Episode 269 - Hot Enough?
In this episode of Awesome Etiquette
Welcome to Awesome Etiquette, where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On today’s show Dan and Lizzie take your questions on space heaters over heating spaces, a precious doll and where she should live, being baby-showered-out and keeping friends-giving adults only. For Awesome Etiquette sustaining members we talk about taking Job A but wanting Job B. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and a postscript segment on serving utensils from the wonderful Margaret Visser and her book The Rituals of Dinner.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social goodness. See that's old fashioned,
Speaker 1: watch how busy post and then post to act as host and hostess.
Speaker 2: They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person, real friendliness.
Speaker 1: Hello
Speaker 2: and welcome to awesome etiquette
Speaker 1: where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty.
Speaker 2: On today's show we take your questions on space heaters. Overheating space is a precious doll and where she should live being baby shower out and keeping friends, giving adults only
Speaker 1: for awesome etiquette sustaining members. We talk about taking job a but wanting job be and what's a worker to do
Speaker 2: plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript segment on serving utensils from the wonderful Margaret visser and her book the rituals of dinner
Speaker 1: All that's coming up,
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette comes to you from the studios of Vermont Public radio and is proud to be produced in Burlington Vermont by the Emily Post Institute.
Speaker 1: I'm lizzie Post
Speaker 2: and I'm dan post sending,
Speaker 1: We had weekends.
Speaker 2: It feels like two weekends in one.
Speaker 1: I feel like I need a weekend from my weekend, even though my weekend was
Speaker 2: awesome. No way I need work after that much weekend.
Speaker 1: That's awesome. You dive right into that. Please cousin work yourself hard, bring in money, create new ideas, let's
Speaker 1: yeah, you just run with that. I'm gonna go grab some hot cocoa or maybe a site er in a doughnut
Speaker 2: Putin and I were driving home from a d volley party. Happy belated Duvally to everyone out there who celebrates and we were reflecting on the big Halloween themed birthday party for kids that we had gone to the day before
Speaker 2: and I was referring to it as if it had happened the previous weekend because it felt like it must have been at least a week ago.
Speaker 2: We don't get out that much that many fresh faces in two days,
Speaker 2: that sort of mildly introverted part of me was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. I was like, give me some emails, give me a monday morning at my desk. I will be really happy.
Speaker 1: This could explain the six p.m. Monday phone call I got from you to discuss work when typically I feel like 4 30 or like I'm on the way to pick up Anita, I'm out, I'm done,
Speaker 1: I'm not going to respond to anything and here's dan calling me at
Speaker 2: six Just hanging on to that workday, please can
Speaker 1: we just talk about this a little bit longer? No, I really gotta go inside to the place I'm going to.
Speaker 1: Okay, I guess I understand that was
Speaker 2: great. The closest I got to work was the birthday party I was at on saturday was a book exchange themed birthday
Speaker 1: party
Speaker 2: and we've been talking a lot on this show about
Speaker 2: how to handle gifts that kid's birthday party
Speaker 1: come up later in the show particular, we've
Speaker 2: gotten some really good feedback on that topic and I just, I was right in the middle of it And that little etiquette part of my brain kept dinging the little flag. The little light kept going off and
Speaker 2: it was sort of fun to have a little bit of grist for the mill. Little
Speaker 1: way
Speaker 2: to think about it. That felt useful. I felt like an audience member. I felt like an awesome etiquette listener.
Speaker 1: Nice, awesome. I love it.
Speaker 2: So I've got a little feedback.
Speaker 1: Also when you get to that part, I like it. I like it a little pad out the feedback segment well
Speaker 1: without further ado and without needing to dive into all of the weekend adventure. Should we just get to some questions?
Speaker 1: That would be awesome. Okay let's do it. I can feel you really wanting to just be like into the show. Let's get there.
Speaker 2: Maybe we could do two
Speaker 1: shows down boy
Speaker 2: down, get the same questions.
Speaker 1: Yeah
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions on how to behave and if you have a question for us you can email it to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. Leave us a voicemail or text message at 802858 K. I. N. D. That's 802855463
Speaker 1: on twitter. You can find us at at Emily post inst that's Emily post I. N. S. T.
Speaker 1: On instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook we are awesome etiquette. Hey just remember to use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts so that we know we have your permission to use your question or comment on the show. Sustaining members. Please remember to put sustaining member in your message because we'll answer your questions over on the sustaining members site where you can access your ads, free version of the show and all your bonus questions.
Speaker 2: Our first question today is very seasonally appropriate and it's a space heater heating everyone's space question
Speaker 2: Hello lizzie and dan, thank you for your podcast that allows me to unwind while adding value to my life. I appreciate your discretion and wisdom in this sensitive area of etiquette.
Speaker 2: I have a question. I would love your thoughts on,
Speaker 2: I work for a nonprofit that frequently holds meetings at my boss's house. They are lovely hosts, often providing food, drinks, etcetera. As we discussed the current topics for the week for our organization.
Speaker 2: One of my superiors who hosts our meetings is cold blooded in quotes and turns on a space heater to warm herself up. She often leaves it on for 30 to 45 minutes at a time and in doing so heats up the entire space that our team is in as well, leaving many warmer than comfortable.
Speaker 2: I along with others frequently takeoff sweaters, coats, etcetera. During this time to try to get comfortable.
Speaker 2: I have lightheartedly mentioned something in the past about being warm during the meeting and she quickly said she was sorry and shut it off. However, each meeting continues to do the same thing. Another employee has mentioned it in the past during a break quietly to which she laughed and shut it off.
Speaker 2: However, it shortly after was turned on again later in the meeting.
Speaker 2: I do not want to seem ungrateful for the hospitality of our meeting or that my comfort is more important than hers. However, I know that others have felt similarly and have not mentioned anything either.
Speaker 2: What is the appropriate way to handle this situation sincerely too hot to handle
Speaker 1: Too hot to handle? This is such a Seinfeldian question. Like can't you just picture like George and jerry would totally be dealing with this while Cramer's off eating the bean dip happily, like you know what I mean? It's like,
Speaker 2: okay, so your thoughts on that gives me a better understanding of Cramer and the role he plays in that show,
Speaker 1: he plays like the happy, like you know, things aren't a problem kind of guy, You
Speaker 2: know, the non intellectual that the animal response, our instinct in some ways. I
Speaker 1: haven't thought about it that way. Well you know sometimes I come up with something relevant,
Speaker 2: my animal self loves warm things. So I'm probably there thinking
Speaker 1: this is awesome. Yeah. Remember what your office used to be like
Speaker 1: sauna.
Speaker 2: It's something I know about myself though and I understand that not everyone is so comfortable.
Speaker 1: You often would offer to open a window and get some fresh air into the office to I think that we're battling a number of things here, Right. We're battling the role of hosting guests of superior and employee.
Speaker 1: Were battling the role of individual versus group.
Speaker 1: We're noticing that the group tends to have a bigger consensus, like, because everyone's taking officers, people have complained, were noticing that this is a thing.
Speaker 1: And I think that that that makes it extra tough. We've got like three different levels of issue going on here. And there's one that I don't think we're getting too, and I'll get to it in just one second, but we get to it because of the fact that people have kind of done some of the subtle hinting already. Right?
Speaker 1: We've all been taking off our coats and jackets. That's usually a hint. Okay, the host didn't pick up on it. So now two people have either in the moment or privately aside, brought up the issue of the space heater creating too much heat.
Speaker 1: And our host has not clued in that boy. Maybe I just shouldn't turn on the space heater. Maybe I should try wearing more clothes. Maybe I should use a I don't know, a heated blanket for myself instead. Like we're not picking up on this moment of oh, a couple of people have said this and people are always taking their sweaters off inside. Maybe I should turn this off.
Speaker 1: That's not happening. So I think that makes us question as guests, how far are we allowed to make our requests? How repeatedly can we make our requests before we start being the one who's being rude? And that's a balance that none of us has an exact answer for not even the Emily Post Institute.
Speaker 1: And we also are reading this situation by adding in remember who's involved and how are they affected. We're talking with our boss here and we're in our bosses home and that usually makes us want to
Speaker 1: be quieter, like not disrupt things. And you know, you can say what you want about boston, superior relationships working that way. You can also just say I'm the type of person that no, I'm in your home and it's uncomfortable, I'm going to speak up. There are lots of I feel like different avenues you could run with on this one to justify why you're choosing a particular solution.
Speaker 1: But for me,
Speaker 1: I come down on the place and you can tell me what you think because because you're very warm, you know, you like all the heat and everything. But I come down on the place of
Speaker 1: if it hasn't been given all the factors of the situation, if our host and our boss aren't picking up on this comfort level of the entire group, then I think you are put in the place. If you do have to ask when you've hit your weight for it boiling point.
Speaker 2: I've got a couple of lines are coming in. Are they
Speaker 1: just, it's so bad. I think you're in this place, you're too hot. You've done the thing where you've taken off the coat, you've taken off the sweater, then it's time to just say, hey, do you mind if we turn the space heater off for a little bit? And I think that because the host isn't picking up on the subtlety of the other moments because we are kind of in this double situation of host and boss and rest of the group around. This isn't our best friend who we can tease about it.
Speaker 1: This is like, you know, a little bit higher stakes are a little more complicated relationships that we're dealing with. I think you keep asking. But what you don't try to do is you don't try to ask where you're asking multiple points throughout the meeting and I think that's a hard thing to get to. My my balance point would be
Speaker 1: I will ask once, I might even ask twice if it's like in the beginning and in the end,
Speaker 1: but I'm probably not going to ask four times in a two hour session for that heater to be turned down. So I'm trying to find the reasonable amount of asking because the other things that would normally make the asking stop aren't happening here.
Speaker 2: I appreciate your willingness to put a quantity on it for our meeting two times and
Speaker 1: I'm just
Speaker 1: making guesses
Speaker 2: Here, guys, it sounds about right to me because I'm thinking about, that person just keeps bringing something up and something that is frankly a judgment call. Are we comfortable at 70, 68, 77? We all have different
Speaker 1: dan's favorite 80
Speaker 2: two comfort zones. Exactly. I I like to be in my t shirt in my car in january
Speaker 2: again, I appreciate that not everybody wants to live that way. Five for some people that would be really uncomfortable.
Speaker 2: I would love to hear the host
Speaker 2: do a little temperature taking
Speaker 1: in the room
Speaker 2: say how does everybody feel? Is it getting a little hot in here? Those sorts of quick questions are enough to get a sense for the group, which I think is really important. I love how you mentioned the individual versus group dynamic here because this is one of those places where I think the
Speaker 2: collective group decision making is going to matter.
Speaker 2: Sometimes you prioritize the individual. This is a whole other philosophical discussion that we've been thinking about having on this show. But how do you balance the wants and wishes of somebody in the group of feels very strongly against maybe a more collectively, but not as strongly felt desire.
Speaker 2: They all come into play.
Speaker 2: It's why I appreciate your willingness to start to get specific and say ask once, maybe even ask a second time, but don't be that person who's 345 times if it's not getting picked up by other people around you. If you're not hearing the host then try to balance your request against what they're hearing from other people.
Speaker 2: All of those other factors that are at play here, that you mentioned, the organizational hierarchy, the host guest role, the individual group relationship. All I think require a little bit of
Speaker 2: self moderation, self control and you say to yourself, I'm going to be sure that I've got a couple layers I can remove if I'm back in this situation. I think you also say to yourself I can always excuse myself, I can step outside, get a breath of fresh air if I'm really starting to overheat and you take control of those things, you can take control of, you look for your
Speaker 2: moments of opportunity, you do the best you can
Speaker 2: and then you watch the rest of the group
Speaker 1: and I think we get a version of this question that goes the other way, that's oh I I spoke up and asked my host you know to turn the heat down or do not use the space heater and now she never turns it on and I feel like I've
Speaker 1: made her uncomfortable and you know it's like you get that where your guest is a little bit feeling like you the host are now dancing on eggshells for them and
Speaker 1: you don't want that either. And I do think our our question Nascar has been put in such a tough position because they really are trying to be a good guest in someone's home and to recognize that like there's comfort levels for all here, but because the host isn't
Speaker 1: being that amazing host there, being a good host, but not like an over the top amazing host and not picking up on the queue of the group, there is this awkward little moment here and it's so funny because we look at something like this like you're in a room for what, two, maybe four hours and it's amazing how much that overheated feeling can make those four hours seem like an eternity.
Speaker 1: Like you're never going to get out of it. Like it's always going to be unbearable every time you go. And yet a lot of us if we were asked to just put up with like, you know, being a little chilly or being a little too warm for that amount of time would probably think in our heads like, oh that's no big deal,
Speaker 1: but it really starts to feel like a big deal when it's making us uncomfortable, it almost feels stifling. It's like you feel trapped in someone's home and there your boss and like the weight of those two things alone make you so nervous to make a really reasonable ask. And yet then
Speaker 1: the added
Speaker 1: Issue of the host not acquiescing in kind of a I want to say this, I'm just gonna say a reasonable way where there they think they are, they're shutting that heater off for like 20 minutes. But then turning it back on, I feel like we're in a like a really interesting zone of as a guest feeling like there are few avenues we can go down to make this okay.
Speaker 1: It's interesting to me the whole host
Speaker 1: portion of it
Speaker 2: and as a guest reminding myself things like the host might be doing this for my comfort or benefit. They might think of this room as a little drafty or not. Well heated and they made an effort on the behalf of this group to keep things comfortable.
Speaker 2: I think you have to keep looking for the beat when you've got a dance that's not going well,
Speaker 2: you can drop it and walk off the floor a little awkward or you kind of take a deep breath and you listen a little harder or you open up the way you listen a little bit and you try to find a rhythm that works you slow things down, you get back into it. But I think of this as a continuing discussion for precisely the reason that oh they hear you then they don't turn it on. Now people are getting cold.
Speaker 2: Think of it as an ongoing discussion. The dance never ends. It's not something you do and fix. It's something that will continue and this might be a running negotiation. So put a smile on your face,
Speaker 2: I wouldn't say look forward to it. But tell yourself it's okay to continue to participate and you'll find, you'll find that rhythm, you'll find that
Speaker 2: that flow with your dance partner.
Speaker 1: Okay. The sneaky side of me says get one of the other people who has complained about the heat. The heat to be the other Askar. So one in the beginning of the meeting can ask for the heat to be turned down and one at the end of the meeting can be asking for the heat to be turned down and hopefully then throughout the entire me it's not then one person piping up but like the group collectively
Speaker 1: makes the ass spread out a little bit and the temperature stays a little lower I would hope. But you know that's my like if you wanted to be a little like maneuvering about it.
Speaker 2: I like the practical advice
Speaker 2: too hot to handle. We hope this helps stay cool.
Speaker 2: I found out that if you're nice to people, they're usually nice to you too. Well the people in my office are different and I'm simply not going to stand for it any longer. You're tired now. Barb. I know just how you feel. Let's talk about it again later on. It's no use ruth really. I've made up my mind. I'm going to start looking for a job tomorrow.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Our next question is titled Precious Doll. Hello lizzie and dan for a couple of years on Edna in quotes. Wanted to give my daughter her niece a doll from her childhood?
Speaker 1: The doll was a designer doll from the 50s with handmade clothes from Aunt Edna's mother, my daughter's great grandmother.
Speaker 1: In april of this year, Aunt Edna gave us the doll in our home and shared her cherished memories of it. Later in october on, Edna passed away. We're so sorry to hear that
Speaker 1: other family members were asking about the doll and where it was. A younger sister of Aunt Edna asked if we had the doll and I said yes. The sister asked if she could have the doll and have it for a while. I am. I obligated to give her the doll. And if so, how do I guarantee that I can get the doll back for my daughter, kind regards Robin
Speaker 2: Robin. This is such a
Speaker 2: tricky question. When someone passes, there are so many
Speaker 2: details and things that need to be taken care of that are separate and removed from the grief that people are feeling about the loss. And at the same time,
Speaker 2: those practical concerns everything from how the estate is handled to organizing a service of some sort, all get connected to those feelings in ways that are entirely understandable and in a situation like this. You're asking if there's a hard and fast rule.
Speaker 2: My first answer and I'm not an attorney is more of a legal answer, which is it described in the Estate. Is it described in a will? Is there some legal obligation or document that's giving some direction here.
Speaker 1: Do we have some issue where it's like, you know, I had actually left the doll to somebody but then gave the doll to your daughter because she had forgotten that the doll was left in the will. I don't I don't hear that going on in this question, but I
Speaker 2: don't it's a good place to start. But it is the groundwork and in some ways it's a reminder of how helpful
Speaker 2: those things can be, how important it is to give clear direction. Because one of the things that often happens particularly towards the end of someone's life is
Speaker 2: they start
Speaker 2: wanting to pass on their things. They start wanting to connect with the people around them by offering them things and starting to think themselves about the distribution of their stuff of their collection of
Speaker 2: stuff life. And this type of situation is not uncommon where maybe someone's heard something and someone else has heard something and
Speaker 2: when the person is gone, there's no real clear easy way to resolve it.
Speaker 1: Although in this situation I'm not hearing that I'm hearing that people cherish this doll, but I'm not hearing like she was under the assumption the doll was going to be given to her and now I don't know what to do. You know what I mean?
Speaker 1: Like just a part of the setup? No. For this particular question, I'm hearing that, you know, it's
Speaker 1: been made aware that there is a favorite item and that people are curious about where it has ended up already. And I think we're fair to respond with that right?
Speaker 2: Absolutely. You want to be very clear, very open, very candid, very honest with your relatives about what you heard from Aunt Edna
Speaker 2: and your connection and feelings about this doll and your hopes for it.
Speaker 2: That's the beginning of a really good discussion. And hopefully that inspires other people involved to respond in a similarly honest and candid manner, both about what they've heard already and what their own personal feelings and desires are.
Speaker 1: I think because the questions already been asked of you, Robin that it's okay for you to be deciding what your answer is.
Speaker 1: So if I was in your place and I made the decision that I would be okay temporarily lending the doll out just to give people some closure some moments with things.
Speaker 1: I might do one of two things. I might say, consider saying something along the lines of, Oh yes on Edna came over in april and she showed Maira the doll and went through all the history of it. And Maira really loves it. Any time you'd like to come visit and see the doll, you are more than welcome at our house. That's one option of just
Speaker 1: letting people know the dolls not going anywhere, but you can come see it anytime you want
Speaker 1: and that just might be the way that it goes. If you felt comfortable and like you would get the doll back. If you lent the doll out, then I would probably use language along the line of, you know, on and those dolls a really special thing for my Ira, I'm
Speaker 1: happy to have you hold on to her for a bit, but I'd like to schedule a time for when the doll comes back to us because I know that that Maira really does care about it and we were so grateful that Edna took the time to pass it along. And I think that those are the kinds of things that help indicate to someone that you understand the importance of the doll, but that the doll has been given a home by the owner of the doll and that you're you're going to keep it in that zone. And so I think that it's
Speaker 1: it's how you want to lay it out. It's how you feel comfortable. It's what you know about your relatives to know whether or not that doll would ever come back to you whether or not you give it out. But
Speaker 1: I think that laying a bit of importance when you do talk to people about the fact that the doll is in your house, that Edna came over shared the stories that your daughter is really happy about this gift. Um, I think it's important to put that in place so that people understand that a Edna's wishes are being upheld
Speaker 1: and be your daughter actually does have a connection to this item now and it is in her possession and
Speaker 1: at the same time recognizing the bigger family connection clearly is here. I mean, this is the first time we've heard this about a doll. We've heard things about rings, we've heard things about paintings, We've heard things about houses. But this is this one was a little bit different.
Speaker 2: It's also a possibility that you talked to aunt and sister and she either tells you
Speaker 2: boy, I had an understanding with Aunt Edna that was running parallel to or
Speaker 2: although we said that's not explicit here. So I'm not anticipating hearing something like that. It's more likely that you might hear something like
Speaker 2: I'm really connected to that doll as well I grew up with and and we used to play with it together. It's the thing that I think of when I think of her or something along those lines, the connection, you might say, you know, I want to honor that and you might give up the doll
Speaker 2: and you might talk to your daughter about it, why you would do it. Why that would be something, There might be other things that
Speaker 2: connect Aunt Edna to you and your daughter in ways that
Speaker 2: the sister doesn't have the same options.
Speaker 2: It's a possibility. It's why I think that really open discussion is important and you do want to remember to keep listening, have your own ideas and thoughts and what you want to share, but also be ready to really participate in that discussion in an honest and open way as well.
Speaker 2: Whatever way you go. I think you're going to get a better outcome if people feel heard and understood as you work out these sometimes difficult questions.
Speaker 1: Robin, we hope that helps and it will be interesting to hear where the doll ends up. Let us know how it goes.
Speaker 2: That lesson will stand you in good stead all your life. I think we've all learned a good lesson.
Speaker 2: I've always heard that part honesty is the best policy
Speaker 2: Now I'm catching on to why that silk.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 2: Our next question is about being baby showered out.
Speaker 2: Hello, I have a baby shower question I've been invited to to baby showers this year for a third baby. These friends already have both genders and young Children for whom we gave them a shower. There aren't special circumstances like they have older Children and gave away all their baby stuff or they're having multiples and need more things.
Speaker 2: It seems crabby to me to have a whole baby shower with a registry for a third baby. Like this. One of the friends was even throwing it for herself. I ended up declining the invitations because I just didn't know what to do. I understand the mindset that each baby should be celebrated, but should they be celebrated by asking for more gifts.
Speaker 2: I've seen people do a small party at a restaurant in which appetizers, desserts are provided guests pay for their dinner if they want it. But it is clear on the invite that no gifts are necessary.
Speaker 2: This seems more appropriate to me. Even a Sprinkle would make me want to go more. Am I wrong to think this? Should I just suck it up and go to third baby showers sincerely, baby showered
Speaker 1: out, baby showered out. You are not alone. A lot of people are baby showered out. A lot of people don't even like second baby showers or sprinkles
Speaker 1: and a lot of people feel exactly as you do that. Each baby should be celebrated that, you know, you don't want that to be any less. But at the same time it's a big deal for new parents to absorb a new baby, whether it's through adoption, whether it's through foster care, whether it's through having a child on their own. It's really a big deal. And I think that's why we celebrate that big moment and then when the second one comes, I think people are both
Speaker 1: not as enchanted about making it special and making a big deal out of it. Oftentimes parents do have a lot of the gear already. And so they just think, no, no, no, no, no. And that's where you get sprinkles from, especially when parents are like, well we have all this, but we need some boy stuff where we need some girl stuff or we need some
Speaker 1: something, you know, being
Speaker 2: a little
Speaker 1: little showers. Exactly. And that's a new term that's come out in the past few years and we have chosen to adopt it here at Emily Post. We see it as a big enough trend, but you're right that a third baby, you then, especially a third baby in close age range of the other two. It's funny how much it starts to become like an eye roll. And it's a really interesting thing how
Speaker 1: when communities choose to come together and celebrate someone and community doesn't have to be strangers that you you don't know. But like, you know, your little community comes together to celebrate you people are like really enchanted by it. But when you ask for your little community to celebrate, you, people tend to be really annoyed by it and you can feel that difference here where she's like, you know, even if you had just maybe tried to make it like a smaller deal or like acted like it wasn't as big a deal.
Speaker 2: I would
Speaker 1: have wanted Yeah, that's the one that kills me. I would have wanted to do this for you, but I just don't because you're just not doing that. You're full registry. You're asking people on your own behalf.
Speaker 1: It doesn't feel right. And it's a really interesting difference in where we feel okay pulling together celebrating and helping to subsidize someone's life and where we don't and that as etiquette experts for us has been a really hard thing to feel like we've watched this birthday trending shift for kids birthday parties. We've watched,
Speaker 1: they're called stag and Doe or Jack and Jill, um, pre wedding parties and they are different from showers. They're actually where the community gets together. And even if you're not invited to the wedding, you're invited to this party, you're expected to pay your plate and contribute to a wedding in the future for the couple. It's, I know dan's like giving me the what
Speaker 1: and the atlantic did a story on it and I thought they actually did a good job doing it because they really came at it from the perspective of the people who are utilizing these types of celebrations and are comfortable with it. It wasn't from the perspective, which so far, everyone I've talked to about this story has the same reaction that you did, which was the, like what you're asking people to pay for everything. And it sounds really much like our, our listeners saying it sounds grabby, it sounds yucky to us
Speaker 1: and yet to everyone who does it and grew up with that tradition. It's like incredibly uplifting nothing could be further from the truth.
Speaker 1: So there's this one little thing of perspective here that we have to have two, it might be that these folks come from families where this is really the standard. It's encouraged. It's it's just a part of each baby that comes. Whereas there are other communities where it really isn't
Speaker 1: and it is a tough dividing line. We all live together. We're all trying to figure out what those norms and standards are for each other. That's why you listen to a show like this. I
Speaker 2: think you identified the important etiquette right off the bat, which is you don't have to
Speaker 1: go.
Speaker 1: One of the
Speaker 2: great things about being a guest. You are in a plus etiquette territory. As long as you have responded to the invitation
Speaker 1: yes, you don't have to respond yes with a gift. The place
Speaker 2: where you can mess up is you get that invitation and it just makes you feel icky and you ignore it or you just say to yourself
Speaker 2: and you go and you bring that attitude with you that your responsibility is if you're not feeling good about something to say no one to let the person know and you don't have to go into every detail or reason why your declining. You don't have to make up an excuse. In fact, I recommend you
Speaker 2: don't say anything that isn't true that you can just politely decline and not go and
Speaker 2: leave it up to them to determine based on the responses that they get whether or not this was a good choice or something that's appropriate. I think they're just being invited to a party also doesn't give you a ticket license to comment on it to the host that they're not asking for your feedback about third showers.
Speaker 2: So that's another place you can make an etiquette mistake, come
Speaker 1: into your shower because I really think it's tasteless. You guys have enough stuff like and that's not obviously that's not what baby showered out wants as their attitude at all. You can tell that there's this push and pull within them of
Speaker 1: I want to celebrate this baby, but I kind of really don't want to celebrate the way you're asking me to
Speaker 2: and that was where I was going to hopefully get a little more positive with my answer, which is keep the focus on celebrating the baby. Send a note of congratulations. Um, go
Speaker 1: over to meet the
Speaker 2: baby hearts all over it and physically get up, get in your car, go see the baby when they're born. Um, invite mom or
Speaker 2: the happy couple out to tea or ask if there's something you can do as the baby approaches. That would be helpful if you want to, but connect in a personal way, celebrate that new arrival.
Speaker 2: You don't have to participate in a showering of
Speaker 1: gifts
Speaker 1: baby showered out. We hope that this makes you feel empowered to be baby showered in when you want. Does that work? Can we say that babies showered in?
Speaker 2: I'll take it okay,
Speaker 2: take care of your obligations now
Speaker 2: and when you meet the responsibilities of adult life,
Speaker 2: you'll find that they will take care of you.
Speaker 1: Our next question is titled No kids allowed. Hello lizzie and dan. My husband and I host a number of parties each year. We always invite kids to the fourth of july and christmas parties. However our annual friends giving is adult only.
Speaker 1: It's not really stated, but there has never been a child there. We've been hosting this party for six years, three years ago we had a baby and he has never attended this party.
Speaker 1: Our friends had a baby this summer who they will be bringing to friends giving this year.
Speaker 1: They RSVP'd with him even though he wasn't on the invitation. They know there are no kids at this party. I know this is tricky. We didn't invite kids to our wedding and it was very hard but we needed those seats for relatives. Since I come from a big family,
Speaker 1: our friends do not put their baby down. He has never been to a babysitter. Even his grandparents, they very rarely let anyone hold him either.
Speaker 1: They very rarely let anyone hold him either. Even his aunts,
Speaker 1: I'm worried that if he comes this year, it sets a precedent this year. He will probably just sit with them since he is still young. But what happens when he's older and running around and the only kid there can I say something do I just let it go
Speaker 1: see how the other guests react. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you Carrie.
Speaker 2: Carrie, I want to help, I want to put on my etiquette cape and fly in and tell you you are the host. It is okay to set any boundary for your party you want and your broader description of we have a couple of different parties each year. These ones are very kid friendly. This one is not
Speaker 2: that's helpful, it's good to know, I think use that to steel yourself. But
Speaker 2: um absolutely talk to these people, talk to them sooner, the sooner the better pick up the phone, give them a call, make it a personal connection, let them hear the sympathy and understanding in your voice when you tell them how much you appreciate them wanting to attend that you want to make that possible. But that this is an adult only party and
Speaker 2: you would really
Speaker 2: like to keep the focus on adult things and relationships and interactions. So it would be better if they didn't bring their new baby and you are right, it will set a precedent, it will change the nature of the event and it is not only your
Speaker 2: opportunity and right as a host, it is almost an obligation if that's the kind of party you want to be
Speaker 1: happy. I'm gonna debate you just a little bit on that one because just I loved everything. I was even like, I don't think I need to give my sample script. I think dance works just fine.
Speaker 1: But the one thing I will debate you on is the president. I think that there is an option
Speaker 2: for Kerry
Speaker 1: if she wanted to to say, hey listen, I saw the invitation with Brandon's name on it and thank you, you know, thanks for getting back to us so quickly. Typically this isn't,
Speaker 1: you know, a kids party. In fact it's the one party we do all year that we really ask for adults only. But I know that he is three months old and you guys really want to come and so you know, we're totally fine with it. I think you could do something like that where it lets someone, no, no, this isn't typically a kids party. But yes, I understand the circumstances this year. Like let's say that okay, we decided to play the hostess role of
Speaker 1: okay, my guests have done something I don't really love, but I'm going to roll with it. We're going to invite Brandon and we're just going to, it's all going to be fine. I'm not going to mention anything
Speaker 1: next year when you send the invite out. That's when I would say we are hoping to keep this adults only. Then I would tell mom and dad. Brandon was an exception for last year, but you'll notice even our own child doesn't participate in this one
Speaker 1: and I think you just do it. So I don't think it totally sets a precedent if you let this year go by, but I also really want to give carry the encouragement to not let this year go by and to be strong.
Speaker 2: I was wondering if you were reading the etiquette fine print and clearly you were if the Children were explicitly mentioned on the invitation, there is some wiggle room that you didn't clearly say
Speaker 2: no kids. Exactly. And you're right. I think the opportunity is that you say, oh, that's my gray area faux pas. I'm not going to make a big deal of it now, but next year I'm going to be more clear and more explicit about how I do the inviting.
Speaker 2: I do think there is some wiggle room there.
Speaker 2: I also I'm just trusting what I'm hearing here, which is runs counter to my usual modus operandi on this show, where I try to keep every possibility open in my mind,
Speaker 1: but
Speaker 2: I'm accepting the information that it's understood that this is a no kids party. And I think that's where
Speaker 1: running their kid has never
Speaker 2: showed up to it. And I think that's where you created the space for yourself in that great to find something that's a little closer to black or white and to make the choice and to make that call and I like your sample script a little better than mine. I do think it sounded a more understanding,
Speaker 1: but I do think that here is where now we have to give the bummer news and that's that your friend might not react well to this. This sounds, I mean we got a little extra description
Speaker 1: from Carrie about what she sees going on with this friend, about no one else holding the baby. And we've all heard of, we've all heard of the moms and dads and people who,
Speaker 1: you know where that happens. And it's like whether it's a grandma, a sister, a couple, but there are those parents, it's just, it's real tough this, you've got a lot of responsibility here and it's easier to just do it yourself. You know, hold the baby the whole time, but
Speaker 2: and yes, you probably shouldn't bring all that up. Yeah,
Speaker 1: no, no, definitely don't be bringing that up. I mean like definitely don't be bringing that up, but
Speaker 1: I do think that we are, we are recognizing that we're dealing with a set of friends that seem to be uncomfortable being away from their baby at all. And that might be something that you give into on this year and then not the following year. I just want to set the idea that it's okay. Um, but I also want you to remember that this is the bummer news is that
Speaker 1: they might not react well to this. This might be really offensive. Really difficult. Really frustrating. They may feel both offended and alienated because here's a party they've gone to six years running and now this big wonderful thing is in their life and they can bring it to the party too and that's such an inconvenience for them. And if they don't do babysitters then they really can't come to the party.
Speaker 1: And you kind of have to ask yourself which as the host am I more willing to have this year the baby at the party with the expectation that I'm going to make this real clear for invitations next year. Or do I want to have the couple be you know, annoyed or upset or choose to stay home? They might positively choose to stay home. They might say, you know what,
Speaker 1: it's okay that we miss it this year. We'd rather be home with the baby. It makes our life so much easier. Don't worry.
Speaker 1: And you might get that.
Speaker 2: I think there's a good chance,
Speaker 1: but I also think you could get the,
Speaker 1: well we've come every single year and this isn't going to be a big deal. Our baby is going to mostly sleep through everything. Like you could get the other version that's like, I can't believe you're making a big deal out of this or I'm really hurt. They might never show up to the party again. Like there's a lot of negative scary storytelling that we could do in our heads to make us really fearful of this. But I think I want to come back to the very first thing we said you are the host and you get to make these decisions and other people at some point, we do just have to say you're going to have to deal with the decision that I've made. These people are saying that to you right now. We added our son to this party that we know is an adults only party. You have to deal with the decision we made. So now
Speaker 1: it's your turn to say, okay, you've put me in this position.
Speaker 1: I'm totally willing to accept the baby. No, I'm not willing to accept the baby. I'm willing to accept the baby this year, but not next year. Like you are in the driver's seat again. So embrace that position. Feel confident
Speaker 1: if it ends up being that they don't show up to the party. I say do what you can to really try to go over for tea, have a dinner with them where the baby is welcome. Like do the things you can to try to get back on the normal socializing track with these folks
Speaker 2: carry. Thank you for the question. I never thought that I'd get a question where
Speaker 2: lizzie post would be more permissive about kids at parties than me, but you found a sweet spot. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2: Yeah,
Speaker 2: because now I have an idea.
Speaker 2: Could you leave it to a group of SPS? Just this once
Speaker 2: left us to make it a special party.
Speaker 2: Thank you for your questions. Please send us updates, comments or feedback on our answers to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 80285 a kind that's 8028585463 on instagram. We are at Emily Post institute and on facebook we are awesome etiquette
Speaker 2: on twitter. We are at Emily Post inst remember to use the hashtag awesome etiquette in your post so that we know you want your question comment or feedback on the show.
Speaker 1: It's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer in the topics we cover and today we've got some feedback on the $5 birthday parties where a couple received birthday party invitation for their child to go to another child's birthday and it said please include a $5 bill so that our kids can get something that they really want
Speaker 1: And it was or nothing at all. And it was like either bring $5 or kind of don't bring a gift. I believe that's what the setup was for this particular party. And the question was how do we feel about that on our show? You know that we do look at birthday parties is a really great learning opportunity for kids.
Speaker 1: It's a great opportunity for them to be understanding gift giving, especially gift giving outside of the family
Speaker 1: where we've got, you know other kids whose feelings were trying to protect. We've got a lot of good um receiving and thanking and showing our gratitude. That's a part of it. There's a lot of good patients watching other people get things when you don't get things. But at the same time, we've also talked about how
Speaker 1: straining birthday parties are. A lot of parents right in saying how boring kids birthday parties are and I bet you can imagine what we think about that.
Speaker 1: Um, but it's, it's really an interesting time in the world of kids birthday parties. So we had some feedback on the $5 birthday party.
Speaker 2: Casey begins,
Speaker 2: hi dan lizzie and the awesome etiquette team. I have just had the pleasure of listening to episode number 2 66 birthday cash and it has left me with some afterthoughts.
Speaker 2: I believe the invitation anonymous received did not fully explain or embody the spirit of a current trend among Children's birthday parties. Perhaps the host did not think to supply this or it was a misunderstanding many parents at this time and for more than one reason are looking to do just as lizzie post stated and move away from consumerism and materialism
Speaker 2: in trying to melt together that desire for fewer material items with the natural generosity that flows with birthdays. Many parents have turned to the trend of the fiver party,
Speaker 2: which I read his favorite party until I figured
Speaker 1: out what we were talking about.
Speaker 2: Five parties allow the host to ask for attendees to please not bring traditional gifts, but instead a $5 bill in a nice card bonus points if there are stickers or it's handmade
Speaker 2: To contribute to something the child really wants. This information is typically given in the invitation in the form of please do not bring gifts to the party. We are only asking for $5 in cash from each partygoer to put toward
Speaker 2: insert big ticket items such as new BMX bike, piano lessons donation to a charity.
Speaker 2: I can certainly see how this might come off abrasively but still see potential for courtesy between the host who requested it and the attendee that might like dan post any thought
Speaker 2: have that one party slash gift to get within a short period of time thought I also like the ease fiber parties provide when it comes to thank you notes as a nice description and our picture of the child enjoying this big ticket item can be sent to each party attendee and personalized based on the fun experiences
Speaker 2: at the party such as
Speaker 2: my kid has so much fun with your kid in school at math center and it was such a delight. You came and jumped on the bounce house with us
Speaker 2: instead of just the gift.
Speaker 2: I have additionally provided a link in this email that might explain it better than I can about fiber parties and this trend for convenience as I personally think they are wonderful and we have
Speaker 2: just taking that link and published it to our social media. So all of those social media handles that. You can use to submit your questions awesome etiquette, you can use to find the good housekeeping article that Casey included. About five or parties.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much for your time and attention
Speaker 2: best wishes. Casey
Speaker 1: Casey thank you so much for explaining the fiber party in a bit more detail and the link to the article will certainly help people have good ideas for how to handle fiber party as well. This is such a tough, it's such a tough zone for us because
Speaker 1: We do from an etiquette standpoint, see so much value in a lot of the opening of gifts and the choosing of gifts and that sort of thing. But we also really sympathize with today's modern parent Dan is one
Speaker 1: who, you know, they don't want a lot of clutter. We are dealing with just the nature of our consumerism and how much literal mass it has accumulated on our planet. And so people are concerned with this. People want their lives to feel less cluttered
Speaker 1: and they're trying to encourage Children to live in a world that needs less and isn't as cluttered. And so there's some really amazing things about five or parties
Speaker 1: that work for today's modern parents. And I think our job at the Emily Post etiquette Institute is to figure out the sample language, the best ways to make the really good intentions and the efficiency of this shine through without somehow feeling like we've given up on tradition or that we've just
Speaker 1: made things just about money and cash that we really want to make sure the kids, I like the idea of decorating the cards, helm, making the cards
Speaker 1: so that kids have that, that generosity within that. Um, uh, that moment of giving something to someone that you've put time and effort into. Um, so there's, there's a lot to be said here. I also don't want fiver parties to then have um, the other effect of making people who don't choose to use them seem like they are grabbing for gifts or
Speaker 1: you know, having this kind of attitude. So there's a real balance that we're seeing in the world of parenting right now that we're trying to find from an etiquette standpoint
Speaker 2: Casey as I was sitting at the book exchange portion of my nieces shared october Halloween birthday party with a slew of kids from kindergartens and day cares and more kids than you would imagine it. Even most birthday parties. I was thinking about your email, it certainly is something to think about. Thank you for your feedback.
Speaker 1: Thank you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please keep them coming. You can send your comment or update two awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com or leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 K. I. N. D. That's 8028585463.
Speaker 2: It's time for our post script segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette and today I am delighted we are going to talk about the history of table manners.
Speaker 2: Um Today's reading comes from one of our absolute favorites Margaret visitors, the rituals of dinner. And this is about the transition that occurred historically between serving utensils moving from one spoon, one pot to individual implements with a communal pot. So the place setting as we know it today, emerging from a more communal and shared food experience.
Speaker 2: Margaret visser and lizzie post Take us away.
Speaker 1: Starting on page 3 18. This comes from the rituals of dinner by Margaret Visser.
Speaker 1: The provision of special implements for moving food from serving dish to plate as opposed to placing it in the mouth, came about slowly, european manners gradually changed from several people taking it in turns to dip the one shared spoon into the pot and eating from it
Speaker 1: to wiping a spoon carefully on a napkin before passing it on
Speaker 1: to being provided with a spoon each for dipping and eating
Speaker 1: to having to wipe even that spoon on a napkin before dipping it into the common dish just because one had sipped from it
Speaker 1: to using a special spoon for serving and nothing else. One must never forget and use one's own spoon by mistake.
Speaker 1: More and more cutlery was required for all this purity
Speaker 1: and of course owning a great deal of cutlery meant ensuring that it was all put to use.
Speaker 1: It is still a complicated business to remember, for example, not to take butter with one's own knife because jam and crumbs might disgustingly bas, speckle the butter pat
Speaker 1: to use the special butter knife, differentiated from the others in some way, so as to remind people to leave it on the butter dish,
Speaker 1: not to stir with the sugar spoon, but with one's own teaspoon and so on. Still, we are not as fussy as the 19th century Albacete gentleman who was flanked as he ate by servants, whose job it was to hand him spoons from the right and to take them away from the left. Take note that that is completely opposite from what we normally do.
Speaker 1: His standards were so high that he never used a spoon for more than a single mouthful
Speaker 1: sharing cutlery at meals, like sharing plates meant that people accepted great intimacy with those present at table.
Speaker 1: Norbert Elias has pointed out how table manners in our own culture, in recent times, have increasingly separated the diners physically from one another.
Speaker 1: Distaste for sharing cutlery came about not to begin with, out of any fear of spreading disease. That is a modern discovery which we now use to strengthen and rationalize an already existing taboo.
Speaker 1: Keeping our bodies clean and separate and therefore safe from the disgust of others seems in us to be a physical expression of mental state.
Speaker 1: The positive aspects of which are self sufficiency, self control and a partly self interested consideration for feelings and others which are similar to our own.
Speaker 1: The negative aspects include the unwillingness to share, to care to touch or to trust.
Speaker 1: I think it was so interesting to see how even when we were dealing with one serving spoon and that being passed from person to person, that at some point we became aware of the idea that wiping that spoon off was a good idea.
Speaker 1: Then we started to, it was like we kept separating ourselves out, then we started to have,
Speaker 1: you know, our own spoon, but we weren't. So we got rid of the communal spoon, but we reach in with our own and it's important that we wipe that off before we reach back into the communal pot. And then we get to a place where it's like, well we each have our own spoon and the pot has its own pot and marry, the two should meet. And it's just it's a fascinating
Speaker 1: idea that we both
Speaker 1: do consider. It's so intimate. I mean, this is why it's so fascinating to me when partners who have lived together for so long,
Speaker 1: Make remember that one question we got. I've lived with my husband for 30 years. It drives me nuts when he eats off my plate and that might have been reversed. It might have been the wife to the husband. But it was really interesting that here's someone you share very intimate life with.
Speaker 1: And yet even they, you are unwilling to have them eat off your plate.
Speaker 1: Um, the idea of who, who are you willing to share a spoon with when you're, you know, in Rome eating gelato with your cousin and like, you know, Yeah. Like what, what where do we carve out the mind verse yours? The
Speaker 1: cleanliness. Uh, we see this issue come up in all kinds of subsets of our culture when it comes to sharing with one another. Because we, as humans like to do that. We like to share. Take the good thing I'm enjoying and you should enjoy it too. That's a positive thing. But don't don't get your spit on it, don't, you know, be dirty with it. Don't make. I know, and that's the big etiquette question,
Speaker 1: but it's a great idea. I like I like coming at this from the idea of the development of the serving spoon
Speaker 2: Margaret visser is such a treat. She gives you so much to think about. As you point out, there are all of the particular reasons, the practical explanations for why
Speaker 2: one thing is adopted or another thing is abandoned.
Speaker 2: What I also really like about her is how smart she is with how she presents history that it's it's not told as if it's a single story that begins here, You progress through the sets of steps and you conclude here,
Speaker 2: I love her little inclusion of the person who eats every bite with a fresh spoon?
Speaker 1: That there is a place on the
Speaker 2: spectrum? That's even more clean, separate
Speaker 2: ritual. Ized in every way. And that's not necessarily where we've ended up. It's not like, oh you start here in this one place and then you progress neatly to this other place. It's it really looks at all the combinations of factors that come into effect,
Speaker 2: what happens in any particular moment and it's really rich
Speaker 1: and she lets that pendulum swing. Like so here we're talking about the development of many people moving through these phases of serving spoon to regular spoon to, you know, individual spoons to a serving spoon and an individual spoon.
Speaker 1: You know, and we get to this place and throughout that there were extremes and she shows us those extremes with these little tidbits of you know, like and here's this person who
Speaker 1: and you can picture how eating with that many people interrupting each by each time. You know, he was flanked by servants. It says, and can't you just imagine how then that isolates him during the meal because he's so busy having to deal with the survey. You know, the spoons coming and going
Speaker 1: that you wonder did he have time to talk now You probably did.
Speaker 1: But how did that then I am going to go on the the assumption and say degrade the rest of the conversation around the table? You know, if you were trying to dine with him, would you feel very distracted by all of the spoon and servant tree or would you
Speaker 1: instead feel you know like oh
Speaker 1: That's so cool. You know, I mean we don't know, you know, it's like the first time you saw someone with a cellphone eating at a restaurant, did you think it was gross or did you think it was amazing? Like did you think they were like 007? You know like so cool.
Speaker 1: It's just really interesting when she swings that pendulum to see you know, kind of what gets caught in it and I love, I love that she'll take a big piece of history and then drop in something so specific as that one person
Speaker 1: who ate that way
Speaker 1: but very, very cool. Always cool diving into the rituals of dinner.
Speaker 2: Thank you lizzie post. Thank you Margaret visser.
Speaker 1: What to do with a knife and fork even when finished using them is part of eating Well, holidays are days to be glad
Speaker 1: and all good manners are ways to make people glad.
Speaker 1: We like to end our show on a high note. So we turn to you to hear about the good etiquette you're seeing and experiencing out in the world and that can come in so many forms. Today we hear from fit tra
Speaker 2: Hello, I'd like to salute dan of dan's taxi as well as mike and the rest of the staff at Billy's seafood in Saint john new Brunswick
Speaker 2: Last month I traveled to Canada with my family. During our time in ST john we hired dan of dan's taxi to drive us from place to place, dan was patient, affable and helpful. We enjoyed speaking with him about our travels and learning a few things about him, including listening to a song by a former band mate of his.
Speaker 2: They and graciously gave us recommendations for what to do while we were in Saint john
Speaker 2: and also our stop in Halifax nova Scotia.
Speaker 2: Our time with dan came to an end when he dropped me, my husband and our one year old daughter off at Billy's seafood, which was a recommendation of his for lunch. We had broken away from our larger traveling party. The entire staff at Billy's was wonderful in particular. Mike helped us situate our daughter's car seat and helped entertain her while we were there.
Speaker 2: The best part came later after we had left ST john
Speaker 2: unbeknownst to us, another group in our traveling party had eaten at Billy's seafood shortly after us after talking with them, Mike realized they knew us and gave them our daughters had, which we had not realized we left at the restaurant
Speaker 2: as well as a restaurant branded pen to give us. We really got a kick out of hearing about their own experience with mike.
Speaker 2: I'm sorry, this is so long. A lot of details are necessary to tell the whole story. I wish I had written in right after our trip but I'm not a wordsmith so I was overwhelmed by the idea of writing this all out. I am now glad I did. Thank you. Warm regards Vitra in Knoxville
Speaker 1: fit. Thank you so much for writing in. This is great. We've been hearing a lot of Canadian trips gone really well. I think it proves the kind of impression true that Canadians are very polite, they're very thoughtful, very courteous and I think that we love getting those highlights here especially because we're so close to Canada.
Speaker 2: I love your discovery about how good it felt to write this all down, expressing gratitude, expressing appreciation.
Speaker 2: It does feel good. Thank you for sharing that good feeling with all of us.
Speaker 2: Oh
Speaker 1: thank you for
Speaker 2: listening. Thank you to everyone who sent us something.
Speaker 1: Please connect with us and share this show with your friends, family and coworkers. And don't forget to to share it on social media.
Speaker 2: You can send us your next question, comment or salute to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind that's 8028585463 on twitter. We are at Emily Post
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Speaker 1: Our show is edited by Chris Albertine and assistant produced by Brigitte Dowd. Thanks Kris and Brigitte.
Speaker 1: Oh!