram that combines your first and last name initials. Or perhaps a delightful decoration?
- A brilliant type color and/or boarder/beveling add a memorable touch.
- A motif of a crest or monogram as a heading are also attractive focus point.
- Or are just your names enough?
- When addressing the envelopes yourself by hand, use a really good felt tipped pen or fountain pen instead of a ballpoint.
Photograph courtesy of Dempsey & Carroll.
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House Guest Don'ts
- Whether you're sure -- or not -- about your intentions of establishing a committed relationship, do send a thank- you note on your correspondence card or a thank-you card.
- To help your hostess with the meal planning be sure to let her know exactly when you're departing.
- If you've made plans to have a meal outside the house at any point during your stay, make your plans known to her so she's not expecting you and your girlfriend for that meal.
- Learn the time-frame for meals so that you're present to sit down on time.
More Dos for Fitting In As A Guest
- Before making a trip into town ask your hostess if there is anything you can pick up at the store for them: milk, butter, eggs, bread, dog food, paper towels.
- Offer to help with meal preparations and jump in and help with the clearing and cleaning up. My guess is that you're not there to be waited on, but to see how you fit in.
- It goes without saying that you would leave your phone in your room while dining with the family.
- Offer to take out the garbage, clean the grill, walk the dog.
- In this situation where there are children, play ball with them. Take them for a hike, bike ride, or a swim. Join in with impromptu board and card games.
- The last morning of your stay ask your girlriend if you should strip your bed and take your sheets and towels to the laundry basket. Empty your wastebasket, take any glasses or bottles to the kitchen. In other words tidy up your room.
- If you've been a guest for a period of time, during your visit seek out a local florist to have flowers sent to the house after your departure.
- Lastly, no matter how long your visit, simply asking, "What can I do to help?" is a terrifically considerate gift, whether you've brought a material present with you or not.
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My best friend says that I cannot wear my new knockout red dress to an upcoming wedding because it is not appropriate wedding guest dress code attire to wear a bright red dress. Red is my color and the style is my lucky style!
Why does she think I shouldn’t wear a red dress to our mutual friend’s wedding? It’s a beautiful bright and happy dress!
–Lucy, Newport, RI
- There are not as many dos and don'ts to wedding dress code etiquette as you might expect, but wearing a red dress is at the top of the list.
- A red dress at any wedding is a distraction. By wearing a red dress you would be saying to those assembled, "Look at me!"
- Going into fall and winter the colors, burgundy, wine, cranberry, blush, ruby and berry would all be more subtle shades of red. Stay away from bright red, rose, scarlet, candy red, and crimson.
- All eyes should be on the bride on her wedding day.
- It would be incredibly rude to try to upstage the bride on her special day.
My question is about wedding guest dress code. My stepson is getting married this October, an outdoor wedding at 4:00 pm. His biological mother will also be at the wedding. What is the appropriate attire for me? I’m 70, petite and haven’t worn a dress in years.
I would consider wearing a dress, just haven’t a clue what to look for.
–Ann, Savannah, GA
- I also think that an outdoor wedding may call for a lovely jacket.
- Dressy enough, but too dressy.
Dating etiquette was quite different when I was a teen. I’m trying to keep up with what’s going on with my young teenager and her friends. My daughter’s friend (let’s call her Amy) had a date for her school prom with a boy (we’ll call Johnny) from a neighboring town. At the last minute Johnny backed out.
Johnny and Amy connected through my daughter on social media. It seemed to be an amicable friendship. Even though they never actually met in person, they messaged everyday for three months. Now Amy and my daughter are wondering what went wrong? How could Johnny break the date to go to the prom with Amy without offering an excuse?
How do we teach our teenagers to navigate dating on social media in a more civilized and polite manner?
- In ghosting, which predates texting, you simply dump the person you were dating, courting or had previously had a crush on by going cold turkey and not answer texts or any kind of messaging. The dumper acts as though he/she never even knew the dumpee. Leaving the dumped to lick their wounds wondering what they did wrong. Too lazy, the wuss doesn't offer an explanation.
- There is no fear of obligation or commitment.
- The heartbreak is allegedly less devastating when the relationship peters out -- drifts out of your orbit.
- You circle round and round each other (much like wagging dogs sniffing each other in the park) through social media before making a decision as to whether to actually meet for the first time in person.
- Or you return to the relationship you miss a lot.
- It's self-protective.
- A common theme in online dating is keeping an eye on your options.
- In the gay community orbiting is a diplomatic way of cultivating being part of the community.
- People orbit when they are not ready to commit but don't want to totally eliminate contact because they might miss out on being able to reconnect going forward.
- Dming on a post is a way of getting into another person's orbit.
- Orbiting lets us keep tabs on people whether it's a platonic or romantic relationship.
- Not texting someone back is as rude as not returning a phone call or answering an email.
- On the other hand, if s/he's a narcissist, s/he'll be back -- so block him or her.
- Orbiting is creepy. Like stalking, so watch out. Especially if you've been ghosted and s/he's orbiting you. Block him or her.
- Us this incident as an opportunity to teach empathy.
- From time to time monitor your teen's Internet behavior in the hope that you don't find that s/he is wasting time orbiting, or is being hauntingly orbited by someone else.
About wearing white before Memorial Day. What’s with the leader of our country and the world doing wearing white before Memorial Day?
- Nowadays, winter white is a marvelously chic color.
Invited to an informal no neckwear wedding in June. Do I have to wear a jacket? I’m not part of the wedding party, just a roommate from college. The wedding is not in a church, but outside. The groom isn’t wearing a tie, but he is wearing a jacket.
–JG, Portsmouth, RI
- By showing up in a respectable jacket you won't risk being mistaken for one of the caterer's waitstaff.
- A pocket handkerchief -- without too many points -- would be swell as well.
Accepting A Compliment