–HT, New York, New York
Don't be intimidated by the popularity
of sophisticated TV chefs, and ...
- you don't need a holiday to entertain friends sharing platters over plated courses.
- Dinner for four, six or eight becomes easier with practice--the more times you handle the drill, the easier it gets.
- For Holiday Cocktails, put out a ham with a variety of cheeses, breads and crackers and they'll all come--happy to snack off of festive paper plates!
- When a guest offers to bring something, say, "Yes, please!"
- If not a salad or dessert, then they know to bring a decent bottle of wine or a six-pack of craft-beer.
- To host a party, you don't need a huge budget, just a slow-cooker for that bolognese sauce, chicken curry or turkey chili.
- Google a good recipe and be sure you make enough for leftovers the next day. And remember: Doubling or tripling that recipe can be tricky when adding salt and spices, so hold back and season to taste in stages.
- When inviting up to eight guests call or text your invitation in advance and when they respond, "YES! YES!"
- Follow up with the time and a mention of what you'll be serving, as someone will be either allergic to seafood, or doesn't eat meat, gluten, sugar, dairy, etc. Then you'll know to add a veggie casserole to your menu.
- You needn't drastically alter your menu, because picky eaters know to snack ahead of time--and are adept at pushing their food around the plate to make it look as though they've enjoyed the food.
- Informal/Casual: no ties (dress code) or tablecloth (tabletop); drinks and canapes/snacks (cocktails) followed by a two to three courses buffet style -- perhaps seated in the kitchen -- dinner of lasagne or risotto, salad, bread and large paper napkins. Make the formality somewhere between a kitchen supper and a seated dinner.
- But when there's a guest's birthday, engagement, or promotion to toast, for dessert serve cake and champagne or Prosecco in old-fashioned, mismatched champagne glasses (from your local thrift shop) or flute glasses from Anthropologie.
- feel really special. That's your number one job as a host, and don't forget it (even if you hugely dislike your brother's girlfriend). Every guest is important and if a guest is bringing a date, you want to know the date's name, and a tidbit about them that will make it easy for you to introduce him or her and seat them beside a sympatico guest.
- Give the invitee a deadline as to when to get back to you with a 'yes' or a 'no,' and how many to expect (just the invitee or will there be 2 of you total?), because there may well be someone else you'd like to invite (but don't say that). You don't want no-shows, especially since you'll be setting the table ahead of time. Say, "Can you, please, let me know by Friday the 10th, if you can come for dinner on the 20th?"
- Make it clear that you're cooking dinner and will be expecting them to show up-- and you're not just ordering take out when they decide to show up.
- Depending upon how soon out your invitation for dinner was extended, follow up your phone call or text with a reminder a couple of days ahead of time: "Looking forward to having you both (or you and George) for dinner Saturday night, please come at 7:30." You might add, "we're having a roast." In other words, let them know it is not burgers on the grille for when they show up (unless, of course, you will be grilling).
- When you know the guest is really really fussy about what s/he drinks and eats, suggest they bring a beverage, and do ask about food allergies.
- Regret, by declining the invitation: When an invitation doesn't feel special enough for you: don't accept, because you'll probably end up as a no-show, if a better invitation comes along (and that's really rude); or regret if you know you'll be really really late, because you're attending another event first (which is equally rude when the cook is timing dinner).
- Get back to the host in a timely fashion with a call or text with your YES or NO within 48 hours.
- Accept or decline promptly: When Accepting: state who, exactly, you're accepting for: "Janet will be out of town on business, so it'll just be me flying solo," or "I'm bringing my latest crush Hugo, if that's alright." Add a tidbit about Hugo, so your host knows something about him that might be of interest to the assemblage of guests. A good guest just doesn't randomly bring their own guest without clearing it with the host ahead of time -- even if your plus one is a dog.
- Verify the time you're expected.
- When you're running late, phone ahead, which will allow the host to hold dinner for your arrival, or simply insist that the host starts serving dinner without you.
- Ahead of time, offer to bring a beverage or a "dish" meaning a dessert or a hummus and chips for the cocktail hour. However, if you've offered to buy or make the dessert, you better not forget your obligation.
- Don't fret about a HOSTESS GIFT, bring a good bottle of wine or six-pack of craft-beer.
- Be a self-sustaining guest. Find out where to leave your coat tucking your phone into a pocket or simply turn it off. Ask what you can do to help out, or offer to: Help pass smacks, make drinks, light the candles, put on the music, clear the table or fill the wine glasses.
- Most importantly, introduce yourself to every guest that you don't already know.
- When there is a guest you don't like, make a beeline for him or her first and get it over with. Once you've been polite, you're not duty-bound to talk to that person beyond that.
- Every guest is special and no one should feel trapped by good manners.
- Cooking for family and friends is about as personal as it gets.
- A transgender person would be identified by his or her first name, and if that's not clear because she or he is introduced as Brook, Alex, Alexis, Jackie, Jamie, Kelly, Lee, or Leslie, Morgan, Pat, Robin, Taylor, etc., the combination of their hair style, makeup, and clothing might possibly give you a clue.
- So those who identify female would take the lead in introducing and shaking hands first.
- In an all women or all men situation, the person who knows the person introduces their friend or colleague, even if s/he may know him/her by reputation only.
- INTRODUCE YOURSELF: When the person you're with forgets to introduce you, step forward and say your name along with a tidbit of information to connect you and perhaps get the conversation going. "Josh Goodrich, George and I work together at GL&C."
- In work situations, labels can be tricky. Is the person you're with your boss, your underling, your coworker? Best to label him or her as your "colleague"; "We work together," "We're on the same team at ..." "We used to both work at ..." "We met at Stamford."
- In social situations, labels can be much dicer. Apparently, it's never "cool" to give a romantic unmarried relationship a label. Hopefully, at some point, after you've moved in together, you have the "What are we conversation," about how to label your relationship to make it less confusing for new, as well as old, acquaintances. Even if the relationship isn't "traditional" -- we all know that everyone does intimacy differently. Sometimes the pace is confusing, sometimes you just know. But give us a clue: "I want you to meet my girlfriend, Amy Scott." "Eric and I live together and he's the father of my two kids."
Social faux pas:
"It's nice to meet you!"
- If you're meeting someone for the first time, how do you know that it is nice to meet them? You don't, unless ...
- If your friend had previously told you how nice the guy is, then you can say, "Jake says you're a great guy (a hard worker, a super good tennis player)."
–PK, Brooklyn, NY
- "Light Phone" - sets limits on time-stealing apps.
- "Digital Detox" packages - are available in luxury hotels ($295.)
- Set up mental speed bumps by putting a scrunchie or rubber band around your phone to make you stop and think before using.
- Or change the screen lock to one that asks three questions: Why now? What for? and What else?
- Be alone with your thoughts and pay more attention to your surroundings instead of your phone.
- Toss out apps that don't make you happy.
- People who don't charge their phones in their bedroom, use them less.
- Start with agreeing to stop charging phones in the bedroom.
- Take 24 hours during a weekend for a joint "trial separation" from your phone(s).
- The next step is a get-away-weekend without your six-inch glass-and-steel rectangles.
- Make a goal of one hour a day for cellphone use--perhaps picking up your phone only 20 times.
- When suddenly finding yourself sucked into your phone--self-correct.
Look people in the eye and listen when they talk.
- Phubbing is snubbing the one you're with.
- Hey, put down that cellphone! You're snubbing me!
- Stop phubbing your partner.
- Get it into your head that phubbing is a bad, modern-day habit.
- 79% say phubbing hurts their ability to interact with their partners.
- Using a handset while with a partner undermines the quality of the relationship.
- Researches say phubbing is a relationship buster up there with money problems, bad sex and having kids.
- There are increasing numbers of people in long-term relationships that feel they must compete with their partner's smartphone for attention.
- Are you a nomophobe (no-mobile-phone phobia)? Scared to be without your mobile phone?
- Keep the phone away from you on silent; for instance in a tote bag or backpack or up on a shelf.
- When you feel you have to check on something legitimately important, give an explanation to your partner first and then check your phone.
- Never be defensive when you get called out for technoference (the interference of technology in couple relationships)--it's somebody's way of telling you they'd like to connect in person.
- How was the person behind them (me) expecting HIM to hold the door open–when he couldn’t even see me (he didn’t have eyes in the back of his head)–but he apologized for not holding the door open? Really, it’s a bit much.
- Saying “sorry” that you don’t have the exact change: why should you–you’re not a bank teller or cashier?
- Apologizing to the caller who had the wrong number? Give me a break! Mistakes happen when your pad hits the wrong key, but there is no need to say “sorry” to the caller.
- Don’t pass the buck. Own up to the mistake, or don’t make the apology.
- Acknowledge your mistake and briefly explain what you did wrong.
- The fact that you are taking the time to make an apology will be appreciated.
- In winding up an apology offer some kind or recompense. Such as:
To the person whose reputation you smeared, tell that person that you will write a letter to the editor of the local paper admitting your error.
To the person you stood up Saturday night, suggest another meeting: “Let’s have a drink after work.”
My question is about the etiquette + manners of ghosting. She ghosted me and I want to know why?
After meeting on social media and messaging for months followed by months of dating, she’s disappeared. It’s like I can’t believe it. Over the past six months I fell hard.
I was actually worried that something terrible had happened to her. How was I to know she wasn’t still alive? So, of course, I started stalking her on social media. What I was looking for was evidence that she was 1.) still alive and functioning, 2.) she was seeing someone else. I almost wished that she wasn’t still alive, because it would be less painful and I could mourn her.
But there were no tributes to her posted by family and friends. Her posts were the same as always about fashion and friends. Friends, whom I thought were becoming my friend as well. Although, I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking to meet any of those friends for drinks to find out why she was ghosting me.
Why? I am supposed to be an upright, secure professional; smart enough to figure out matters of the heart and win her back without enlisting outside help.
Looking back at previous relationships, it seems I’ve been the one to break it off; either because I was going away to college, relocating to another city or simply wasn’t into drinking every night. In that case, I told her that she had a problem and that if she didn’t control her drinking, I couldn’t be with her anymore. Ultimately, it was her choice, she couldn’t face the fact that she was a drunk.
As far as I could see, there was nothing wrong with my current ex or with our relationship. Not a clue of another boyfriend or that she didn’t like being with me and the sex was outrageous. When she stopped returning messages, I asked her why she wasn’t replying and to tell me what was wrong. In the past, she always replied quickly. Now, nothing.
I tried to get her to meet me, and I almost waited for her outside of work, but decided that ambushing her would put her in an uncomfortable position; especially if someone was with her. I’m not going to spy on her.
Even if she messaged me, “it’s not you, it’s me” the blow would be softened. Or if she said, “I’m really busy,” but of course I would be able to see that she wasn’t too busy to be posting on Instagram.
What should I do? Last month I bought her pearl earrings she admired for Valentine’s Day, which I should probably return.
–Jack, Brooklyn, NY
- Investigate new features, such as from Hinge, that send the message "Your Turn" as a follow-up to all messages sent. Some give fair warning: "NO GHOSTING ON BUMBLE." Use apps that encourage feedback from the recipient.
- Some see the rise in ghosting as an intrinsically technology-driven problem.
- Some blame the childlike behavior (as in the childish word 'ghosting') on the narcissist who doesn't respect the rules of the game and consequently hurts other people's feelings again and again.
- Others blame the game on the anonymity offered by a screen, the sense that the world is their oyster and swiping is their knife to finding the right match--after opening the oyster to find the perfect pearl they can do anything they want.
- In that vein, bad behavior becomes bad manners and etiquette.
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I am going on holiday next week to Marco Island, Florida, and I am not sure if I can/should pack my white jeans? Is white alright for February in Florida?
–Lynda, Boston, MA
- Even skinny jeans tend to be heavier in weight than a lighter fabric pant. Check the projected average weather in Marco Island, FL, in February and you'll see that it can be anywhere between 74 and 56 degrees.
- Since jeans are heavier than white cotton or linen slacks, jeans would take up a bit more space in your bag.
- Should you be a guest at a private club, jeans are usually verboten--not allowed, even if they're white. So, you would have to know the dress code for that particular club. A phone call or email to the club should clear that up.
- If you have a pair of fresh white linen slacks or gauzy palazzo pants--and you have room in your carryon--you'll surely wear them.
- Just in case, tuck a liquid stain remover pen ($2.99 at Target) into your toiletry bag.
- It’s time to hunker down: nail that negotiation, strive for zen in your workspace, refresh your CV (curriculum vitae), and shop local.
Small business are hurting, especially, here on the island where many were closed for five days during the gas outage — and some may not even reopen.
- Mull some wine, make hot chocolate from scratch, and try to remember the last time there wasn’t a winter without a snow fall. It’s going on February and still no snow this year on Aquidneck Island!
- The hospitality was super from the valet/bellmen, valet/bellwomen and housekeepers, to the barmen, and food providers and servers.
- 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.
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–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.
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–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.
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