Episode 274 - Secret Santa
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 invitations for exes, less than awesome gifts from family for your wedding, moving on from roommates, a question of gifts for graduates, and titles for widows and beyond. For Awesome Etiquette sustaining members we talk about office secret Santa registries. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and a postscript segment on consideration, respect and honesty for the holidays.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social, could you see that's old fashioned,
Speaker 1: watch how busy post and they're supposed to act as host and hostess. They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person, real friendliness.
Speaker 1: Hello and welcome to awesome etiquette where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On today's show, we take your questions on invitations for X is less than awesome gifts from family for your wedding. Moving on from roommates,
Speaker 1: a question of gifts for graduates and titles for widows and beyond
Speaker 1: for awesome etiquette sustaining members. We talk about the office secret santa or gift swap and whether registries are a good idea plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript segment on consideration, respect and honesty for the holidays. All that's coming up,
Speaker 1: 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, I'm lizzie post and I'm dan post sending, we need to check in. I feel like even though it's like two weeks after the fact
Speaker 1: in the show timeline we need to catch up on thanksgiving because we both had thanksgiving. I haven't seen you in. Ohio, a lot has happened. A lot has happened
Speaker 1: so quick check in. Yeah, how was thanksgiving? It was okay, so you might think I'm terrible, horrible daughter for saying this, but I actually said to my mom this year, this didn't really feel thanksgiving me. Like we had all the food and it was like my immediate family and then one set of aunts, uncles came to visit, but it wasn't like the 26 person, £24 turkey. Thanksgiving that I remember growing up with and that
Speaker 1: I so look forward to like seeing cousins. I don't typically see everyone's kind of moved to the mid atlantic region. So they all kind of do that thanksgiving down there now and my immediate family were just not at a space yet where we're all traveling to go be with them. So it was very small and it was like, it hit all the marks, right. I mean we had the orders, we had the food, we had the,
Speaker 1: you know, second round of food later on, you know, and the chatting and all that. But
Speaker 1: I didn't feel all the like, pomp and search and the craziness of like watching little kids run. Well actually everyone was watching Jasper run everywhere, which was awesome. But it was just a little like, like where is everybody? And so I'm looking to get back that like, I forgot to put on the makeup and my mom forgot to get dressed dressed in like her holiday clothes.
Speaker 1: So we kind of like all laughed like it was thanksgiving, but it looks a hint subdued. Yeah, it was like super subdued, not even a hint. And so we kind of, we kind of laughed at that and how we're so used to these big ones and this was a little on this year. The
Speaker 1: Karmic scales must be imbalanced because you had quite the wild like Thanksgiving bonkers, hold on, just so you all know when Dan and I caught up yesterday on the phone, this took 40 minutes to regale. So
Speaker 1: give us the bullet pointed list of of where you went and which family was directing which event? Because this was a nutty, nutty four days you've participated in it really all started the week before with a great big friends giving with all of his college friends, nice, which is families and kids and that boisterous feeling you're talking about. Yeah. And then at work travel for a couple of days, I immediately get home, we prep the house, thanksgiving day the sending family forms like the Ultron, they come from
Speaker 1: boston all over Vermont and
Speaker 1: they landed in our house. The numbers grow, the numbers grow. We get up to over 30 it's down to my aunt carol's for the big thanksgiving dinner, Big thanksgiving dinner, wake up the next morning thanksgiving breakfast with sending family at my parents house, leave from thanksgiving breakfast, drive to pooches uncle's house where we pick up the Gupta family thanksgiving
Speaker 1: Mid run that's at least 50 people plus just in case you wanted to know. Yes and we've missed the big meal, but there's still a series of satellite meals going on, catch the lunch go out to sea frozen too with all the little cousins come back, go to another cousin's house for the evening follow up meal.
Speaker 1: Next day is Putin's mother hosting the goodbye meal at her house. So and then you go come three hours back to Vermont Yes, and then you show up for work, monday morning, yes, grand total celebrated with well over 100 people around the table sharing big thanksgiving meals. It was nonstop for four days. I think my favorite visual is the setting family descending and coming together like volt tron, a totally a great generational reference for us and view just a great image. Well we hope that you all had fabulous thanksgivings at your holidays and I know that we have a ton of questions coming in right now. We are so excited for them. Let's get to the rest of the show, let's do it,
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions on how to behave. If you have a question for us, you can email it to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 80285 a kind that's 8028585463
Speaker 1: on twitter. We are at Emily Post and on instagram, we are at Emily Post institute
Speaker 1: on facebook were awesome etiquette. Remember to use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts so that we know you want your question on the show and sustaining members. Remember to put sustaining members somewhere in your message.
Speaker 1: We'll answer your question out of a smaller pool of sustaining member questions and you'll get your answers at patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette where you can also access and adds free version of the show.
Speaker 1: Our first question is titled X. X. X. X. X. X. X. X. So we need to stop me now.
Speaker 1: Dear Dad and Lizzie, my brother's youngest daughter, my niece is expecting a baby in a few months and I have offered to host a shower for her but I don't want to invite her mother, her mother and my brother divorced more than 20 years ago but it was an incredibly nasty situation that we are still upset about
Speaker 1: I and all but the most saintly of our family members really would rather never have to see my ex sister in law. Again,
Speaker 1: this knee stays in touch with her mother out of a sense of duty and so that she can maintain relationships with her younger half siblings.
Speaker 1: My ex sister in law is also hosting a shower and invited much of our family. I promptly sent my regrets and wish them well and I think everyone else in our family did the same.
Speaker 1: Can I simply not invite this woman? I feel certain from her past behavior that if I don't make it clear that she is not welcome, she could very well just show up.
Speaker 1: I adore my brother's new wife and I know she would be even more uncomfortable having the mother at the shower than I would be.
Speaker 1: Can I ask my niece to explain to her mom that we are not inviting her to make sure her step mom feels comfortable
Speaker 1: or are we simply awful people to not want her there? I think my niece will understand that we're not including her mom's family. They will have all attended one shower for her anyway,
Speaker 1: thank you in advance for your insight and guidance. I hope you will answer this on the podcast. I listen every week, all the best Helen.
Speaker 1: Okay, so you all have heard us talk about excess on the show before. You've heard us talk that really the olive branch is our go to first level of advice on this. I'm hearing a lot of assuming bad based on past behavior and experience and that sometimes can be very smart, it can be very smart to kind of know who you're dealing with
Speaker 1: At the same time. I also heard a divorced 20 years ago and I heard that X. Um sister in law had former sister in law, we should really say former sister in law reached out offering invitations to come to this shower that she is hosting. I like the fact that former sister in law is hosting a shower. So there's some kind of celebration for her daughter.
Speaker 1: The mother and daughter can participate in. It makes me less worried about trying to get former sister in law to the shower or feeling obligated. But there's a little therapist in my brain saying is this just a whole lot of grudge holding going on and a lot of just keeping people in the past
Speaker 1: when maybe it's time to start moving on from that narrative about life, even if it was really awful. I don't know, I don't know this family well enough and I don't know how bad the circumstances really were. We know that nice slash daughter in this situation
Speaker 1: is not necessarily close with her mother but is making an effort to keep ties because of half siblings and things like that
Speaker 1: might go to answer here is talk to nice about this. She's the honorary first of all. And so it really is her guest list, but we've always said then you also want to balance with the hosts preferences, circumstances, that sort of thing.
Speaker 1: I'm wondering if there aren't ways for if nice would really like mom there or would really like mom to feel included by an invitation that you go for it and you let the adults, the two women who have both married your brother at different points in life, choose to take care of themselves and we know in our family there are a lot of excess and
Speaker 1: um we have seen varying degrees of X's choosing to participate.
Speaker 1: X is not being invited or being invited, but more often than not on the really big occasions, everyone gets invited and they make decisions for themselves about how to behave. And I think that there are ways to tactfully
Speaker 1: keep X's separate during parties, like without making it obvious that you're like, oh, now we should move into this room. Oh, let me distract you with a conversation. So you don't see that person over there like you know there, you don't have to be that obvious about it. In fact, that creeps into the territory of like icky.
Speaker 1: But I do think that it can be generous to find ways to accommodate this. If nice thinks it's a good idea. What do you think I have nothing to add to your stages? 12 and three. Okay. Rapprochement is better if
Speaker 1: it can be achieved. Reproach mall, fill me in french speaking cousin. Uh, some sort of reconciliation. Okay, gotcha is always
Speaker 1: ideal.
Speaker 1: My only addition is if that's really not possible if whatever happened was so egregious, so unforgivable or still relevant in some way that shouldn't be let go. Exactly. The behavior of past events has been so awful. You really don't want to invite this person to another event? Exactly. If that's the case, then I'm not going to ask
Speaker 1: the needs to explain that
Speaker 1: to her biological mother. Oh, yes, this is a whole other part. We haven't talked about that. If you decide not to invite her mother, your former sister in law, that it's best
Speaker 1: to not get into all of the reasons why because that can just be more painful and it can force people into even more awkward situations. If for whatever reason is a host, you really don't feel comfortable
Speaker 1: even asking if you should issue that invitation.
Speaker 1: I think it's better to say as little about as possible. If you need to say something, if you need to say something to your needs, just be clear about your reasons for not doing it, explain it and leave it at that. And again, then you let people make their decisions about how they want to talk about it, feel about it and respond to it.
Speaker 1: Like you lizzie. I felt really relieved when I heard that the former sister in law had also decided to host a shower because in the very practical world,
Speaker 1: that's going to help everyone feel better. Whichever way you end up deciding to go,
Speaker 1: Helen, We hope this answer helps good luck with the rest of the planning for the shower. I'm sure it's going to be a smashing success. Do you think bringing the problem out in the open tattling if you want to call it, that would have been justified and the wisest thing for duty to do or do you believe that under ordinary circumstances, the problem would have worked itself
Speaker 2: out.
Speaker 1: Our next question is titled Gift Snubbed by sisters High. First of all, I want to thank everyone for all the advice I found on the Emily Post website while planning my wedding. I have a question regarding wedding gifts. I was married on november 2nd 2019. I have three sisters and it took them about a month to give me a wedding gift.
Speaker 1: I didn't expect much, but they were not generous. I feel hurt in a way by their gift. It seemed as though it was a last minute thought
Speaker 1: they sent me an electronic gift card which I can see was not purchased until about a month after the wedding. They also didn't even send us a card. Is it terrible of me to feel hurt by this?
Speaker 1: I was very generous with them during the wedding and spent more on each of them for a bridesmaid gift than they did on a gift for us from all three of them. I also paid for their hair and my parents paid for all of their other expenses for the wedding. So I know being in the wedding didn't put them out
Speaker 1: I guess. I just don't know how to handle the situation and what to do for a gift when it's their turn to get married.
Speaker 1: I look forward to hearing a response. Thanks so much Alison
Speaker 1: Alison, thanks for the question and thanks for mentioning that the Emily Post website was so helpful when you were planning your wedding. I am really glad that it was useful to you and congratulations. This is a relatively new event November two
Speaker 1: now to the,
Speaker 1: the substance of your question,
Speaker 1: this is a really difficult, awkward situation. I can appreciate feeling hurt because particularly the gift had nothing about it that personalized it in some way that it felt
Speaker 1: almost like someone was just hitting a requirement in some way. I have to get a wedding gift. Here comes that electronic gift card a month later. I can completely appreciate that stinging just a little bit.
Speaker 1: Also considering you worked really hard to involve them in your wedding in what sounds like pretty substantial ways.
Speaker 1: Here's the hard part of the etiquette. This is where lizzie and I get to buck you up and say it's important for you not to respond in kind, it's really important not to hold this grudge particularly till their wedding, but that is something you just don't want to have to carry. You don't want to carry it for that long and
Speaker 1: you don't want it to impact that unrelated event. That's
Speaker 1: at some point in the future right now, just a theoretical possibility exactly, they might not get married. You never know it is not easy, but assuming the best of other people and making every effort to give them the benefit of the doubt to remind yourself that people are at different stages in life and
Speaker 1: whereas you spent time thinking about weddings and wedding traditions and even researching at places like Emily Post dot com, that this just might not even be in their field of vision, they might not be thinking about this at all. And my thought with this one
Speaker 1: to me that's a very forgivable mistake. That's not someone intentionally trying to hurt you. And
Speaker 1: that's what I would really try to focus on. I would try to give someone the benefit of the doubt in terms of their intent and then
Speaker 1: try to respond in the best ways that I could and in this case that's going to be a thank you for the gift that they did give you, even though it didn't feel like it hit all the marks I'm with you 100%. I think the more Alison can get her brain to a place of, oh well they didn't live up to what I would do, but people have different standards. Maybe they thought they did more throughout the wedding. I can tell you that it is very common misconception that close family members who are in the wedding don't have to give a wedding gift because they spend so much time participating in the wedding
Speaker 1: and I can hear that, you know, financially things were taken care of for these sisters. But honestly, I mean, anyone who's, who's had a sibling get married, they know that it often is like the conversation for the entire, like length of the year or the six months or the three months or however long it is leading up
Speaker 1: and that might not have been the circumstances in your family. But
Speaker 1: I can just tell you that so, so many bridesmaids and groomsmen and you know, family of the bride and groom right into it saying, do we have to get a wedding gift? We've participated in so many ways. It seems like extra to ask for a gift on top of that.
Speaker 1: So we hear that all the time your sisters may have just been in that zone. They may have been thinking that they didn't really have two and a month
Speaker 1: after the wedding. They find out, oh my gosh, we're supposed to get her a gift. What should we do?
Speaker 1: It doesn't sound like you got a very caring or thoughtful gift. I'm going to completely agree with you on that some people just aren't great at gift giving
Speaker 1: And I am sorry that for whatever reason they didn't get a gift that really made you feel special and made it feel like they were honoring your day. But I am so 100% with my cousin Dan here that I would not try to hold a grudge. I would not try to respond in kind
Speaker 1: potentially years from now
Speaker 1: when they get married, I would try to be the person I wish that other people were for me.
Speaker 1: The only thing that I can add at this point is that as I was reading this question, I was thinking about the postscript on last week's show where we talked about gift giving and it wasn't so much advice about exactly what kind of gifts to give, but about the spirit of gift giving and how you can honour that
Speaker 1: spirit of gift giving so that whatever you choose to give is received well. And it's understood to be coming from a place of good intent and
Speaker 1: it's tough with that mark is missed. But it's up to all of us to be understanding about other people's mistakes as well as our own
Speaker 1: Allison congratulations once again and good luck handling this awkward situation with your sister's moving forward.
Speaker 1: There's a big box which the express men is delivering to jimmy's family as we watch what happens to the box. We're going to find out many things about sharing with others.
Speaker 1: Do you know what we mean by sharing? Our next question is titled awkward roomie situation.
Speaker 1: Hello, I just wanted to say, I absolutely love the podcast and have found it very helpful. It seems I have gotten myself into a bit of a pickle. I am in college and live in a town house with three other girls. Two of them were random roommates who I am not close to but one is a friend in quotes.
Speaker 1: She did not have many other friends and I felt bad for her. So I offered to room with her
Speaker 1: partially because I felt bad for her and partially because as a transfer, I was new and just needed a place to live.
Speaker 1: However, as we are getting ready to find a place for next year, she seems to expect that we will live together next year and I really do not want to. She is very quiet, we have nothing in common and her dog is so annoying and the responsibility for the dog often falls on me.
Speaker 1: How do I kindly tell her I do not want to be roommates without hurting her feelings. Should I just live with her and tolerate it? Because I lived with her this year. S. O. S. Thank you Maggie.
Speaker 1: I like the S. O. S. I was trying to think it would it be like S. O. R. S. O. S. O. L. S like save our living situation.
Speaker 1: Oh Maggie, I feel for you. Um I honestly think you need to tell this gal that you're not going to live with her. I think that that's the best way to go. Um I am a big fan of, of not trying to use, I felt bad for someone in certain circumstances that tie me to them for a very long time and
Speaker 1: I feel bad for you therefore I'm going to live with you is one of my no goes,
Speaker 1: I feel bad for you. So I will let you move in for a bit and we will put an end cap on that for sure if you know you've got a friend going through a hard time but you're in college, there are lots of ways for this person to find a different living, you know, situation for herself.
Speaker 1: I think it's really important that you move forward to a living situation that you're going to like. And I really don't like the fact that her dog care falls on you most of the time. That's a big no, no for me, people need to be responsible for their pets. That's really, really important.
Speaker 1: So I think that you need to tell her as dan always says the sooner the better because it gives both of you the chance to find someone to live with sample language might be carrie. I've decided I'd like to live with blank this other person or on my own next year or if you haven't figured out what your living situation is going to be your, your desired situation.
Speaker 1: You might just say, I've decided to switch up my living situation. I'd really like a change
Speaker 1: those things are ways to let someone know that you're just, you're looking for something different. And I think that that's a, that's a good place to come from. If she asks for reasons why you can either stick to your script of, I just really want something different or you can say, I'll be honest,
Speaker 1: I take care of your dog a lot and I'm not interested in doing that or I really want to live with these other people are in this other place and
Speaker 1: I've decided to do that on my own.
Speaker 1: I would be ready to stick to your guns that you want to be clear about your intentions and then you also want to be firm with yourself that you're going to stick to it. I might avoid bringing up the dog because you might open the door to a discussion about, well
Speaker 1: I'll take better care of my dog or I'll be the one who is responsible for it. That's where you have to be firm and you just say,
Speaker 1: I understand I'm not willing to do that and you just move forward from that. Like I think, I think you can address it if someone brings it up to you.
Speaker 1: I was even imagining having a couple of reasons and I'll put that in air quotes that I could share. That weren't necessarily related to this roommate where you'd want that are honest reasons but that are coming from you that are unassailable. That are things that really aren't open for question because they're your perspectives in your opinions.
Speaker 1: I would ask to have that discussion. I would say could we talk about our plans for moving out or living for next year. I like the prime ng of it already with our plans for moving out. That's a good, I like that. That already seeds the idea that like
Speaker 1: not, not, not where are we both going to live but our plans for moving on from here and it can be brought up in a number of ways. Our lease is coming up on its termination. The school year is ending. I'm thinking about next year. I'd love to talk with you about
Speaker 1: closing this house down, moving out, whatever that is that you're going to be doing Maggie. The final thought I wanted to leave you with is I want to really encourage you not to worry too much about this. This isn't necessarily a hurtful thing. People
Speaker 1: come and go from living situations all the time. It's not uncommon for someone to live with a group of people for a while and then decide they want to do something different. And it doesn't need to be a comment on
Speaker 1: how good a roommate your roommate is that
Speaker 1: it really is a lot simpler than that. It's about a choice that you're making for yourself and the way you want to live next year at school and that's entirely reasonable.
Speaker 1: Good luck to you. We hope this conversation goes smoothly and we hope you love your living situation next year. If you have any problems like those, you've just seen talk them over, get them settled because the only way to have a friend is to be one and friendship is one of the most precious things in life.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about a gift for the grad, dear, awesome etiquette a while back. We received an invitation not an announcement to our grand nephews high school graduation. The invitation was sent three days prior and arrived the day of the graduation to be more specific. It arrived four hours before the graduation ceremony was to commence.
Speaker 1: The only problem is that they live in Alabama and we live in pennsylvania. There was no way we could attend. However, I expect they knew that we debated sending gift and eventually relented and sent money card
Speaker 1: to date. We have not received a thank you note or email. We were never close with this faction of the family and haven't seen or spoken to them in years. I feel they sent the invitation to illicit gifts and I'm offended that we didn't receive some acknowledgement considering the circumstances
Speaker 1: they have two more sons and I expect we might receive more invitations in the future. Are we required to send gifts or can we just send a nice card of congratulations. Thank you sincerely Tracy
Speaker 1: Tracy, Thank you for the question. I want to start with the clear etiquette and then talk a little bit more about the broader situation. The first rule of etiquette that I wanna lay as a foundation for our discussion is that you're not obligated to send a graduation gift. Even if you had received that invitation
Speaker 1: months early and
Speaker 1: attended the graduation, if it was closer and you've been there if you've attended a graduation party, there isn't an obligation to respond to an invitation to a graduation or the announcement of a graduation with a gift.
Speaker 1: Many people do. It's not uncommon for people to respond with a card, a card with a little bit of cash or a gift card or even a gift of some sort. So the whole range of possible replies that you've outlined here
Speaker 1: fit and make sense. But in terms of what you're
Speaker 1: obligated to do, you're, you're not obligated to send a gift. So if you do receive something like this, that feels last minute, that feels
Speaker 1: awkward in some way. You shouldn't feel the pressure to, even if it feels awkward just anytime you receive it, even if it's like your most favorite niece in the world, you don't have to send her a gift.
Speaker 1: So as far as thinking about the future,
Speaker 1: it's really entirely up to you if you're feeling good and generous and like you want laboratory celebratory, celebratory, laboratory, that's the perfect word. You can respond in that way. If you're not feeling so celebratory, it's perfectly okay. Not too,
Speaker 1: so that's the kind of etiquette baseline that, that you didn't have that obligation the way you would with a wedding for instance. But there are some other things going on in here. We've got uh icky feeling when this invitation is received because it's coming in the day of the, the event. And I think I try to really go to the generous spot in my head with that one of
Speaker 1: maybe it had gotten lost in the mail and they weren't happy about the fact that it was arriving to you from Alabama, you know, the day of the actual graduation. I don't know what the post marking on it was. If, if it's showing that it was sent only two days before the graduation, you know,
Speaker 1: or if indeed it was sent a month before and for some reason just took a very long time to get there.
Speaker 1: I know that many of you experienced towns where this happens. Um, in fact, I know some people that have mailed their wedding invitations out from other towns just so that wedding invitations actually get to people. But the other thing I want to, I want to just mention here is that you didn't receive a thank you for this. It's okay free to follow up on that.
Speaker 1: And I think we actually haven't talked about that on this show in quite a while, but when you've sent a gift and whether it's a, it's a gift card or whether it's a physical gift and you haven't received that thank you. It is appropriate and it is okay for you to reach out and say, hey, I'm just checking in. I want to make sure this was received.
Speaker 1: And
Speaker 1: in some ways this is us being genuine checking in to make sure a gift was received. And in other ways this is us giving the nudge of, hey, I never heard anything did you get it? And I think that you have some license to do that in this situation. And its
Speaker 1: also a thing that we tell and that our lovely seven year olds when we do events with Children will say when we tell stories about thank you notes that if you don't get a thank you note from someone that your next action is to not send gifts in the future.
Speaker 1: And if you get more invitations from this family, I mean I think it's a little hard because you're dealing with different kids,
Speaker 1: but you might choose to just send cards. You might choose to send the exact same gift card to these other kids and you might actually get thank you notes for them. We don't know exactly where the hold up on the thank you note is, but it is something that we tell people is that it's, it's within your choice. Whether or not you send
Speaker 1: send a gift in the future to someone who hasn't thanked you for a gift that you sent in the past.
Speaker 1: And if I was doing the reach out about was this received? That is an option for you as well. The criteria that I like to recommend when you're thinking about whether or not to exercise that option is can you do it in a way that doesn't sound
Speaker 1: accusatory blaming and those are the things that come across as jerky. Can you bring yourself to that place of? I really just wanted to check as opposed to hey
Speaker 1: checking in, did you get it? A neutrality of emotion with that check in is the price of admission. It's a tough price. It's a hard one to pull off. I would say Tracy. We hope that
Speaker 1: family relationships are smooth in the future, that you get more warning in the future and that you're able to celebrate future grads in exactly the way that makes you and them feel comfortable.
Speaker 1: You're absolutely right George. Most family problems can be solved through frank and friendly discussion, which points the way to a happy family life.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Our final question for today is titles for women who have lost their husbands. So titles for widows. Hi lizzie and dan. I hope this email finds you both. Well, I'm a longtime listener and have enjoyed your advice for years. Now You've helped me with a lot of tricky etiquette questions and I refer back to your show first when I have a situation I want to handle properly.
Speaker 1: I recently got engaged and my fiance and I are so excited to be planning our wedding but we've come across a tricky etiquette question we hope you can help with.
Speaker 1: We are inviting several ladies, mostly my grandmother's friends whose husbands have passed away originally we were addressing them as Miss, which is what a quick google search suggested for widowed individuals. When my grandmother heard we were addressing miss. She got very offended and was upset that we were not using mrs
Speaker 1: which is what she and most of her friends prefer.
Speaker 1: So I read it about 20 save the date envelopes to accommodate that for widowed ladies, both her friends and other individuals we know are widowed. So as not to offend anyone.
Speaker 1: Then the groom's mom who was divorced commented on how she prefers to be addressed as mrs since she was married for a long time. I had never heard of this before but I redid her save the date as well to accommodate her.
Speaker 1: I am now wondering who else I unintentionally mis titled.
Speaker 1: We also have some gender nonconforming friends who we did not title at all. We just use their full names to avoid using gender titles. Our goal is not to offend anyone. So do you have any advice on how to navigate these trickier title issues? Should we just ask everyone up front
Speaker 1: for friends? I'm not terribly worried about asking this question but it would feel weird to ask widowed women what title they want
Speaker 1: is that crass? We spent a good amount of money reordering the envelopes. Getting new stamps and reprinting these addresses on the save the date envelopes. So I hope you can help us figure this out to avoid something similar. When we send the invitations though I am making notes for myself for those specific individuals whose titles have changed
Speaker 1: and maybe help other wedding planners with similar issues. Thank you confused bride to be.
Speaker 1: So this is a very tricky area to occupy. And it's changed over time and it's something that often we deal with differently in different generations
Speaker 1: In Emily's day. In fact we just did a very quick check of the 1922 edition. Widows retain their husbands name. And so if mrs John Smith would stay mrs John Smith. And again this is back in the day when women only ever were recognized in that way
Speaker 1: by using their husbands name. And you just kind of have to know that they are
Speaker 1: a widow but you keep the name going
Speaker 1: divorced women back in the day like Emily herself reverted to their own names. So she was mrs Emily Post and that's own first name. She retained the husband's last name if she wanted wanted. It wasn't until the seventies when we got the title M. S.
Speaker 1: In order to be able to distinguish a woman on her own as an adult woman
Speaker 1: and that could be whether she is married or not. And so nowadays you have some women who are widowed who choose to go back to being mrs. So and so often using their maiden name, it's their choice. And so you do have to do a bit of digging and investigating to find out, especially when you're dealing with a multigenerational list
Speaker 1: who prefers what and I do think that one of the best systems I've ever seen for this is a it was like I received it for a wedding. It was an email that said, could you please fill out your name, address and title the way you like it to appear and that might not work for this particular crowd. But I do think that talking with your grandmother and also reaching out to any guests who you're unsure
Speaker 1: to ask them if they have a preference about names and titles is the way to go. And nowadays, dan do you want to come in with our next except you know, I mean, this was an exciting change in etiquette.
Speaker 1: And what's so exciting is that this is a very traditional area of etiquette, formal titles.
Speaker 1: and we actually have a new option here. I know first time in like 50 years, the
Speaker 1: advent of M. S in the 19 seventies was a big deal and now we have mx pronounced mix and it's a capital M followed by a lowercase X in a period and
Speaker 1: you can use the title mix for anyone who wants to use it. It was really initially introduced for people who were associating as gender nonconforming or saw themselves as non binary in terms of the gender spectrum,
Speaker 1: but
Speaker 1: there's no reason that it can only be used by those people. It's really an option for anyone who would prefer to use a gender neutral title. It's also an option for anyone who's unsure of what titles someone else would like in many ways,
Speaker 1: Mix is an option for all of us and I think we're going to see future generations get really comfortable with the idea that the default is mixed and that then when they're asked to state a preference or give someone their title preference, that then they do I
Speaker 1: I am expecting in the next 10 2030 years to start seeing a lot more junk mail coming into my physical mailbox as mx Elizabeth post. I'll be curious if more and more companies that are mailing out not knowing
Speaker 1: folks gender identity whether or not they're going to adopt that and really, really go for it.
Speaker 1: The title mixes a nice option because it allows you to use formal titles when you've got an individual who doesn't feel like they're well represented by traditional formal titles. It's been
Speaker 1: broadly adopted in some countries in many places. It's a standard option on governmental forums. We haven't seen that kind of universal usage in the United States yet, but as lizzie Post
Speaker 1: mentions, we see it coming. This is definitely an etiquette that's emerging and future etiquette that we see growing. I really do want to caution though on the generational front here that I don't think these widows would appreciate seeing Mix, which some of them might not even be familiar with yet, depending on how much news they're paying attention to
Speaker 1: on this wedding invitation. So we don't advise going full blanket with mixed yet, but we do advise asking people that it's polite to ask people and that. I do think you can also talk with grandma. Clearly there were conversations that came up that that let you know where people stood on their title front
Speaker 1: and I think it's okay to open up and invite those conversations. I don't think you should feel like you have to shy away from them
Speaker 1: actually. It sounds like you've done a really good job here and I so appreciate the having to readdress and Reese to have and reorder you're not the first one. Take some comfort in that but it sounds like you got it right. I also can't leave this question without acknowledging your
Speaker 1: a quick google search and the kind of tough road that had sent you down.
Speaker 1: Um We hope Emily Post was one of the, one of the search results you got. Well yes. And it reminds me that not to trust everything that I read online, that it's important to double check to think about sources,
Speaker 1: but I appreciate your effort to think about it and to think about it ahead of time. And hope this question helps as you get the rest of your invitations out the door.
Speaker 1: 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 also leave us a voicemail or text message at 802858 K. I N. D. That's 8028585463
Speaker 1: on instagram. We are at Emily Post institute and on facebook we are awesome etiquette on twitter. You can find us at at Emily post inst that's I. N. S. T. Just remember to use the hashtag awesome etiquette in your post so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Yeah,
Speaker 1: it's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer and the topics we cover and today we hear from em hi lizzie and dan. I wanted to give some feedback on episode number 2 66 about giving cash at a child's birthday party. I want to start by saying that I loved everything that you said as I also feel torn between traditional gift giving and not wanting more stuff.
Speaker 1: This year, my preschooler just started getting invited to child birthday parties. We have gone to five so far and it's been a learning experience. I make sure that he is part of the gift giving process as I agree that it's a great teaching tool for giving to others.
Speaker 1: He helps me choose a gift. Thinking about the birthday child and what his or her interests are, helps wrap the gift and makes a card gifts have never been opened at any of the parties we have attended and of the five parties we only received one. Thank you note. We have no idea if the birthday Children even liked the presence he chose.
Speaker 1: It is disappointing because I'm trying to teach my son the joy of giving someone a gift that they love and appreciate, but he is not getting to experience that part of it because of this. I would almost rather attend a no gift or fiber party and use more intimate family parties or holidays to teach giving and receiving of gifts. Thank you for the awesome podcast and enjoy the holiday season.
Speaker 1: Um, am I really appreciate you writing in about this because it does give us just a second to reflect and talk about how incredibly important it is to write thank you notes for birthday parties and that it is so, so important for the birthday child to be sending out thank you notes or for the parent to send them out on the child's behalf if they're too young to even put, you know, a squiggle on the card. But it is so incredibly important because otherwise you start to just feel like what's the point?
Speaker 1: And I think we are missing the other half of the gift giving experience and the learning of the gift giving experience for our Children when we don't teach them about gratitude and expressing gratitude and not giving your kids a chance to open gifts in front of other kids means that they aren't getting a chance to express thanks in the moment and learn all the good skills about how to open a gift, how to say thank you, how to handle something you don't like. I mean they can be tough learning moments don't get me wrong but they also can be really valuable. This is really, really important. Do not forget your thank you notes. Do not forget even if you have a no gift, you know, event to say thank you so much for coming to the party.
Speaker 1: This is incredibly important.
Speaker 1: It's probably one of the top three themes for an etiquette podcast. I think the importance of gratitude and thanks and how we express it.
Speaker 1: Thank you for giving us another chance to talk about this
Speaker 1: and thank you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please do keep them coming. You can send your next comment or update to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can also leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463
Speaker 1: mm
Speaker 1: mm
Speaker 1: mm hmm
Speaker 1: mm hmm.
Speaker 1: Mhm.
Speaker 1: It's time for our post script segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette And today we are going to bring it back to the fundamentals were bringing up the principles, we're giving you the best of consideration, respect and honesty which are the three principles that Emily post etiquette is based on
Speaker 1: and we really think that the holiday time is a great time for another
Speaker 1: injection dose, helping serving, pick your word refresher course, return to return. I love it on consideration, respect and honesty. This is a busy time of year. We know that stress often leads to more rudeness which leads to more stress and we want to help you minimize that this time of year. We want you to be in the holiday spirit, we want you to have cheer dan take us away,
Speaker 1: we say it in the intro to every show,
Speaker 1: we base our etiquette on consideration, respect and honesty. That's the entire framework that lizzie and I operate in when we give advice when we answer the questions that you all send us and lizzie says the holidays are one of the
Speaker 1: busiest etiquette times of the year and it's not just the questions about the more formal parties or the holiday tipping. We get a lot of questions from people who are navigating difficult situations and as families come together as people come together as people make an effort to celebrate and bring their best people think about etiquette and they also encounter difficulties doing that. As lizzie said,
Speaker 1: we want to share with you the framework that we use to help
Speaker 1: navigate those situations and hopefully maybe even prevent them from popping up quite as much
Speaker 1: the core principles. The core values that we base our etiquette on our consideration, respect and honesty, making those abstract concepts, those core values explicit and identifiable parts of your behavior is the tricky part. We all have good intentions. We all
Speaker 1: wake up in the morning and think of ourselves as good, competent, capable people and yet rudeness persists. So how do we avoid participating in rudeness? How do we avoid feeding it? Well, here's a simple process based on those core principles. Step one think about other people.
Speaker 1: Consideration is bringing your awareness of others to
Speaker 1: whatever situation you find yourself in, whether it's a difficult situation or
Speaker 1: a not so difficult situation.
Speaker 1: Step two is giving yourself a range of options, giving yourself more than one way to proceed. So oftentimes you'll hear lizzie and I frame our advice as this is the first thing we're thinking about. This is the second step we take. This is the final recourse step.
Speaker 1: That's a process of giving ourselves multiple choices. Which is going to help you think critically about the situation you're in
Speaker 1: not feel so trapped and not just do the impulsive, emotional.
Speaker 1: The first thing that occurs to you, one thing I love about this step is that it gives the rude part of you a chance to be heard because you also want to think of the things you shouldn't do. For example, today in busy traffic as I was zooming down the left lane, someone stuck in the right lane, no blinker, no warning, no, nothing tries to pull into my lane.
Speaker 1: And boy, you know, I hit the horn because that's the safety measure right there, let them know I'm coming. I moved over as far as I could to avoid hitting them. And when we got through it just fine. And the part of my brain that said,
Speaker 1: I want to show some gestures with my hands and I want to yell at this person. I hope they come up alongside me so I can give them the stink eye.
Speaker 1: That part of me vented itself nicely in my own car, not around anybody else or damaging anybody else. And then when that car did pull up, I resisted the urge to glare at the person. I resisted the urge to, you know, flip them off or do anything mean or retaliatory or roll my window down and say
Speaker 1: just so, you know, it would be really wonderful if you use your blinker next time
Speaker 1: they know that they're another human being. Like, I don't need to further this. We got out of the incident unscathed.
Speaker 1: But taking that minute to allow myself to feel the want of doing the bad thing helped me recognize why I shouldn't do it. It's a great tip because we're not talking about being perfect all the time or never having an emotional, irrational, impulsive reaction occurred to you or even try to escape. You just giving it permission to be there. But also organizing it with other choices for ways you can behave is oftentimes enough to make a better choice
Speaker 1: when it comes time to make that choice. You want to think about respect, you want to think about valuing others. You wanna think about respect for yourself and for things as well. But really
Speaker 1: thinking about respect for others is a good way to start to analyze the choices that are in front of you and making a choice. That's good for relationships. That's good for others is really where the rubber meets the road when we're talking about good etiquette, that's
Speaker 1: recognisable by the people around you. That's not just an internal process. Something that's going on in your own mind.
Speaker 1: Step four is the decision making moment. That's where you make a choice that you can live with. Something that you can be genuine about, that you can be sincere with and something that is true. So
Speaker 1: what I think about honesty, I don't just think about a standard of truth of integrity. I also think about a standard of authenticity and sincerity
Speaker 1: because that's where a lot of the magic comes from. When you really do think about other people and care about them and value them. And then you make those choices that are good for your relationships.
Speaker 1: Feeling good about it. Being sincere in those decisions is where the real magic happens. There are times in honesty where we recognize that it's actually going to be easier to choose to do. The thing that's better for the other people in this situation
Speaker 1: and etiquette doesn't necessarily say that you have to be a doormat, but it also doesn't say that things honestly only are good for you. It's it's a balancing of those things and so sometimes we choose to act in a way that means that we have to do a little um
Speaker 1: I don't want to say taking the hit because that always feels like somehow you're losing something and I don't think you always are, but if we can genuinely say that the choice we're going to make is going to benefit the most people involved in a situation, I think that's a place most of us can, can live with in terms of making a decision to move forward. And I think that that
Speaker 1: can sometimes it can feel like a bummer, but oftentimes as you,
Speaker 1: you move forward from it, you feel so good knowing that you made that choice. And we also have this wonderful fifth step of refinement that often kind of lets us feel better or do follow up things that can at least mitigate any kind of like not form fuzzy feelings that might come out of choosing to do the thing that's best for all. And
Speaker 1: you know, it happens in so many ways, guys, it happens when we're choosing a meal and we're trying to balance all the different dietary restrictions or allergies at the table and is it really going to be best to,
Speaker 1: you know, make one meal that fits everyone or is it going to be best to have lots of different options for people. Some people love making sure there's meat on the table. Others would love to. Not Some people
Speaker 1: need to have the gluten free options. Some people, it's easier to ask you to bring your own dish. There's just so many ways to cut it
Speaker 1: based on any given situation to have it. It worked for the most amount of people. I love refinement because it gives us a chance to then feel good in in our own right after we've made that decision for me, that refinement step is often about preventing something from happening in the future. Yeah, sometimes that's the core of the advice that we give and when we were thinking about what particular holiday scenario or situation to talk about today.
Speaker 1: I said, hold on, lizzie Post, I want to take a great big step back because it's been a while since we've talked explicitly and specifically about consideration, respect and honesty on their own and they are so important to everything that we do at Emily Post and here on this podcast.
Speaker 1: Little palliative
Speaker 1: modification or refinement that can come at the end is a really important part of feeling good about whatever has happened.
Speaker 1: Whatever choices you were able to make
Speaker 1: consideration,
Speaker 1: thinking about others, respect, recognizing their worth and value and honesty, both being true and trustworthy, but also being sincere and authentic, genuine.
Speaker 1: These core principles really are at the heart of everything that we do here and you almost couldn't say it enough. And it's been a little while since we've been really explicit and specific about talking about these things and what better time than the holidays to do that.
Speaker 1: There's a lot to think and talk about on the subject of manners and many good reasons to ask our manners
Speaker 2: important.
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. And today we hear from Danny in California, which dan, that was you at one point, but this is definitely not you writing in. No, I promised it was not me.
Speaker 1: This is a really sweet salute though.
Speaker 2: So my name is Danny and I'm from California and I wanted to give an advocate salute to the gentleman who works at the post office who just helped me out a ton.
Speaker 2: I ran in two minutes before they close, which is so not my style
Speaker 2: to pick up a priority box to ship something out to a good friend of mine and
Speaker 2: I grabbed the box and I said I'm describing this, I'm going to come back tomorrow and take care of it. Don't worry, I don't want to keep you. And he said, oh do you have the item with you? I don't mind.
Speaker 2: And we said over to my car. So I went out to my car, grab the item and he was so kind to help me ship it and even found a cheaper way for me to send it. Which saved me money which was great. So I just want to give an etiquette fruit to the shuttle minutes post office for helping make my day, it was so courteous and kind and
Speaker 2: I think you want to pay it forward you know,
Speaker 2: so thank you for the post office having a great day
Speaker 1: Danny, thank you so much for that salute. I can feel you paying it forward just through the tone and quality of your voice. That is such a nice story particularly at this time of year when so many of us are trying to get things in the mail and it could feel like such a task. It must have been so nice to get that one checked off the list and have it make you feel good in the process.
Speaker 1: Thank you for sharing
Speaker 1: and thank you to everyone for listening. Thank you to everyone who sent us something. Please connect with us and share the show with friends, family and co workers. You can send us your next question, comment or salute by email to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com
Speaker 1: by phone. You can leave us a message or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463 on twitter we are at Emily post hints on instagram, we are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook we are awesome etiquette and the Emily Post Institute.
Speaker 1: Please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more about this by visiting patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette or by visiting awesome etiquette on Emily Post dot com. You can subscribe to the ads version of our show on Itunes or any of your favorite podcast apps and please consider leaving us a review. It helps with our show ranking which helps other people find awesome etiquette. Our show is edited by Chris Albertine and assistant produced by Brigitte, doubt. Thanks Kris and Brigitte.
Speaker 1: Yeah.