Episode 329 - Looking Forward
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 we take your questions on family members who are always on you about your weight, whether or not to open presents in front of people at parties, responding to condolence cards long after they were sent, and wearing a wedding ring as a widower. For Awesome Etiquette sustaining members your question of the week is about gift exchanges when financial strain gets in the way. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and postscript where we discuss looking back and looking forward
Speaker 1: Maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy that's old fashioned.
Speaker 1: Watch how busy Post and Dan posts and act as host and hostess.
Speaker 1: They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person. Really Friendliness. Hello and welcome toe Awesome etiquette, where
Speaker 2: we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On
Speaker 1: today's show, we take your questions on family members who are always on you about your weight, whether or not to open presents in front of people at parties, responding to condolence cards long after they were sent, and
Speaker 2: wearing a
Speaker 1: wedding ring as a widower
Speaker 2: for awesome etiquette sustaining members. Our question of the week is about gift exchanges when financial strain gets in the way,
Speaker 1: plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript where we discuss looking back and looking forward, all that's coming up
Speaker 1: Awesome
Speaker 2: etiquette comes to you from the studios of our home offices in Vermont and is proud to be produced by the Emily Post Institute. I'm Lizzie Post,
Speaker 1: and I'm Dan Post sending
Speaker 2: Can you feel it? Because the holiday rush is like here. We're recording a question s I know, right? It's everywhere. It's been pulling me away from writing completely. I'm like I'm ready for work to be finished and for the festivities to begin. I
Speaker 1: answered the phone this morning, and Lizzie Post declared in a confessional tone, I've got Christmas brain on. And the thing is, I knew exactly what you were saying and described exactly the state of mind that I was in or the feeling that I was having. Yeah, there is so much to do. It is so much fun. And I'm trying to remind myself that everything I have to do is all in the pursuit of fun. So have fun doing it. And
Speaker 2: no good. Good reminder. Good reminder. It also
Speaker 1: doesn't mean that there's any less to do or the
Speaker 1: it is it such a delicious enticement. There's there's nothing
Speaker 2: quite like having things to do and feeling good about the things
Speaker 1: that you're doing it z deeply satisfying.
Speaker 2: It is really fun and I actually this year checked a lot of stuff off early, so I feel like everything's wrapped already. Everything's like, ready to go in that department. I still like have I have room to doom or like holiday treat making for more people in my life. So I was thinking about getting a couple extra batches of orange chocolate chip cookies in, but that's like it's kind of like that stuff, you know what I mean? Like, I've already gone and delivered my the candy and cookies toe all the friendly doorsteps that I wanted to leave them on and done the ones for, You know, all the different service people that come to the house and that sort of thing. And so it's It's like I've I've checked all those boxes and like the next one's for me, aside from the one that it takes to get there is like the best where everything's cleaned up and ready to go and you get to bask in the glow, some decorative lighting and, like, you know, have that mug of cocoa and for me, all my little fur balls or snuggled up around me, and it's like, you know, cold outside and it's cozy inside and it Z, that's like I'm excited for that. And then and then I'll lunch in tow. You know, family holiday, which will be not so in fun and chaotic and Christmas Pelusa which will be a blast But I don't love the cleaning That has to come before I get to the relaxing tonight But I I am I'm looking forward to kind of not feeling You know what I'm looking forward to because as you've let me ramble on for, like, a long time about this Now, um, I'm looking forward to not feeling like I have the pressure of work on top of getting to enjoy all that fun Christmassy stuff. You know? It's like I'm gonna feel so good when I don't have to wonder if maybe you're going to call and I'm going to be like, Oh, what have I been doing? E vacation. I'm looking forward to vacation guys Thio to
Speaker 1: boil it down. And I like the ramble because as I'm listening to you, I'm thinking they're such similar creatures. This could be my ramble. You know, I could jump in, we could swap it back and forth, and the end result would be very similar to I'm so there with you in that the early prep, I think, is sort of set up this really for me. Wonderful place where a lot of the work is done, but the anticipation has been building now for several weeks, and we're so close to the enjoyment part. And just like you, I have a few sort of boundary sort of threshold things that will allow me to settle in and be comfortable and enjoy that moment that you describe so well when
Speaker 1: everything feels dialed in the the colorful lights air coming off the tree and the fire is going and the food is just right on the counter for when you do want to get up and have a nibble and it's just ah, place of relaxation,
Speaker 2: y'all Dan is picturing a platter of pickles and charcuterie and mustards and things like that, and those benefit both our houses. But I could just see you right then, like, oh, in that little plate on that little counter right next to the living room. I could just pop up to that one. I want back down to the sheepskin rug. E
Speaker 1: sat down with pooch a couple of days ago and said, Okay, so these are the things on my checklist that are gonna allow me to feel just really comfortable in three days so that I can enjoy that feeling of and you sort of called a vacation, but of letting go of just indulging in the moment and being present with that space that you set up for yourself to enjoy.
Speaker 1: This is a lot of talk, obviously, about the holiday that many people are already gonna have celebrated or the holiday season that will be passing by the time the show lands. But it is so present on both of our minds right now, we have to indulge. We have to just a little bit
Speaker 2: Christmas Eve
Speaker 1: as I was reading the Grinch to initial last night for the first time, and she has been exposed to the Grinch via, you know, YouTube and Netflix. So she's seen multiple versions of the Grinch. But this was the first time we really sat down and read the story itself. The doctors whose book and it reminded me of Poppy reading that book to us as Children. I was resisting the urge to do a Grinch reading for this podcast. I've got a confess.
Speaker 2: It would it would be very post family style on. I still
Speaker 1: haven't given up on the idea of some sort of holiday tradition or reading. And maybe the night before Christmas would be just a little bit too cheesy, even for me. But maybe a reading of the Grinch would be in the post family tradition. Can we do something like that? Is that allowed
Speaker 2: we I think we can do that. That would be fun as a big like as a bigger family. If that became a new tradition, sure, why not?
Speaker 1: Perhaps for next season, when I'm a little better organized on this particular thought, We'll try
Speaker 2: something like that. But what got
Speaker 1: me really thinking about it is this feeling of anticipation and sort of Christmas evening ness of the moment that we happen to be recording and now. But I'm also thinking ahead to the eve of a new year, which is the other thought that's pretty present in, I think, both of our minds at the moment.
Speaker 2: Well, yeah, especially for one. This episode airs, but I think I think the idea of 2021 is almost like mythological does at this point. Like I think I think I think so. Many of us still feel like we're sitting back in March you know when When the pandemic first kind of became real to us here in America, and I feel like I can't believe 2021 is almost here. And yet I know it's not just gonna magically at midnight, uh, to solve the world's problems by being 2021 but it just it seems, to hold so much brightness and hope for people. Right now, it's, it feels like a really powerful year transition.
Speaker 1: There is a certain potential in the moment it feels ripe. And some of my other favorite podcast have been
Speaker 1: looking back at this year and reflecting on it. And I definitely wanna encourage people to stick around for the post script, where we're gonna talk a little bit more about that transition.
Speaker 2: Well, speaking of transition, shall we do a ham fisted one on over to answering some questions?
Speaker 1: Well, if we finished up our questions, we could probably go get into that Christmas brain a little
Speaker 2: more. Let's do it. Let's do it.
Speaker 1: Awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions. You can email them toe awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. You can also leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463 You can also reach us on social media on Twitter. We're at Emily Post Inst on instagram were at Emily Post Institute and on Facebook. We are awesome etiquette. Just remember, use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your posts so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Our
Speaker 2: first question is titled Winter Wait, Hello, Lizzie and Dan. Thank you for such a helpful and applicable podcast. I have a question and I would love your opinion. I'm 45 years old, accomplished in my career as a pediatric emergency medicine physician, married for 20 years, have two healthy, wonderful teenage sons and have active hobbies, including my church, a farm, international medical work, etcetera. But when I call my mom, she always wants to focus on my weight. I am within the healthy weight range in B m I, although at the very top end, my weight has been her favorite topic for most of my life, and she would often restrict my food growing up. Although I was never overweight,
Speaker 2: I was always a thin child and teenager and a high school swimmer. It is true that now I am middle aged and have had two Children, and my figure is not what it used to be, although my husband still likes it. That's got some smiley face emojis after it,
Speaker 2: But I try to eat healthy and I run a few miles each day to keep active. My mom constantly comments if I eat bread or anything with sugar and asks about my weight constantly and with every conversation. She was overweight as a child and does not have the best relationship with food or eating. So I know that much of this behavior is projecting her own worries. But how do I get her to stop focusing so much on my food and take and my weight signed? Anonymous
Speaker 2: Anonymous. Thanks for your question, Dan. What do you think?
Speaker 1: You know, I think it sounds like it's time for a conversation, and oftentimes we go with a tiered, a staged approach. You redirect it first, and maybe you make some little comments to me. This sounds like a situation that is filled out enough that we can be pretty confident that it warrants. Addressing and based on the way it was presented to us, I'm also going to assume that our anonymous question asked her is fully capable of expressing thes ideas in a thoughtful and
Speaker 1: again filled out way. In that conversation, I do think it's a good idea to review
Speaker 2: some of the basic
Speaker 1: points for having a potentially difficult or more personal conversation with someone because those could be so helpful, whatever the topic is. And even if you've got a really good idea of what it is that you want to say, I think having ah context on a framing for that conversation could be so helpful.
Speaker 2: Okay, Dan, So give us the list. What are the basics? Toe? Hopefully get this conversation off on the right foot because it's never easy to tell someone, especially when it's a really main focus in their life that you basically want them to not, you know, bring this up in your life anymore. What makes it tough
Speaker 1: is that you're asking someone else to change their behavior hard, hard thing. It's an ask, so approaching it just with the awareness that you're making an ask of someone else and you're going even deeper. This particular ask is something that might get into elements of a mother daughter relationship or even elements of someone's personality that are really deep, that are fundamental, and it can sound like a little asked. But having an awareness that it could connect to some of those bigger things is also part of approaching it with care. The big picture thoughts about ways to do that well are that you give someone the opportunity to prepare themselves and to participate in the conversation willingly. So the easiest tactic that I've suggested on this show before and they're probably longtime listeners that could do these bullets just ahead of us and could even try it for fun is to prime someone for the conversation by asking permission to have it. You know,
Speaker 2: there's something I've been
Speaker 1: wanting to talk to you about. Is now a good time, or could we jump on the phone later tonight when you're home and I've got a minute or whatever it is that So you set someone up both to give you permission to talk to them about something that's maybe not your everyday conversation, and also it mentally prepares them that they're about to engage in something that's a little bit different gives you ah, better likelihood of a good outcome
Speaker 1: in terms of approaching the conversation. Make your good intentions explicit. Don't assume that someone else understands that you're doing this because you value the relationship. Wanted to proceed in the best possible way that you care about them, that you understand that it might look or feel different from their perspective than it looks or feels to you. All of those things air really important. And they're probably based on the way this question was asked part of your thinking and your framework. So just remember to say them so the other person doesn't have to guess about where you're coming from.
Speaker 1: The other big tip for that conversation is toe. Make your ass clearly, uh, use when you I feel statements so that you don't become blaming or accusatory. You're not telling someone else what you do this thing and it's so bad. But you're saying when this happens, this is how it makes me feel, and that gives someone enough information to know how what they're doing is impacting you.
Speaker 1: If you're asking for a specific change, be ready to listen and negotiate. Be ready for them to maybe need a minute or some time to digest what you're saying and have a response that's
Speaker 1: thought out or digested emotionally
Speaker 1: and even having in your mind some ideas of some ground you might give. I was thinking about saying, You know, this is something I'd be willing to talk with you about maybe once a year or something like that, and you might let them know that there's some understanding on your side that there's some gray area and then you could work with them, but that you also have some boundaries. Lizzie Post. How does that sound? How are we doing?
Speaker 2: No, I think all of that sounds sounds really good. And for any difficult conversation, these are big ground rules. Right of, you know, try and get someone's by in state what you want. Clearly, I do think you can have some agency, though, to set boundaries about things you just aren't going to choose to talk about anymore. And I don't want to seem harsh, but I also think that I think it's okay sometimes for enough to be enough as as you mentioned, you're an adult. You know, your you and your mom have had a relationship for a long time. You can, uh, see a lot of things going on here with it, from your perspective, at least. But I think the thing that is clear and it's okay to be clear about is that you would like to be done with this conversation. And I think that asking your mom for that clearly might be the way to go. Like Dan said, you asked for buying Mom. There's something I've really been thinking a lot about lately, or it's been on my mind for a long time, and I was really hoping we could talk about it. Is now a good time or when's a good time and then stating clearly that you've noticed how how frequently your conversations with your mother focus on your weight and your eating habits, and that while you know and I don't know whether you would want to say this part or not. But while you know it's important to her, the conversation makes you uncomfortable or it feels like it's the only conversation you have with her and that you would really like to focus on other topics and that you're going to make an effort to do that in your conversations with her. It's hard when it's the thing, and and mom's e mean you're a mom. But moms talk about how you know they watch their Children grow, and sometimes it's hard to get out of that, um, that mom head that's always been observant of their child. But I think refocusing the conversation is what you need out of it. And so that's the part I would focus on and toe let her know you're going to start when the conversation comes up trying to move out of it, you know, or redirect it and just let her be prepared for that, because the only other way I can think to do it is t do that without having the open conversation and just, you know, and that I think leads to a lot of awkward moments, hoping that someone else is going to get the point. And I think instead actually addressing it and saying, You know, I've noticed this is really frequent. I would love for our relationship toe focus on other topics of conversation between us, and I'm gonna make an active effort to do that. I think that's that's that is far down the sample script page. I might be able to go on this one. Well, I have
Speaker 1: been going to ask you for a sample script. I think you actually delivered more than I had been hoping for, Which is good anonymous. We really hope that this answer helps you. Thank you for giving us a chance toe talk about difficult conversations. Hopefully, this makes this conversation a little bit less difficult. But most of all, Johnny has to make himself remember, so his friends won't have to remind him all the time. Then he'll start really being considerate of others. And if Johnny keeps trying hard, it won't be long before he'll be nice all the time.
Speaker 2: Our next question is titled Presents and Parties.
Speaker 1: Hi, Lizzie and Dan. I hope all is well in your worlds. Thank you so much for the incredible podcast. I've been listening for years and it brings me so much joy hearing your voices every week.
Speaker 1: There is something I've been meaning to write you about four years. I've never heard it asked in this way before, so I would love your advice.
Speaker 1: About six years ago, we went to the first birthday party of our good friends child. Everyone brought gifts, as they typically do for a birthday party, but not one gift was actually opened at the party. The mom told me in private that other kids tend to get jealous, and it's a lot of activity for a little kid toe open gifts, Which is why they didn't do that at the time. I thought it was kind of weird Fast forward toe last year, and we were at the first birthday party of another friend's child. Over an hour was spent watching the parents open gifts for their child. This included about 30 people, 25 of which were adults in a small living room. Watching this take place, let's just say it wasn't very fun for the partygoers. Need I say more now that I have a child of my own and we're starting to plan his first birthday party, I need help. Is it okay to not open gifts at a birthday party? Does it depend on how old the child is at age one? They aren't really aware of anything, but is it still important to go through the ritual and risk of over stimulating the child and boring the adults?
Speaker 1: What if the child is two or three? Is it okay? Toe Onley? Allow them to open a few gifts and not all of them. What are your thoughts? Sincerely, A mom who doesn't want to bore her party guests.
Speaker 2: Oh, a mom who doesn't want to bore her party. Guests. Many people are saluting and cheering you on right now. I think that a lot of people wish people thought about this. It's interesting there a couple of things that stick out to me, Dan first when I'm thinking about how to answer this. And the for first thing is that a couple of these birthday parties mentioned, including the one that our listener, um, is thinking about throwing all have to do with first birthday parties. So we're talking about a one year old. I thought it was interesting that the other mom said the kids tend to get jealous when we were talking about a one year old because I, the one year old birthday parties I've been to the one year old, does not do much other than play with the wrapping. And, you know, maybe if you try to hand them a toy they might take it. Might not depends on if they're interested. You know, I don't know. It was an issue where niches and arias, birthdays like that, You know, they heavily into their gifts. Looking
Speaker 1: through a parent's eyes. It's hard to tell they were totally engaged.
Speaker 2: They loved it. It was an incredible experience, S noted. Dan Dan says he can't He can't be a good judge through the fair and filter. Right now, I think that it's to me. It strikes me is less likely that the other party guests would be be jealous over the one year old birthday gifts. I know that parents worry about this as kids get older. But one of the things we've always advocated for through Emily Post etiquette and party etiquette, is that kids do open gifts in front of each other because it's the perfect opportunity toe work on good gift giving and gift receiving behavior, and and observing that and watching that tradition happen, we've all gotta learn sometime in the's parties where you know a kid with a decent little social circle, you know, ends up with 3456 parties. Probably plenty more, um, in a year to go to, and they can get used to that experience, and it can help combat that jealousy that might be coming up. There might be a stage that a kid is going through. So even even with the jealousy or the it can be hard for other kids. It's also a great lean into it moment, as opposed to lean away from it. I really like the fact, Dan, that this mom is thinking about the adults and how a party with 25 to 30 people, all the gifts being open and do not over is boring because it is. I'm just gonna say it. It's rare that that is exciting.
Speaker 2: It's why you often hear us give the advice. Thio have a smaller party. So maybe maybe do two parties of 15 or something like that. But it's a lot easier if you keep the guest list low. I think, especially for these birthdays, where it's less likely that the kids are actively, you know, ripping the presence and doing and eyeing themselves. You know, their
Speaker 1: pre speech
Speaker 1: absolutely there. Like you say, Lizzie, there's so many ways to come at this question. And one of the reasons that I love the way it was asked is that there's a lot of forethought here. There's that reflection on past experience, both from the perspective of the parent, the child and from the guest, which, when you're thinking about hosting, as you point out, is such an important part of the etiquette here. Um, and I love your basic solutions that if the question is managing all those gifts in the time that maybe a slightly smaller parties, the right kind of party, when there is going to be a gift exchange and just the practicality of that means it's gonna work better. I also love your whole framing of leaning in that there are so many opportunities. The
Speaker 1: experience of exchanging gifts
Speaker 1: is so important and relationships, and we talk about it all the time on this show, and how kids learn to do that is an important part of growing up and that inevitable tantrum. You talk about some of the difficulties around jealousy. There's also that moment that is often times a part of developing the skill of dealing with the disappointment of not getting what you want. There's that almost predictable tantrum that happens somewhere between the ages of two and four on. And someone is so disappointed that they reject the present that they've gotten from someone because it's not the thing that they want, and it can feel like that would be really difficult to do with another parent child with people that don't know as well. And yet that's something that most parents are gonna understand is part of the process. So I like your idea of leaning into it to that. It's a that there are some difficulties that might emerge, but the rewards that air there
Speaker 1: if you if you figure out a way to do it, are just so great.
Speaker 1: Another way to think about this. Another option that's certainly on the table is have that big party invite everyone from the classroom or the three classrooms or whatever it is, the ballet class and the
Speaker 2: danger in the booth. Yeah, and
Speaker 1: reduce the expectation on your guests that it's nice toe have birthday parties where gift exchange is part of it. But for a bigger party like that, no gifts, requests of guests or an option for cards on Lee or sort of very small kind of theme. You feel like it's difficult when you're directing people on what to get, but a cards only party or a no gifts, please. Birthday party
Speaker 1: is an option. I don't want toe say, do all your birthday parties that way because I do like that idea of leaning into the gift exchange and making it work if you can, but
Speaker 2: especially when they're older.
Speaker 1: But it is a possibility, and and there are good reasons for that option being one of the ones that any host disposal.
Speaker 2: I feel like there's a whole other conversation that I wanna have about that leaning in and leaning into developmental stages for your kids, despite the fact that they might be struggling through some of them. You know what I mean? Like, but it's a whole other postscript conversation tohave, Um, but I I think that, um it can be tempting to sometimes want to see the smooth, perfect behavior as the goal, and a lot of the times it's It's the journey through it that that is because that's what helps to make the memories helps to make it stick. And it's it's why we do like to lean in as our advice.
Speaker 2: Mom,
Speaker 1: who doesn't want to bore her party guests. We are sure that you are not gonna bore your party guests. And we thank you so much for your questions. Do you think you could be happy about rules now Way.
Speaker 2: Remember that rules to make things better for everybody?
Speaker 2: Our next question is titled Condolence Card Conundrum. Hi, Lizzie and Dan. So I've been doing a little holiday cleaning, what with having been snowed in on Friday, and I found some condolence cards that were received but not even open when my dad died
Speaker 2: in June
Speaker 1: of
Speaker 2: 2018. Just so you know, there were. There were a couple spaces in between that to show the long pause. Oops.
Speaker 2: Knowing that it wouldn't even happen until January of 2021. Is it not too late to send a reply? Do I need to explain the delay in replying a D H D. Emotional stress and piles of things air, not productive mixtures, or is a simple apologies for the delay and thank you for your kind thoughts. Enough a faithful listener. Chris. This is a great
Speaker 1: question, Chris, Thank you for the question and for the good humor about a situation that could feel really awkward. And I think oftentimes, humor is such a great tool for dealing with those slightly awkward moments in life, particularly when it equips you to have a thought like,
Speaker 2: What is the right
Speaker 1: way to deal with this? And, um, I would say, definitely send a reply. It is never too late, even years late. And as's faras the what you say in the reply, I think that your question of dosage in terms of how much to talk about the delay is a good one. I would probably myself tend to fall mawr in the direction of talking about it a little Mawr If I knew the person well, and I was inclined to be saying a little mawr in a note if I was treating it as an opportunity to reconnect over something that while maybe sad, was also significant for both of us.
Speaker 2: So, Dan, what would that sound like to me? It would sound a little
Speaker 1: bit mawr, and I'm going to take a crack here. A sample scripts, which aren't always my forte.
Speaker 1: It would sound like a little bit more than the apologies for the delay. I would say exactly what you said, but maybe without Quite is much humor. Found this while I was doing some spring cleaning or Snowden the other day, and I realized I had never sent a reply, had never even opened it. I so appreciated you're making the effort, and I didn't want you to think that it went unnoticed. That did it.
Speaker 2: So this is a great sample script. Keep going. You know, The thing is, as I
Speaker 1: started toe to toe on my way out of it, I was realizing that I
Speaker 2: wasn't getting into
Speaker 1: the reasons that I didn't reply to too much. But I would definitely give some context and I would make an effort. Toe sort of acknowledged the uniqueness of the situation and make that a point of connection, as opposed to something I needed to apologize for.
Speaker 2: And I think that for someone I probably wasn't as close to that. It would It would very much so be along the more simplistic. You know, I am so sorry for the delay. You know I just found this note and I'm still really grateful for your support and then say, you know, really wanted to make sure you got thanked for offering such kind thoughts and words to us. They mean so much even now and done, You know what I mean? But I like your idea of kind of You could tell more of the story to someone who knows you. Andi might even laugh along with you, you know, or even just sympathize with the It's a snowstorm and you're cleaning out, you know, dusty corners and this, you know, this was a treasure you've found in one. But I think for someone else you could keep it kind of a little bit cleaner, a little bit more formalized. I think
Speaker 1: that sort of what I'm hearing from you to is a note of sincerity. Also that a Zilong as you're connecting what you say to a genuine thought of appreciation. That's really the tone that is the appropriate tone for this kind of a note. And as long as you've struck that, you've done your primary
Speaker 2: job, our faithful listener Thank you so much for submitting a great question and we too, would like to offer our condolences.
Speaker 2: Our next
Speaker 1: question is titled Widowers and Wedding Rings. Hello, Lizzie and Dan. I am a self described etiquette and podcast geek who really enjoys your show. I'm 67 years old and have been listening to your podcast since its beginning. That's because your podcast provides a tremendous modern take on etiquette that expertly balances the practical advice my dearly departed mother gave me from an early age
Speaker 1: in late October, my wonderful wife peacefully died under home hospice care after a long battle with cancer. We had been married 43 fabulous years. Here's my question. Should a widow or wear his wedding ring after his spouse dies? The answer may be simple, but there is a slight complication. Eerily, the day before my sweetheart died, I slightly injured my hand, causing it to swell. I had to take off my wedding ring because it was pinching my ring finger and cutting off circulation.
Speaker 1: So now that my hand is healed, even though my heart is broken, should I begin wearing my wedding ring again?
Speaker 1: You should know that there is no way I am in the market for a new love right now. However, not long before she died, my wife told me that eventually she wanted me to find someone to share the rest of my life with. That is the kind of generous, loving person she waas. She will be in my heart forever. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you. And I wish you and your loved ones all the best for 2021. Mark
Speaker 2: o mark, we're so sorry to hear of your loss. And I have to tell you your letter is just totally brought me to tears. And I'm sure some other listeners are two e Think you should wear the ring until you feel comfortable taking it off until you're ready. Thio Thio. Sort of. I don't know that. It has to signify that you are on the market. You know what I mean? Lots of people who are married don't wear wedding rings. Um, I think it in your in. Anyone who's in your positions case, Um, it's it's really more about what it means to you and your grieving process in your remembrance of the person than I think it has to do with any A stage of being ready to possibly welcome a new romance into your life or any like etiquette. Sort of rule or tradition. Okay, Dan, that was my best with emotional answer. Sorry,
Speaker 1: Mark. The only thing that I can add is that what comes through so clearly to me in your question is the love that you have for your wife and whatever you choose to do with your rings in terms of how you wear them,
Speaker 1: she will always have that place in your heart. And I just want to thank you for sharing that love with us and with the awesome etiquette audience. And I know that we wanna wish you the best for 2021 as
Speaker 2: well. Mark, You've taken us both absolute puddles of tears, and we are wishing you a lot of love and comfort, especially this holiday season, and especially as we move into 2021.
Speaker 2: Thank
Speaker 1: you for your questions. Please send us updates or feedback on our answers. Toe awesome etiquette at Emily Post com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463 You can also reach us on social media. On Twitter, we're at Emily Post Inst on Instagram were at Emily Post Institute and on Facebook. We are awesome etiquette. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your post so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 2: If you love awesome etiquette or even if you just like awesome etiquette, please consider becoming a sustaining member by visiting us at patryan dot com slash awesome etiquette. You'll get in ads, free version of the show and access to bonus questions and content. Plus, we know you'll feel great knowing you help keep awesome etiquette on the air. And to those of you who are already sustaining members, thank you so much for your support. It's
Speaker 1: time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer and the topics we cover. And
Speaker 2: today we
Speaker 1: hear from Quincy on signing off on text messages.
Speaker 2: Hi, Lizzie and Dan. I hope you are well and warm today. Thanks for your etiquette guidance. Over the years, I have a bit of feedback about the text message. Sign off question from Episode 3 26. I'm an elder millennial and composed frequent text messages. I rarely use my name or initial as a sign off, because I assumed that the recipient knows who I am. That said, I do sign text messages on the rare occasion when I'm writing to someone with whom I have not communicated before or when. The recipient has not heard for me in a very long time and may have updated their contact lists in the meantime. So I suggest the practicality of keeping it simple with anyone familiar and offering a name if it might be helpful for the recipient as
Speaker 1: here, Quincy,
Speaker 2: West Virginia I totally agree, by the way, I
Speaker 1: agree. It's a great point that
Speaker 2: you just described everything I dio I was like Yes, yes, yes, it's
Speaker 1: provided me a great tip would be maybe after you've changed your contact information, making this a practice first touching with people. When you've got a new number, I like it
Speaker 1: always
Speaker 2: a good idea way.
Speaker 1: Also heard from JJ.
Speaker 2: I have a few
Speaker 1: other suggestions for the woman who is receiving
Speaker 2: too many
Speaker 1: sweets from a co worker, although they do require a few extra steps on her part. One maybe check with a local homeless shelter or food pantry. Normally, these places don't like to stock up on sugary sweets, but this year, who knows? My other suggestion would be to bring them to a hospital. The nurses and doctors are well, let's face it, totally overwhelmed. And they might enjoy a sweet break. Thanks. Happy holidays.
Speaker 2: Those are good places to bring sweets, too. I've also heard of people bringing extra suites, two flight attendants and the crews that do all the bags at airports. Uh huh. Just other other groups of people that I've heard, you know, kind of you get that big, big bowl of treats at the at the, you know, communal area
Speaker 1: or something like that. J. J. Thanks for the tip.
Speaker 2: And thank you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please keep them coming. You can send your feedback or update awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com or leave us a voice from their text. 802858 kind. That's 80285854633
Speaker 2: It's time for a postscript segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette, and today We're looking forward to the New Year, but also a little bit back. It's a wonderful reflection.
Speaker 1: Postscript.
Speaker 1: So I think before we dive into the meat of this post gripped the 2020 21 hinge moment postscript. I wanna offer a little hat tip to, ah, longtime listener of the show Gabriel Cortez, who also works as a reporter for CNBC, grow and reached out to us for an interview about the coming year and changes in etiquette and a little bit of holiday etiquette. But we ended up reflecting
Speaker 2: quite a
Speaker 1: bit on the year that has passed in the year that we're looking forward to. And the discussion really started off with a question about what had happened in this last year and and how it had gone. And I found myself saying to Gabriel that
Speaker 1: in many ways I saw it exactly the way Lizzie was talking about the year 2020 in our introduction that it was almost as if
Speaker 1: it just passed in a blink like we had started the year. And sometime around the end of February, I buy, attention drifted and all of a sudden it's 2021 right around the corner. And it's also true that if I think about it, it feels like so much has happened in that 10 month span that it's almost as if 10 years have passed over the course of those 10 months. So in some ways, it's like nothing has happened at all. And in some ways
Speaker 1: it's like we've experienced Mawr change than we can even process. Yeah,
Speaker 2: it's like it's like this. This was the I mean people. People literally say it there like you would first start out saying, Can you believe it? Can you believe it? You say Yes, I can. It's 2020 you know? It's almost like the year got blamed for all the stuff. Became a short, came out of it good and bad, You know what I mean? Yeah, but yeah, it was a year filled with things and yet very, very different, very different. And I guess
Speaker 1: the reason I tip my hat to Gabriel is that the question was in this particular context about etiquette and what had changed around etiquette in that year. And I found myself saying almost everything that there was almost no element or aspect or facet of our relationships with other people that hadn't been radically altered or shifted over the course of this year,
Speaker 2: even just the the I dia of a person's capacity to be polite. I mean, you heard people talk all the time this year about how they don't have enough bandwidth sometimes for that sort of standard civility that so many of us were used. Thio. I felt like it was a year where, even though there was a lot of adjustment for behavior and expectation that happened very well in some cases. It also was just like everyone would hit their limits in ways they weren't used. Thio And there was this big forgiveness of kind of how much people were doing that. I think publicly or even in difficult moments with people they really love. I don't want to say fascinating, but I keep wanting to say fascinating. What can I say to end this, Dan? No, you're
Speaker 1: right. There was a fundamental shift in the way the whole concept of etiquette function in people's minds. The idea of it being superficially important, I think, diminished in many people's minds, which is the way I think a lot of people think about etiquette, basically. But what I found encouraging at the same time is that you and I both know that for many people attic, it's about something much more fundamental. And if you're approaching it as the architectural er, the expectations that our relationships with each other are built on, I think that we've got a really different and perhaps increased awareness of how important people are in our lives and the relationships that we have with them and specifically the ways we get to interact. Those in person, empathetic
Speaker 1: interactions that sustain us and fulfill us and satisfies in so many ways and that were denied having, to a large extent right now at least the ways that were used. Thio. So Gabriel asked. If everything has changed, what can we anticipate about what's going to happen? What's coming? What is it about 2021 that gives you hope or lets you think that things might be any different and obviously the underlying conditions of a pandemic that we don't have ah unanswered for yet a vaccine answer for yet anyway, that we might over the course of 2021 changes things dramatically. But even as the social distancing protocols and restrictions that we've gotten used to start to abate or start to get pulled back. Hopefully, over the course of the year, that's going to be its own kind of change. It's gonna be another year in many ways that I think we can anticipate some of the changes that are gonna happen and not others. And this was where I thought etiquette started toe
Speaker 1: be a really useful tool. It provided some real insights into thinking about how to anticipate that change, what we think might be coming and the year ahead and how we might deal with
Speaker 2: that. You had talked to me by saying that, you know, the stuff that's been the same remains the same, and in a lot of ways, that's just so true. I mean, are you know, your your table manners, your handshakes, your wedding's, and not that these things all have super formality about them, but they will very quickly be things that you jump right back into the way that they always have been the way that they've been familiar. We may have a new sort of idea about what it looks like when our society has to social distance in certain ways, depending on what we're facing. But when we don't have Teoh, I think you know those hugs, those handshakes, those you know, backyard barbecues and curling up on the couch with friends and sleepovers and just all of that kind of stuff. Kids, birthday parties. It will all return, um, to it's wonderful glory. And I think we'll all be that much more appreciative of it. Don't you think?
Speaker 1: You and I think about this a lot. The material that looks very similar in that 22 edition of etiquette that you spend so much time with right now to the 20th edition that you're working on
Speaker 2: e have a pretty
Speaker 1: strong suspicion that not only will they snap back pretty quickly that those manners and expectations are gonna look very similar in the 21st edition in the 22nd edition, with all of the little shades. But
Speaker 2: as we go down the line, yeah, but that same history and I think the experiences that we've seen during this pandemic also tell a tale of of what is going to look different. And we know that the thing that changes the most or is sort of the most frequently changed is our communication and how we choose to communicate. And I remember you saying to me, You know that that you know of people who don't own cellphones but now have ways to video communicate in their homes that they're comfortable and adept at using?
Speaker 1: No, I think that our communication landscape has been challenged and pushed and responded. And it's where we saw the most change both at the onset of 2020 and then also over the course of 2020. This these were all places where the manners and expectations looked a little different in March than they did in
Speaker 1: September and October. And I think that we can expect the
Speaker 1: all the advantages and disruptions that that new communication environment has has put on our relationships toe probably continue
Speaker 2: and hopefully improve. You know what I mean? It's like the places where it's not working. I feel like I can get fine tuned because we see we see it as a necessity now for how hard we leaned on, you know, video conferencing. You know, any kind I think about how important are slack channel was tow us for building the website and just how brilliantly it functioned for us and how excited I was about that. You know what I mean?
Speaker 1: It's a great example,
Speaker 2: but I think that those things and we had also talked about the ways people are working from home. The structure of a work with you and I have been on completely different work week schedules for this almost entire year, which has been totally different for us and a ah thing to navigate. I think you're always really good about telling me what you appreciate about me respecting your schedule and and me going the same way. And it's vice versa, I should say. But it was the whole thing we had to navigate about our work. I mean, it's etiquette, you know what I mean?
Speaker 1: It is, and I think that one's here, too. And businesses they're starting to look for managers that know how to manage those relationships and can do it well and efficiently. And they're starting to think about from a business perspective, how you spread and teach corporate culture when people aren't physically together as much another work relationship that we've seen change and that I think has the the potential to be affected in a more long term way by the experiences of 2020 our delivery and service relationships in general, that there's been a broader trend in the economy of the United States and the etiquette that's impacted by it around the growth of the service sector and the service part of our economy. As more and more people availed themselves of the services, more and more people have professions and work involved in the service industry. It's a bigger and bigger question for more and more people. And this is certainly a year that has broadened some of our definitions about service work and has really illustrated for people the importance of the critical importance of that work. And I'm
Speaker 1: hopeful and also, I think, sort of reasonable in thinking that that's one of the things that I think will carry with us moving forward. E
Speaker 2: think so, too. And I think one of the final things that really stood out to me that I see kind of being permanently changed by this is the the importance of and focus on an awareness of mental health and taking care of one's mental health and how to do that and also respecting people when they aren't, you know, functioning at their best. Onda helping them through that as best you can. Being compassionate, I think you know, when we started, especially at the pandemic, I remember talking about that mentality of I can and I will and also talking about the idea of be compassionate. Right now. It's so easy to be defensive because we're all confused and frustrated and and finding that compassion. And if that wasn't such a huge theme of this year, I mean,
Speaker 1: Oh,
Speaker 2: I'm going to get teary saying it. But when you're on the belt live driving into Burlington someone had a really big chain link fence and they put up some kind of tarp white tarp against it, and they painted on it. Be brave, be kind. And I just love seeing those words because it was just such a year for those two phrases. Be brave and be kind. Um, I think people really embraced what it was toe to experience, sort of difficulties with their own mental health and their own strength of mind, and I think a lot of people built a lot of compassion around all kinds of aspects of that. And I just think that is going to be something that you see still a the forefront moving forward.
Speaker 1: Well, if I can and I will help get us through 2020 be brave and be kind can be a good start to 2021. I
Speaker 2: think so,
Speaker 1: too. And for now, we want to wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy 2021.
Speaker 2: 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 have a voicemail from Amanda.
Speaker 1: Hi, this is Amanda Acton. I just wanted to call with an etiquette salute. I was sitting in my living room and just heard the most dainty, cautious knock at the door. Come, went to open it and was greeted by are UPS driver who wanted to make sure that I was aware that we had a large, very much marked package being delivered with a bicycle inside. And she thought that it might be a Christmas present for one of my kids, and she wanted to make sure that if it waas, I had the opportunity to put it away before he would be able to see the box and know what was inside. And I'm sure she is in the middle of a whirlwind of deliveries and with everything going on right now, it was such a kindness and such just a welcome moment of joy and consideration for her to take the time to make sure that my kids Christmas remained as full of joy and surprises as possible to thanks so much for all that you do. And I hope everyone has a happy holiday season. Amanda, thank you so much for that salute. I am reminded about all of the delivery people that are making this holiday happen, particularly this year for so many people. This is such a timely and important salute.
Speaker 2: Well, and to be to be so busy and to take the extra time to say, Hey, I just noticed this might like to have that extra thought is just it is. It's a It's a really, really, really beautiful moment, toe witness and capture, and it's wonderful that it's out there happening Amanda, thank you so much for sharing it
Speaker 1: with us.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and thank you for listening.
Speaker 2: Thank you to everyone who sent us something. Especially in this year of 2020. And also thank you to everyone who supports us on Patryan.
Speaker 1: Please connect with us and share this show with friends, family and anyone who you think might enjoy awesome etiquette.
Speaker 2: You can send us your questions, feedback and salutes by email. Toe Awesome etiquette at Emily Post com by phone. You can leave us a message or a text at 802858 k i n d. That's 8028585463 on Twitter. We're at Emily Post inst on instagram were at Emily Post Institute and on Facebook were both awesome etiquette and the Emily Post
Speaker 1: Institute. Please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more about this by visiting us at patryan dot com slash awesome etiquette. You
Speaker 2: can also subscribe to the ads version of our show on Spotify or your favorite podcast app, and please consider leaving us a review. It does so help our show rankings, which allows more people to find awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: Our show is edited by Chris Albertine and a system produced by Brigitte Dowd. Thanks. Chris and Bridget.
Speaker 1: Yeah.