Episode 13: The Office Party and the Pre-Party Party
On this episode of Awesome Etiquette
How do you plan an office party for a co-worker when the guest would prefer that some other co-workers aren’t there? Lizzie and Dan have the answer.
Speaker 1: Maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy. That's old fashioned.
Speaker 1: Watch. How is he post and damn Post Act as host and hostess.
Speaker 1: They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person. Really
Speaker 2: Friendliness.
Speaker 2: Welcome toe Lucky Episode 13 of Awesome Etiquette, which is proud to be part of the infinite guest network. I'm Dan Post Senning,
Speaker 1: and I'm Lizzie Post from the Emily Post Institute. Dude, you really gonna You're really going to say Lucky e feel like e really scared about this episode now. All right, let's jump right in. So I just got back from a crushing trip, Crushing E lost. I went down to New Orleans and was finally in the dome, which was amazing. I loved it so much, and
Speaker 2: I literally cried on my way out of the game. I was I had tears. Coming was absolute heartbreak, such a
Speaker 1: heart. But it was a great game and cheers
Speaker 2: to the 40 Niners, but I like I definitely that that was really hard.
Speaker 1: First time in 22 games
Speaker 2: and and we lose the first home loss in 22.
Speaker 1: That's what That's what I saw in the paper anyway, I believe it was, and it was just that was crushing. But it was. It was an interesting trip, to say the least. What I did get to meet my little God daughter. And that was wonderful. And it went very well. And the out of pearl necklace over the years went really well. Yeah, so that was That was a great suggestion. And it was a great trip. And then I was in New York for Airbnb. And let me tell you, that is an amazing way to host a party like I'm done with the campaign. So this is all my own opinion at this point? Like, quite literally, I had so many ideas while I was there, like one. I have a house that's not the best house for entertaining. And the thought of being able to rent something like in downtown Burlington, for instance, that is a nice apartment that I could entertain in for the night would be fantastic. I also have all of my friends are allergic to cats, and I have two cats, so it's like of course, I could actually host a party and and be the host this time because all the time I'm always going over to their houses. I feel badly that I cannot invite them to my place.
Speaker 2: Well, and this is a bit of a flip of perspective for me because I would think, you know, you wouldn't rent a place to throw a big party in it. That might be considered rude.
Speaker 1: Check the host of the Airbnb that it's okay to do
Speaker 2: that. Their message boards that are set up for this is the idea. Well, the
Speaker 1: air B on the Airbnb website. It's just something that you could do, like the apartment that we rented for the for the dinner party that we threw was specifically one for entertaining. Like that was one of the things that he had this apartment set up specifically for. And so it was a great spot. It worked really well. It was beautiful. All the guests loved it. I loved getting the host with Spike. He was really fun. Um, it was It was a really cool experience. It definitely opened my eyes to the different ways that you could. You could utilize a service like an Airbnb.
Speaker 2: You're putting me in the head space like getting a big sweet to host an event. If you were doing it in a more traditional hotel or something, that could work the same way.
Speaker 1: A lot of places that people will rent out a restaurant which can get pretty pricey. And you you have Onley that restaurants, food, thio do the catering and such. And this kind of gives you, I think, a few a little bit more freedom. And, um, they had talked about doing things like bringing in your own family photos or things you know, so that it makes it like home here and cozy. I was like, That's such a great idea.
Speaker 1: It was very cool. I
Speaker 2: know we've got some questions coming up later in the episode about hosting and
Speaker 1: we dio
Speaker 2: we dio this hopefully will set the table, set the
Speaker 1: tone eyes that what you were going for, e que. That was cute. And with that, let's get to some of your questions, E.
Speaker 1: But there's so much to learn how to dio. Sure, there's a lot to learn, but it's worth it, and learning is easy. One way is by watching others
Speaker 1: this'll question comes from Linda
Speaker 2: Linda asks. I'm hosting a party for a work associate, and she requests. I exclude some work associates she does not enjoy. How do I handle with those who are excluded?
Speaker 1: That's a really tough one, but I have to venture that A. We're hosting a party for someone else, so they are consulted on the guest list. And on top of it, if this is a social party like this is for, ah, wedding shower or this is for, um, you know, your birthday or something like that, where you're the guest of honor, it's It's okay for this to be completely handled outside of work, and you don't have to worry about who from work is being excluded then. But it's not something I would talk about at the office. It's not something that I would I wouldn't hand out invitations at the office. I would make it totally a social party, not an office party.
Speaker 2: That that makes a lot of sense. So you would not. I think it's okay to exclude someone if you were doing it at the office or if you were distributing the even the invitation, say at the office.
Speaker 1: Double negatives, confusing me a little bit. Are you asking that if if it is, if you're gonna plan on doing stuff at the office, then the people should be included. Yes, I would say that if if this is going to be done at the office, you just have the whole office there. If it's done like, you know, on a lunch break or something in a conference room or right after work and you're having it actually, on the premise of work that I think makes sense.
Speaker 2: No doorman or velvet ropes at the
Speaker 1: office. Yeah, exactly. But also no, you know, no exclusion if it's within if it's within work. But if this is just simply, you know, ah, party that you guys air co workers and you're gonna throw your coworker a party. But it's gonna be outside of the office. Then it's perfectly OK,
Speaker 2: so e. I like the approach of thinking about it, whether it's at work or whether it's outside the work environment. The question that was starting to come up in my mind was, Would you ever talk to the guest of honor about not excluding someone as the host feeling responsible for hosting this event where you ever say to, You know, I really don't feel comfortable not inviting only two out of 10 team members or something like that.
Speaker 1: This kind of it's depends. If it's the Social Party, then we don't have to go that route. It doesn't have to be like, you know, when you were in second grade and your mom was like, You can't not invite that one kid from the party. But I do think that if it's at work and she's making that request, I would explain, you know, Hey, Kelly, I How is big random names? Hey, Kelly, I really don't feel comfortable excluding someone since we're gonna be doing this at the actual office. You know, worst, you know, worse comes to worse. It's your baby shower. They get you baby present. You send him a thank you know, like that's not
Speaker 2: too bad. But as a host offset, you would honor their request. I would
Speaker 1: honor their request off site. I would definitely honor their request because it's their party. I mean, this is for them, and it's you want them to feel comfortable. And if there are people they really don't get along with then I think that's something that you
Speaker 2: should respect. Well, there you have it, Linda. Good luck and have fun with the party.
Speaker 2: Our next question is a hosting question.
Speaker 2: Our listener asks. Our son and girlfriend will be visiting from out of state to attend my birthday party with a large group of friends next week whom he has not met. We have plans to go out to a dinner with my son and girlfriend over the weekend. Would it be acceptable to invite a few special friends over for an hour before dinner so they can meet them before the party later in the week? Them being the son and girlfriend thought it would be good for them to know a few people before the event. Your input would be appreciated. Thanks very much.
Speaker 1: I love this question. I love it because it's so thoughtful. It's like, you know, you've got your your son and his girlfriend are coming to visit and you know there's gonna be a big party, but they're not going to know anybody. Oh, wouldn't it be nice if I helped them get to know some people? So? So that that's just that's so considering a little old school about it is there is something a little old school about it, and it's It's such a lovely old school sentiment. I think it's a wonderful idea if you invited a few friends over a little earlier kind of like a pre cocktail party party or something like that. And I think that's a wonderful sentiment and a great way. Thio Welcome not just your son home, but his new girlfriend into Well, I don't know if she's new girlfriend but his girlfriend into your family and your circle of friends, because if this is a relationship that lasts and continues on, she might be a part of the family. And what a great way to just sort of be so inclusive.
Speaker 2: I couldn't agree more. I
Speaker 1: think it's a
Speaker 2: charming idea and, uh, wish you good luck in your party planning. No,
Speaker 1: we hope that helps and way Do we really do want to commend you on thinking about how to put everyone at ease because that really is the heart of etiquette?
Speaker 1: Meghan
Speaker 2: has, ah, holiday question that came via Twitter. She's wondering Minnesota Snow has me wondering when two couples have to start sending holiday cards. Can you help? Especially if couples have no kids or pets? Is it expected to send greetings or weird? If you dio,
Speaker 1: it is definitely not weird. Send a greeting. You could be a single person with no pets, maybe a plant or two, and it's totally okay to send a holiday greeting. And you don't have to include, like a big newsletter about what's been going on in your life. It could just be a simple, you know, beautiful card
Speaker 2: thinking of you,
Speaker 1: Happy holidays, Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or whatever it is that they celebrate. It's totally appropriate Thio to send that greeting and that that wish of goodwill. Um and no, you you don't need any
Speaker 2: photos or any. When I first read this question, they said, When is it appropriate to start doing this as a couple? And my first thought
Speaker 1: was, well, after Thanksgiving? Yeah, but now I'm thinking, maybe it's in
Speaker 2: the course of a relationship or the course of a lifetime. When
Speaker 1: is it appropriate to start sending cards as a couple? Are you in Pooja going to send cards as a couple this year?
Speaker 2: if we get our is together and do it, we absolutely should,
Speaker 1: especially because you just got engaged. That's like, No, but you're totally gonna send Christmas are, but
Speaker 2: you don't need to wait till you're engaged. Any time that you're thinking of yourself as a couple and it's something that you feel inspired to do together, it's entirely appropriate.
Speaker 1: I don't know. Do you think you would send? So let's say, um, girlfriends that you've had in the past who you didn't live with. Would you send a card from both of you as a as a holiday greeting card from you? As a couple? I never did. But I don't
Speaker 2: think there's anything wrong with it. If if if you thought of this person is your significant other and you wanted to approach your holiday that way, I don't think there's any reason
Speaker 1: not to, uh, I don't think there's a reason not to, but I don't think I personally would like. I think I would wait till I was living with someone and was probably someone I was planning on being with for a very long time. You
Speaker 2: know, I don't think that's Ah. That thought makes a lot of sense to me.
Speaker 1: Oh, I'm so glad you caught the when in that question because I was just thinking about it like, I don't know. You don't have to wait, then the final thing.
Speaker 2: You don't need to hit a certain age you could think about. It's a relationship marker, but you could also think of it. So that's something I'm going to do when I'm an adult. And I remember a very good friend of mine who used to send my parents a holiday card back in our college days. And what an impression that made you. He's such a nice young man
Speaker 1: that this
Speaker 2: card we got from him and it really did it made an impression. It was an opportunity to shine,
Speaker 1: you know, And I'll also say that even if you are in a couple, you don't have to send the card from the couple. You know, if it's still a young relationship, you could still send it on your own. And I think that that's that might be a way to still, um, go for the greeting, but maybe not put the pressure on the relationship that that might might make someone feel. So send away, Meghan, send away. And we hope that we hope maybe you'll send one to your favorite podcast, please.
Speaker 1: Christine writes to us about guest speakers and how to thank them, she writes. I run a group that meets monthly and has a different guest speaker every time. Sometimes the speaker is a member of the local business community, and I have a business card from them, making it easy to send a thank you note. However, sometimes the speaker is a community member with no business card. What is the best way to go about getting their address to send a thank you card? It seems like outright asking for an address from the speaker takes a bit of the charm away from the thank you while asking known friends Seems a bit stock Irish Thank you for your time. And I love the podcast. Cheers, Christine.
Speaker 2: And thank you, Christine, for taking such good care of your guest speakers.
Speaker 1: Yes, Dan and I are each guest speakers on a regular basis, and we appreciate people like you who host us. Well, it really is awful Nice, because no matter what, I don't care how much of an expert. You are in your field. You're always a little nervous. Like it's just nice to have someone putting you at ease. Absolutely. And
Speaker 2: you're a stranger in a new place. Often, we were just sort of batting it around in studio here at the V p. R. Who host us most excellently for recording this podcast. They recently had someone who was in here helping them with some new software, and apparently he made a real impression on people here. And they were. They were trying to think about what would be the best way to thank him. Maybe taking him out for dinner or something and that that kind of care for your guests is really, ah, hallmark of good etiquette. Um, and thank you Note for someone who's done something nice for you are done. Some something well for you is, uh is a great way to conclude that relationship a good way to put a bow on things at the end and having it arrive. A surprise is lovely, but you want to be sure that it arrives, and I think it's perfectly okay to ask. It's perfectly okay to get the information off a business card. If you don't wanna ask outright in person for someone to write a mailing address down, I don't think it's stalker ish to do a little bit of detective work to call their home office, ask their assistant or someone at their office. If there's ah ah mailing address where you could send them something and it doesn't need, you don't need to be explicit about it being a thank you note. And oftentimes there's a business address that's public that's publicly available might be on a website. If it's not on a business card, those air all places you might look. And once you've exhausted some of those options, I think it's it's not a bad idea to ask the person themselves, because what is it? My grandfather used to say? The best is the enemy of the good, and it would be absolutely the best
Speaker 1: the best if you didn't have to ask. But
Speaker 2: get that address. But if you can't go with the good, get it how you can and get that thank you note out the door
Speaker 1: to say goodbye to a hostess or not when leaving a party. Do you think it's necessary to a large gathering. Of course, it is a small dinner party or luncheon. Please advise. Thanks.
Speaker 1: Yeah. You need to say goodbye. I mean, unless you really can't find them. And I actually I love it. We answered this question on the dinner party download one time, and I think we talked about. So what would you like if you couldn't find them or you couldn't get their attention? Would you leave a posted on the refrigerator? And I was like, That's a brilliant I love it. Just hit
Speaker 2: him with a text.
Speaker 1: If you're driving down the driveway, I've actually done that where you know, you just you see the host, you can't catch their eye. You really have. You know, maybe this is a cocktail party and you've got dinner plans or theater tickets somewhere. You know you're going to a concert. Um, whatever it is, sometimes if it's a really large gathering, it just is too hard. And and I would say in an extreme situation, leave that little notice and that little text. But other than that, find your host interrupt. Say goodbye, and what I'm
Speaker 2: noticing is you feel that social obligation if you don't do it, you say to myself, My goodness, I can't believe I didn't do that. I should rectify that in some way. And that's absolutely That's the minimum that you say goodbye. Those you don't and I like how they're talking about leaving a large party versus small dinner party. You don't need to make a big to do of your departure. You don't need to go around every person there. You don't need toe thio flaunt your departure. You do check in with your hostess and say goodbye. Thank you for a lovely evening.
Speaker 1: It really is important to do it, and it's one of those times when it's okay to interrupt. It's okay to say, Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but I do need to say goodbye. You know, Janice, thank you so much for having us. It was a great time, you know, I'd love to catch up again soon and then just leave. It's that simple. It's that easy. It's not awkward, gets, um, courage and do it.
Speaker 1: You hear that? She says. You're not as ruedas. You used Thio
Speaker 1: as always, thanks to everyone for sending in your questions. They truly keep our show alive, and we're very excited that we're getting to the point where we're getting so many questions. We can't answer them fast enough. You can submit your questions to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. You can also send them in via Facebook and Twitter. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette so that we know you want your question on the show. Uh huh. So this was, ah, particularly long story that we received from New in town, and the gist of it is that she has been living in a new city for about six months, has made some friends, but it's It's been difficult to get into, like a really good group of friends that feel solid. Andi. It's a hard city of crack. Socially, people kind of have their groups. They have their friends who they hang out with, and that's just how it is. She has made some friends that she hangs out with about once or twice a month, but nobody super close that she could lean on. And basically what's happened is she had to go through a surgery, and she was so grateful because one of her friends had actually said, You know, Oh, I would love to make you a home cooked meal and bring it over, you know, which is a really wonderful gesture. And it's the kind of thing that when you kind of are alone in a city, it means the world to you. So after the surgery, she did, I believe, reached out to this friend and, um let her know that she's out of the hospital and feeling okay for visitors. The friend replied that she was very busy but would bring over some soup and see how she was doing on a Friday. And she didn't specify what time. She just said sometime on Friday, And our writer let the friend know that she'd be available at these Times on that Friday because she had some doctor's appointments and then never heard back. So never heard of. Okay, well, instead of coming before your appointment, I'll come after like no confirmation. And what wound up happening was the girl never showed up. There was no visit, and now our friend is left a feeling even worse than before and be really unsure what to do. So her question, in the end, is what would have been the proper way to handle the situation with my friend. Should I have sent her a follow up text? Is there some sort of social protocol I'm missing, especially in regards to confirming meet ups? Do I simply stop socializing with someone once they show this behavior? Or are my pain meds just making me overly sensitive? And I love that she thinks about it in all these ways. But, I mean, what would you do? This is becoming an increasing problem. I feel like for for people our age, um, way here
Speaker 2: about this increasingly the the inability for certain social circles to commit to each other, to be consistent in terms of how they show up,
Speaker 1: even just respond.
Speaker 2: Exactly. So I would start by saying, Don't take it personally, E. I would I would tell there are our listener that that this this definitely happens and it definitely hurts. And that doesn't take the sting out of the hurt. But but But maybe just knowing that you're in good company being stood up these days might might help. We
Speaker 1: hear it around
Speaker 2: organizing small dinner party, small get togethers where you're trying to plan a menu. You're trying to decide how many places decided a table, How much food to buy ahead of time and you're trying to plan for Friday. You're gonna do your shopping on a Tuesday or Wednesday. And not only do people not get back to you with a committed answer, but they don't do it till the day before or the day. Yeah,
Speaker 1: the afternoon of
Speaker 2: is the worst. So I think a theme to start toe hammer on here is the continuing importance of the r S v p and keeping your commitments. That's part of the courtesy of the R S v P. Now this is a little bit tricky because you're not talking about hosting an event. Someone's offered to do something for you, and then they've kind of walked back from that offer a little bit. And it's it's hard to figure out a way to hold them accountable to that initial offer. And
Speaker 1: so do you. What do you This is a question
Speaker 2: of dosage here and maybe that afternoon. A quick test text. Haven't heard from you back from my appointment? Curious. If you're stopping by, I think that sounds perfect within the medium that the exchange has already been happening in the initial conversation was happening via text. It sounds like, or at least part of it was so continuing the conversation on text and I think it's perfectly reasonable to have a little follow up. I might not escalate the situation to it. Let's have a sit down and talk about how you aggrieved me here.
Speaker 1: I agree with you because
Speaker 2: that starts to escalate the whole situation and you're still putting those good friend times in the bank with people and the idea that you you you build some goodwill. You establish a relationship before you start to bring your troubles or start to challenge the relationship. I think it's something to keep in mind. So it's a question of dosage. I do think it would be appropriate, the offer having been on the table to follow up, but I wouldn't I wouldn't dive too deep. I wouldn't make a big issue of it, but I definitely would. I don't think I removed myself from the situation social. I wouldn't disengage completely, but I would keep it in mind. I would say to myself, You know, don't take it so seriously when this person makes an offer in the future, and and that's how your reputation gets established. So it's it's good to remember that that that other people might be out there. They might not say to you, Boy, I was really upset about this, and this really bothered me. But they also might say, You know, I'm not gonna assume you're showing up next time, and I'm not gonna count on it. I'm not gonna think of you as part of that
Speaker 1: circle. You really say that? No, I would never say it. Okay, E, But I might be really honest
Speaker 2: with myself about it. I might I might be having that thought internally. Just they
Speaker 1: don't count
Speaker 2: on this person.
Speaker 1: Uh, no, that is good. I definitely have. No, that's exactly I have friends who I do not count on. I'm just like you know what? I can't count that you're going to show up, and I have other friends that are very, you know, respectful of people's time and their energy and their presence, and therefore they're people that I can count on and those people I am very grateful for. And those relationships tend to build more, whereas the ones who don't show up sometimes that's just that person, and you learn to accept them as they are. And other times they kind of just start toe, you know, fall out of your social circle. The one thing I do want to suggest, um, to new in town is a site called Meet up dot com, and I actually used it. I'm not new in town. I've lived in my town for 32 years, minus two months in San Diego like it was, you know, I've really been here. I'm very established in my town, but I got to a point in my life where I needed to expand my social circle, and I wanted to do it by not just going out to the bars all the time. And so I joined meet up dot com. I found a soccer group and I wanted to start playing pickup soccer, and it's been a great resource for meeting friends. So I would consider something like a meet up dot com and and looking into doing those kinds of community type events or sporting events, things that can get you active and interacting with people based on a common interest.
Speaker 2: I think that's really, really good advice.
Speaker 2: New in town. We hope you feel better
Speaker 1: way because it is no fun to be down and out and have a friend stand you up. But we do hope that our advice will help you navigate these new situations with confidence.
Speaker 1: Social courtesy does pay, doesn't it? Thanks. Each week we like to end our show with an example of good etiquette, and today we have a salute from someone close to us. Chris would like to salute his mother, and I thought it was such a wonderful example when I heard it because he said that when he would go visitor she lived in New York City for a very long time and hey would join her on her routine. And he always noticed how every single person they encountered, whether it was her hairstylist or the receptionist at the salon or the person at the department store they were shopping at or the grocery store bagger. They all gave his mother's such a well, warm welcome and that they really knew her. And it was through this experience that he had he had realized his mother really always took the time to personally interact with the people that she came across in her day that it wasn't just, uh, thanks for bagging my groceries. These were people that she took the time, and it's a brief amount of time. It's not like she's holding up the lines, but she took the time to get to know them and how rich and wonderful it made her life and her community because she did that and what I loved upon hearing that story was that that is so the heart of etiquette to be aware of the people around you to treat everyone with consideration, respect and honesty. And I'm just so glad that Chris told us about his mother, Danielle. And though she has since passed, we hope that her spirit is carried on on DSHEA aired with all of you so that
Speaker 2: you could be the type of person that Daniel mints.
Speaker 2: Well, now, wasn't that better?
Speaker 2: Look at the effect of a little politeness.
Speaker 2: That's our show for today. Thanks for listening. We love to hear from you. You can send your questions, your etiquette salutes or suggestions for future shows. Toe awesome etiquette it. Emily post dot com If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. You can also find us on Facebook, where the Emily Post Institute on Twitter, I'm at Daniel Underscore Post,
Speaker 1: and I'm at Lizzie a Post,
Speaker 2: or you can visit our website. Emily post dot com. Our theme music was composed and performed by Bob Wagner.
Speaker 2: Awesome Etiquette is produced in collaboration with Vermont Public Radio.