Episode 353 - Picnic Season
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 taking your baby to the wedding, responding to graduation announcements with gifts, inviting people from out of town to a party when you can’t offer a place to stay, and handling less than sanitary behavior by a guest at dinner. For Awesome Etiquette Sustaining members our question is about how long you should stay at a party before leaving for another obligation. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and postscript on taking off a mask.
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 taking your baby to the wedding, responding to graduation announcements with gifts,
Speaker 1: inviting people from out of town to a party when you can't offer a place to stay
Speaker 1: and handling less than sanitary behavior by a guest at a picnic for awesome etiquette sustaining members. Our question of the week is about how long you should stay at a party before leaving for another obligation plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript on masks. As the pandemic winds down
Speaker 1: all that's coming up,
Speaker 1: awesome 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 and I'm dan Post sending hey because how's it going? It's going, you know you and I have had quite the week back from the vineyard,
Speaker 1: I feel like we've like got in and just hit the ground running. Absolutely. What other option is there?
Speaker 1: It is a little daunting though when you get home from vacation and the Lawn hasn't been mowed for 12 days and the dishes that you did by hand because the dishwasher wouldn't run on their way out the door are sitting there reminding you that you've got a snake. The dishwasher.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Yeah there's a re entry. No question, no question, how's your reentry going? It's kind of awesome. Can I tell you what I've been doing? Yeah, yeah, I know what you've been doing. I want you to tell the audience, I tell everyone you've been so gleeful about this. That cracks me up every time you bring it up.
Speaker 1: It's not an etiquette topic.
Speaker 1: Uh huh.
Speaker 1: So I've been um washing the cedar siding on our house and garage and this is a project that is long delayed. It was due to be done when we got the house for five years ago now
Speaker 1: and I've gotten all the materials last summer and just looked at them and never did anything. And this year I was determined that the summer was not going to pass me by. I was going to get it done and I started it and
Speaker 1: it's like vacuuming. It's one of the most satisfying chores I've ever done. You all should just preface this conversation dan, loves vacuuming. It is like the chore he finds most satisfying. But you also you didn't say what type of watching your pressure washing, which is particularly satisfying
Speaker 1: I am and if you want to get into the
Speaker 1: details down in the weeds with me, technically I'm using a peroxide wash and then at a very low pressure I'm taking it off so I'm not even really pressure washing, it's more a peroxide wash followed by a rinse so that you don't damage the cedar.
Speaker 1: And my technique is getting better. I'm doing test panels up on the back of the garage but it's just looking so good.
Speaker 1: Uh huh.
Speaker 1: Anyway, so I I sit around and my free brain space goes to plotting out the time that I can put aside or if it takes me about an hour to mix up a batch and apply it and wash it. I could do this much with this amount of time on saturday morning, I can get that done
Speaker 1: anyway, that's where my brains at as I, this is done off duty guys, this is what he does to relax and you're right lizzie post that is my off duty life. Thank you for indulging me. I think that it is also worth mentioning some of our on duty work because we have been editing the book and
Speaker 1: it's also kind of awesome and satisfying. Oh satisfying.
Speaker 1: When we turned in the manuscript to Caitlin and the team at 10 speed, I felt that giving away my baby feeling where it's like I've done so much to make this so good and I'm not yet ready to go through the rounds of making it better and once you get yourself in the mental space for it,
Speaker 1: the rounds of editing, especially on a book like this, where you know, we are trying to hit, hit a really big mark, um really, really updating Emily post etiquette through and through from scratch. It's a big deal to us. And it feels so awesome to be in that space of
Speaker 1: looking really critically at what we've written,
Speaker 1: reading it out loud and not being attached to it because we've nursed it along over the three months this winter that we were writing. But instead, like you're looking at it with fresh eyes, you're reading it aloud to to see how it sounds. Are you comfortable dispelling advice? That sounds like this?
Speaker 1: It's been so rewarding to be making these edits. It just, it feels like
Speaker 1: like everything is just getting so fine tuned in the right ways and I'm so grateful that we have the chance to do that. Me too. And I think to sort of build on that thought, what's been really nice for me is
Speaker 1: looking at the text and knowing what we mean to say and asking ourselves, is that what this text is actually saying? And separating those two things is it requires a little distance from, from the writing process initially.
Speaker 1: And it's something that I'm more involved in now than I have been before. And definitely
Speaker 1: it's a task and it's a very satisfying task to try to bring those two things a little bit closer together and to watch it happen. Well, I've got to say it's been really fun doing this part with you because this is one of your skills,
Speaker 1: Not that I'm no slouch at it myself, but having a partner who you're working with on this, a co author that you're working with on this, who happens to be very skilled at that for me has been really, really fun because it's like, I know you know exactly what I mean when I put an edit in or a comment in that I know you're going to see later that says, I don't think we've really said what we're trying to say here or wait a minute,
Speaker 1: there's something missing, you know, and it's already been through two rounds of people who aren't us and aren't like Emily post institute people reading it. And I love when we're catching these places, like I love it when our other editors have caught these places. I love it when we catch them much like you and the pressure washer.
Speaker 1: I feel so satisfied when, when we hone it and get it to the right spot. And
Speaker 1: either sometimes it's hard you choose to ditch a point you were making or you pull out language that you're very used to saying in interviews and in speeches and and and and other stuff that we use and you're like, no, it really isn't here. We're going to make this point here instead. And then we can bring that up later or we don't need it because it's over there,
Speaker 1: whatever. But it is for me it's like that pressure washing I think about how, how and when and I get really excited about the times you and I are going to be on the phone together,
Speaker 1: like going over stuff I will say though, because it exhausts me. We did a long editing session yesterday together and like and really got through the theory work of the book and then I was out, I didn't do my evening walk. I like barely did a dinner like, you know what I mean? I was like, I'm I'm done.
Speaker 1: I like I'm step for the day. It's satisfying work. I kinda, I kinda like that it does kind of feel like the pressure washing of the book, it's the best kind of work that's hard and at the same time you see the results, so the satisfaction has layers to it. There's both the end product but also the knowing that you've invested to get there.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1: Uh You guys, we can't wait to share this book with you, it's going to be really, really exciting but in the meantime, do you think we should get to some questions? I think we should. Let's do it,
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions. You can email them to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. Leave a voicemail or text at 802858 kinds. That's 8028585463 Or you can reach out to us on social media, on twitter. We're at Emily post inst
Speaker 1: on instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute
Speaker 1: and on facebook were awesome etiquette. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media post so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Mm
Speaker 1: Our first question this week is about a baby and no bottle.
Speaker 1: Hello dan. And lizzie. I'm invited to a wedding of a very close family member later this summer. Our baby will be six months old at the time and does not take a bottle. I don't want to assume that he is invited and in fact, I'm pretty sure that he is not only my husband and I were listed on the invite.
Speaker 1: Unfortunately, given the distance and time to travel, I can't be away from the baby for that long. So not bringing him would mean that we wouldn't be able to attend.
Speaker 1: My question is this, do I just outright decline the invitation without any kind of explanation? Should I reach out first and or with the decline and explain why
Speaker 1: I don't want to seem like I'm fishing for another invite, which I'm not, but I also don't want to come across as cold and just not being interested. I wish I could be there.
Speaker 1: Thanks for any advice. Anonymous, anonymous. This is a great question. Such a great question. And I actually think there are a number of different things like different avenues open to you for this dan. What's the very first one? That kind of our our anonymous has already sort of suggested in the
Speaker 1: body of the question already?
Speaker 1: Well, the easiest piece of etiquette advice to give, to
Speaker 1: put a foundation under this question is that it's okay to decline
Speaker 1: and it's okay to decline for any reason and it's okay to not explain your reasons for declining. In the same way,
Speaker 1: it's up to a potential wedding guests to understand if they're not invited and to assume that there's something going on that affected that decision. That explains it
Speaker 1: in the same way if someone isn't able to attend a wedding, it's up to the person who invited not to be upset about that if there isn't an explanation forthcoming. So don't feel any pressure to provide that.
Speaker 1: Having said that, I'm reading in this question that you're not feeling pressure about declining, but that you would really like to explain. And that's where this question to me gets really interesting.
Speaker 1: And the reason, I think it's interesting is that there's a fine line to walk that. I think that it would be
Speaker 1: nice. Good generally to offer the explanation and to offer it along with the sentiment that
Speaker 1: you would really love to be there, and that you appreciate the invitation
Speaker 1: delivering that in a way that someone doesn't feel pressured to then make accommodations that they weren't planning on making or really can't make
Speaker 1: is the trick. That's where the art of good etiquette comes into play.
Speaker 1: And I think the way that you do that is by really checking in with yourself about your intentions when you have that conversation and about the specific language that you use when you have that conversation.
Speaker 1: And if your tone is good, and the way that you're talking about it is genuine. Then if the person who's hosting the wedding, the person you're talking to, feels inspired to try to work it out with you, that's up to them. But you haven't put that pressure on them if you haven't actually done that.
Speaker 1: So to do that, I'm imagining a phone call. I think it's always easier to communicate the subtleties over the phone where they can hear the tone of your voice. And
Speaker 1: I would remind myself that the purpose of that phone call is to decline. That that's the thing. You want to be clear about that because of the situation that you're not able to attend and then you shift to the and I really appreciate the invite. Thank you so much for thinking of me.
Speaker 1: So those are my thoughts about the nature of the discussion lizzie post. Do you want to
Speaker 1: try a more specific samples? I could give it a world. I think you're right. You you want to make the decline clear and then you want to express that. You do really wish you could be there. And these are the reasons why you're seeing that. You can't. And I think that that would probably sound something like
Speaker 1: hi kate. I was so excited about your wedding. I hope it's, you know, I hope all the plans are going so wonderfully. I'm calling because I wanted to decline in person unfortunate or you know, decline more personally. Unfortunately
Speaker 1: with the baby being six months old, I'm really worried that not bringing the baby to the wedding or being away from him for that long is just not the right thing for me at this time. But I've just got to tell you, I so wish
Speaker 1: that I could be there. And this I think lets the letting someone know that you really do wish and having that sound genuine. I probably actually didn't sound that genuine when I just gave the script because I was searching for the words, but having that be really genuine so that they hear it's a true desire and not just a
Speaker 1: oh, I wish I could be there, but really it's gonna be so much easier for me to stay home or
Speaker 1: the baby really isn't ready. If you put the emphasis on those things, the person on the other end is going to really hear that if you and I don't want you to have you like ham fisted with the I really wish I could come or you know what you really don't say is I really wish you had invited the baby, definitely not words to use,
Speaker 1: but when you do have that genuine tone of, of desire to be there and the slight sadness of feeling like you're going to miss it.
Speaker 1: I think the other person then can open up if they want to and say, you know what? There are definitely ways we could make this work. Didn't mean to not invade the baby or you know, didn't mean to give you the impression the baby wasn't invited or they can lean in and say,
Speaker 1: oh I completely understand and I'm so it makes me feel so you know, warm and supported to know you really would like to be there.
Speaker 1: We certainly wish you could be too, you know, I feel like if you're prepared for either answer or maybe an answer of help, hey would it help if we recommended a babysitter in the area? That was one of the other tax I was gonna bring up later on dan was curious here. Yeah, if that covers our sample language for the most part,
Speaker 1: um one of the other attacks that you can go to is to say to yourself, okay my baby's not invited. But that doesn't mean I can't still go to this wedding by bringing a babysitter with me on the trip, if that's something that you're able to do. And I think that that's that's one way to handle that. So that, you know, if you might be able to make it to like, depending on naps and feeding times and all of that, but you know, babies are sometimes, you know, by the clock and sometimes very not.
Speaker 1: Um
Speaker 1: but it might give you the chance to have the baby, you know, closer by so that if a feeding time came up or something or you know, crying really couldn't stop the sitter could call you and you could believe the ceremony and the reception to be able to go tend to your baby. But I think that that could be another way to look at it
Speaker 1: dan. I'm going to venture one other suggestion just based on the way that this particular question was worded. The second sentence says, our baby will be six months old at the time and does not take a bottle. And I wondered if
Speaker 1: maybe there was concern that breastfeeding at events like this isn't appropriate. And we just wanted to clarify from our standpoint, breastfeeding is perfectly appropriate whenever it needs to be done,
Speaker 1: it might be that your child needs a quiet place in a reception, maybe you can't accommodate that. But if that was any kind of a concern, we would love to alleviate it, at least from our perspective, that you should feel confident being able to breastfeed if you want to in those types of events or at those types of events.
Speaker 1: It's a good thing to remember. And lizzie post, even though you're searching for the words, it's really helpful for me to hear those sample scripts. It clarified for me that a big part of communicating that you are declining is that you accept the boundaries that the host is set up. That you don't question those boundaries, that
Speaker 1: your acceptance of them makes it much easier for a host to say, oh, I can move these boundaries around a little bit if they can,
Speaker 1: and it's really helpful. I appreciate hearing those samples trips anonymous. We certainly hope this gives you a couple different avenues to explore, and our hope is that you're able to find a way to attend the wedding or that the host encourages you to be able to come in ways that are really supportive and wonderful because it sounds like you'd be a great wedding for you to be at.
Speaker 1: How do you go about being thoughtful? What are you doing? Every time I try, I only make things worse. Is there some particular method of being thoughtful that works every time?
Speaker 1: Our next question is about a graduation gift.
Speaker 1: Hello, lizzie and dan. I always enjoy listening to your show and now have a question for you. I received a graduation announcement for the son of a childhood friend.
Speaker 1: I have never met the graduate and I have not seen my childhood friend in over a decade.
Speaker 1: I am trying to figure out what the proper etiquette is surrounding a graduation gift. Does an announcement require that you send a gift? A note of congratulations. What would be best in the situation? Thanks so much Leslie Leslie, thank you for the question.
Speaker 1: I like this question because it's very etiquette. E and has a very etiquette answer.
Speaker 1: We'll start by saying that the advice around graduation announcements is that they carry no obligation, not even the obligation of a reply, so send them far and wide you to announce a graduation, a graduate and to celebrate that moment in someone's life. It's a really big deal coming of age ceremonies.
Speaker 1: The transition from
Speaker 1: young adult or adolescent to adulthood is an important moment in someone's life. So celebrating it is important
Speaker 1: as far as the reply. I think that often times people send a card. I think it's a really nice way to reply to a graduation announcement. It tells someone that it's been received had an impact. It's an opportunity maybe to touch base with an old friend you haven't talked to or maybe even thought of in a while
Speaker 1: as far as the gift, I think that's really much more of a personal choice. The reply with a card is a personal choice, but the added expense of purchasing a gift, thinking about someone, the effort of thinking about them sending, it
Speaker 1: starts to take it to another level. And if you feel inspired to do that, it's a really nice thing to do. But I absolutely wouldn't feel any obligation to do that, particularly with someone that you don't know particularly well dan I have that's like an A plus answer. I've got nothing to add to that. Nothing. Yeah, no, really like like nothing.
Speaker 1: You got it all in. I could recap it, but I don't even think dreaming to do that
Speaker 1: stumped the panel a version of stumping the panel. Leslie, thank you so much for this traditional etiquette question.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about out of town invites dear lizzie and dan. We appreciate your podcast and the encouragement to handle situations with consideration, respect and honesty.
Speaker 1: My husband and I have a sensitive situation and would appreciate your guidance. My husband has a big birthday coming up and our plan was to host a party at our home for local friends, work, colleagues, and neighbors. Knowing that this will be a large endeavor requiring lots of energy. The only out of town guests, we are inviting our, our kids and closest friends
Speaker 1: who will stay with us and assist with party preparations.
Speaker 1: My husband's many siblings all live out of town though. We recently gathered
Speaker 1: at that gathering. My husband was asked about his plans for his celebration this year and he acknowledged we were planning a party. He did not share that they were not on the guest list. However, our reason for not inviting out of towners is that we don't have the ability to host for overnights or at other points during this birthday weekend.
Speaker 1: Is it rude to not invite his large group of out of town family? Or do we offer the invitation with the disclaimer that we will be likely unable to see them at other points during the weekend?
Speaker 1: We value any thoughts you have sincerely party planners?
Speaker 1: Party planners. It's so fun planning a big birthday party. These are the best kind of problems. They, you know, they really are. They really, really are
Speaker 1: dan correct. Move them wrong here. But I think that it is perfectly fine for you to throw this party with just the local guests and and the friend that you just the friends that you described.
Speaker 1: I think that having talked about the party at another family gathering with your relatives who asked you not, you just like say telling people about the party, I think doesn't mean you automatically have to invite these folks or the ones that you spoke with these siblings. I do think that you
Speaker 1: we'll have to decide whether or not you want to do that invitation where you, you let the out of towners know that you really won't be able to to have them stay with you or to do much throughout the rest of the weekend because the planning for me, I would go a different route.
Speaker 1: I would do the party for the local folks and then I would just run in with the fact that everybody is used to zoom. Now I would offer a zoom invitation to the out of town siblings and
Speaker 1: it's funny the zoom invites. I feel like sometimes come with this kind of disclaimer that you're talking about almost like we really wish we could have invited everybody, but you know this, this wasn't the time to do it. However, we did really think that a zoom call, if anyone wanted to join in and sing, happy birthday with us all would be lovely if you want to join. We wanted to make that available to folks.
Speaker 1: There's part of me that really likes the idea of doing that and thinks it solves a lot of problems. Um, and the other part of me is also like, I wonder if eventually we're going to start getting sick of the idea of like
Speaker 1: I couldn't totally invite everybody. So here's the zoom link. You know like, I don't know dan do you think we're like, like we're starting to tire like it's okay. Just only invite the people you need slash wants slash can invite, you know what I mean? Like we'll get used to not being invited to every party again. Maybe.
Speaker 1: No, I think you're spot on. I think I know I gave a lot and I'm sorry. I kind of like went and then asked you to judge like five different things. No, but I think the basics are there that it's okay to have the party the way that you are planning to have the party or would like to have the party. And
Speaker 1: just the fact that you've acknowledged the party is happening doesn't mean that you have to invite other people. It is I think wise to keep in mind how you talk about a party that other people aren't invited to. There might be scenarios where you feel like you pushed that a little far and maybe oh someone and invite.
Speaker 1: I don't necessarily that's what's going on here. But
Speaker 1: it can be one of those things that factors into your thinking about something like this.
Speaker 1: I also think that the question of a zoom invite falls into that category as well. If it's an idea that appeals to you, if you think
Speaker 1: that the other people would appreciate it,
Speaker 1: then it might be a really nice thing to do if those thoughts aren't coming immediately to your mind. I agree, lizzie. I think some people are starting to experience zoom fatigue
Speaker 1: and they'd rather not be included in that way or
Speaker 1: um invited in that way or they just or they just aren't worried about missing out to begin with. It's a possibility. It's an option. And I think depending on how the host is feeling if you wanted to go even further, I was thinking about the nature of that conditional invite,
Speaker 1: the invite that says we'd love it if you came,
Speaker 1: but don't expect is all we can do for you. Yeah, it really depends on the nature of your relationship with those people how much you think they would really want to be there? How offended you think they would be that you weren't playing the usual role of hosts that you play. And those are really personal decisions where
Speaker 1: I don't think there's a firm etiquette rule that says you should do it this way or that way,
Speaker 1: but I think etiquette does say very clearly that is the host. You get to define the party, you're the ones throwing it and you know what's really possible. So you get to make those choices.
Speaker 1: Absolutely. So I'm curious because what would you do if this was your setup, if this was you asking the question, I would think about how many people fall into the category of I really think they would appreciate the conditional invite and I would do some sort of personal call where I would check in with them. Oh, we usually do this and I know it's the kind of thing you might like to do
Speaker 1: because of the way it's happening. We aren't able to do our usual hosting, but I wanted to be sure you knew you were invited if you wanted to come and
Speaker 1: make it really easy for them to say no, if they don't want to, if that doesn't sound like an appealing invitation to them, let them know that you understand that it's not the usual
Speaker 1: and then it's up to them to decide whether they want to participate in that way. And it doesn't add any extra burden to you. But it gives them the choice if there aren't people that clearly fall into that category,
Speaker 1: I'm going to proceed
Speaker 1: as you suggested with the best possible party I can for the people that are going to be there for me. If and again, it would depend on knowing my family, but if it if it were my siblings I know or close cousins, I know they're not,
Speaker 1: they're not hugely expecting invitations to these types of parties. So for me, I do the invite the locals, but then I'd have in my back pocket
Speaker 1: a really good and, and this is kind of something that you have in your back pocket for any party that you throw where someone maybe chooses
Speaker 1: to breach that etiquette line and pipe up and say they were really disappointed or they had thought they were invited maybe based on conversations, I think. Yeah, and that's where I, I hear my mother's voice coming out with sample scripts saying something like, oh, I know, I wish we could have, but we just didn't have the space to accommodate out of town guests. So we kept it local
Speaker 1: and just having in your back pocket that easy, but explanatory line that can let someone know this, this wasn't personal and we did consider it, but here's where we landed. You know, I feel like it's okay for hosts to have that line ready to go if they need to pull it out.
Speaker 1: But I also like you because depending on the folks, depending on the ease, depending on how well I know whether they like
Speaker 1: zoom stuff or whether it really means something for them to be at parties like this, you know, it might play it differently, but I like having that that one liner in the back pocket just in case you need to pull it out. For someone who does talk about being disappointed or something,
Speaker 1: it's a good reminder.
Speaker 1: I know we've covered a lot of different options in this answer and I hope that our party planners find it useful
Speaker 1: and happy birthday, Happy birthday
Speaker 1: as you think of Betty and bob and their problems compare your own manners. Don't forget that it is by their manners that polite people the world around and show their consideration for one another.
Speaker 1: A dinner party is just one way of enjoying company of your friends.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about a problem at the picnic.
Speaker 1: Hello, lizzie and dan. I absolutely love your podcast. Never imagined I'd be writing in, but here I am.
Speaker 1: I'd really appreciate your advice. I've been friends with Sarah, a neighbor in my apartment complex for about three years. Our partners know each other as neighbors, but we've never socialized as a group. We would all probably be labeled educated professionals
Speaker 1: during the pandemic. Sarah mentioned that she and her partner josh ordered takeout from various restaurants in the neighborhood and I had recently asked her for her favorite place, josh was kind enough to create a list not only of the restaurants but also some of their favorite menu choices for her to give me.
Speaker 1: I let them know. This was much appreciated.
Speaker 1: Last night I decided to order from our chinese place on the list and invited them to meet me and my partner for an outdoor dinner in our courtyard where there are picnic tables.
Speaker 1: We brought wine glasses and cloth napkins and they brought plates and flatware. The food delivery went smoothly and the various dishes were spread out in front of us with serving spoons that Sarah had brought.
Speaker 1: We enjoyed being outdoors and socializing after being cooped up for so long and as a foursome it was going well
Speaker 1: as dinner was winding down, I noticed josh begin to use his own fork to grab food from a serving dish and put it straight into his mouth. He did it three or four times from the various serving dishes.
Speaker 1: I was really shocked but didn't say anything
Speaker 1: to make it all worse. He later used his my cloth napkin to wipe the sweat from his face and blow his nose.
Speaker 1: I'm seriously thinking he was busy talking and forgot he wasn't alone with Sarid in covid hibernation where maybe some of these behaviors might be more acceptable
Speaker 1: and forgot I would be collecting those cloth napkins.
Speaker 1: They are nice people. What if we were to get together and this happens again? Is there anything one can say or do in this situation? Thank you anonymous.
Speaker 1: Oh, anonymous people again. Right dan. It's like people interacting with people again. Oh man. There are so many things that can go wrong or that we can forget.
Speaker 1: This is a tough one because there isn't a whole lot you can do other than some slight redirection. I'm thinking that like and and the redirection can be done better if you're the host in this particular situation, it seems like each party was bringing something to the table here, you know,
Speaker 1: and so it's a little bit different,
Speaker 1: but dan, I'm picturing that when josh starts going with his own fork, whether because he doesn't realize that that's probably not a good idea or whether he's just forgotten that this is kind of more a manner when dining with people who you don't, you know live with
Speaker 1: that. He's forgotten that you don't typically use your own utensil to pick out of the main serving dish.
Speaker 1: I could easily see something where you kind of either offer to make a small scoop because and I say small scoop because often when people do that last pickets, let me get just like one more bite from these things. It's not like they're looking for seconds, which I feel like sometimes if you offer someone, oh would you like seconds of that? The answer is oh no, no, no, no thanks. But then they still want to pick out of it. So I think offer a small, like it might even be something you do without really saying much, but you might like just scoop one or two of those little pieces of chicken or something like that up
Speaker 1: and, and pop offer to pop them onto the person's plate. Or you might hold out the and this one might be a little bit more like brushing up the edge of actually saying something. You might offer the serving utensil instead
Speaker 1: if it wasn't easily accessible to the person. Like if it's it's handle was resting facing the other direction or something or would have created a reach lizzie post. You are so clever and so brave. Can't how many ways you thought of to actually address the situation as it's happening
Speaker 1: mind. Someone is anxious, someone's table manners. Well that's the thing is, is you would have to do this very graciously and delicately for it to not come across as rude and that's going to be in each individual. Whether or not that's something they feel confident in doing or not. You know,
Speaker 1: like with a smile on your face but not a saccharine sweet, patronizing smile but a genuine, can I hand you a serving spoon smile? Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1: I watched my mother when she throws dinner parties like especially ones where we, we often at my mom's house do buffet and so you would have to get up to go get something. But when there are times where the food is actually out on the table that, that like turning of a serving spoon and lifting a dish towards someone a little bit. Like I've seen other guests do that for each other. Like, like someone's done it for me where they're like, hey, do you want any a little extra that like even after kind of people have really slowed down and finished eating, I feel like it's something you can pull off doing for each other and you know, I don't know. But it's got to be gentle. It's got to be helpful and gracious as opposed to instructional or
Speaker 1: um covering up your, you know own own hang ups on seeing these mistakes done dan. Can you go over with us a little bit what like napkin etiquette is and isn't because like there was part of me
Speaker 1: that like totally understands wanting to use a napkin for, you know mopping a brow or if you
Speaker 1: don't have any Kleenex running inside means like two doors with like codes on them and four flights of stairs. Like what you know, what do you think about the napkins situation here?
Speaker 1: Cloth napkins. Let's remember these are like decently nice cloth napkins.
Speaker 1: So I've got two thoughts that are running counter about the napkin and one is that the napkin is there
Speaker 1: for you precisely to help you if you need to clean up or avoid a mess or you've made a mess and you need to clean it up quickly totally. So in some ways I want a guest to feel free to use a napkin. And there's
Speaker 1: an old entertaining concept that says don't put out anything that you would
Speaker 1: um not be willing to have a guest break or if you're talking about women's use or stain. Um So I'm I'm I'm not hypercritical in my mind about that, about someone using a napkin
Speaker 1: at the same time. There's another piece of etiquette advice that says you don't do a lot of grooming at the table, You don't do a lot of personal hygiene. So there's definitely a line that gets crossed at some point where
Speaker 1: it goes from, oh, I'm just trying to prevent myself from sneezing over every all over everybody and maybe I grab a napkin instead of into my elbow the way we're being taught now. But when it gets to the point of, okay, now I'm sort of washing up after dinner.
Speaker 1: Yes. The expectation is you would excuse yourself from the table and use a sink and a
Speaker 1: a towel there too,
Speaker 1: wash up afterwards.
Speaker 1: So, you know, maybe keeping sweat that's appearing on your face from dripping into your food is sort of a quick recovery. Yes. Making a production out of cleaning up with a napkin at the end of the meal. No. Yeah,
Speaker 1: like the dabs to make sure there's nothing on your chin. I like your idea of like the dab to make sure you're not sweating into your food but
Speaker 1: your your upper lip starts to perspire. Yeah. Yeah. But if you're sort of like post meal, not not eating anymore, although we've got josh picking at the different dishes. Um But but post meal I would definitely if if that's when the sneeze and the blotting was happening, I would suggest that's the time to definitely excuse yourself
Speaker 1: and go take care of that.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So that's the comment on the behavior. But how you deal with it. My advice is all really practical. I'm thinking things like um thinking about the next time and steps that you could take because I don't want to cut off everybody was bad table manners. I don't want to just not going to eat with that person anymore.
Speaker 1: Um I like the latitude, the thinking that maybe this is a pandemic reentry, I think that's really generous thought and I would run with that kind of generous thinking. Thinking about next time. I'm thinking about paper napkins, so there's plenty, there's a nice little extra stack of them. I'm thinking about offering to serve people's plates so that maybe you create more of that buffet where the shared dishes aren't on the table where people can grab you, set them up as a little station and
Speaker 1: um like you say start to build a little production around getting food onto your plate so that that's a thing you go do.
Speaker 1: So all of my solutions where those kinds of setup things. I like both of those things. I especially like the idea of moving your buffet from being at the table family style to like a buffet. Even if you chose not to like serve like plated meals just because usually someone's going to get up, go to that buffet and use the serving utensils, not their own fork, it's having them at the table. That makes that fork
Speaker 1: and easy. Oh I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna touch anyone else's food. I can grab that little little nugget of beef right there, you know what I mean? Or whatever it is. And and it won't, my fork isn't touching anybody else like I could, I'm good, I'm good, we're all friends here. Yeah, right. But I also were vaccinated now. Um it's like those aren't the only germs that get shared.
Speaker 1: Um But I do think that it's good tactics to be thinking about how you can prepare for the next time. And even if you did either paper or cloth napkins, I could also see you
Speaker 1: remembering things like if we're gonna do a picnic, bring maybe tissues down with you or like bring something to help with the idea that you aren't conveniently right next to a restroom for someone to excuse themselves to. So maybe it's moist towelettes. Maybe it's tissues along with whatever your napkin situation is going to be for the evening.
Speaker 1: But those were some of the things I was thinking. I was also thinking of
Speaker 1: any time you do see someone sneeze into or on something that you then are going to have to pick up and touch that you can, you know, I would often, especially as a as a bus boy or bus girl or bus whatever I am, I would use my own rag or my own napkin to pick up other people's stuff. So I'm not directly touching
Speaker 1: whatever was on that. And that's not a bad suggestion anyway, when it comes to clearing napkins because people are using them to clean up their mouths during the meal. So
Speaker 1: even if you weren't sweating on it or sneezing on it, it's probably still good to consider it something that's a touching item.
Speaker 1: My language is just leaving me as we get further down this podcast today, anonymous. It sounds like a really nice picnic and I'm sorry that you encountered an etiquette snap gross. Yeah. We hope that our advice helps avoid similar situations in the future and that the picnics are able to continue.
Speaker 1: A communicable disease is one which can be caught from someone else. This means
Speaker 1: that the germs have to leave the body of a sick person and enter the body of one who is well.
Speaker 1: The usual gateway by which they enter is through the mouth or nose.
Speaker 1: Thank you for your questions. Please send us updates or feedback on our answers to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot 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 are at Emily Post inst on instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook we are awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your post so that we know you want your question on the show.
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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 have a voice mail from rick about buttering corn on the cob in texas.
Speaker 1: Hello, lucy and dan. My name is rick from west Virginia.
Speaker 1: I'm calling to leave feedback about how you butter your corn. I grew up
Speaker 1: in still to this day,
Speaker 1: used a piece of buttered bread
Speaker 1: to butter my corn. I put the better on the corn and just throw it and easily
Speaker 1: better the corn without contaminating
Speaker 1: or defacing our stick of butter on the table. Thanks.
Speaker 1: I love hearing new ideas. I feel like I've actually heard this, but I I like this description of it and that it's like that. It's a thing like that. This is something that we really do. It would help you to not have everyone rolling in the same corn, although you don't actually touch
Speaker 1: like you don't reroll your corn in the butter after you've nibbled it off the cop. I will say that.
Speaker 1: I'm not sure if we covered that in last week's postscript. Put me on board with any plan that involves getting more butter on anything rick. Thank you so much for sharing your feedback
Speaker 1: and thank you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please do keep them coming. You can send your next feedback or update to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. Or leave us a voicemail or text at 80285 A kind That's 8028585463
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're talking about mask mandates lifting because we were like finally talking about this. It's really happening.
Speaker 1: It certainly is. And it's not just like, oh that's coming. We're in the middle of a very different environment than we were a month or two ago.
Speaker 1: We are and even our state, which has been pretty conservative on the range of how long to be wearing masks for and such. We've really kept our mandates in place for quite a while. Things are even starting to change and lift. Both of us within the past two weeks have had experiences
Speaker 1: That we're simply different from the past 15, 16 months
Speaker 1: of life and it's it's been refreshing and interesting but not without a little bit of etiquette. Do you want to share your cab experience that you had? And then I'll talk about the grocery store. Sure. And the cab experience that lizzie is talking about was the cabinet came to pick up B and Peugeot and the girls from the house in Martha's vineyard. And
Speaker 1: when I came outside to meet the cab I had to load car seats and stuff before the family came out. And the first thing that happened was a little interaction where I sort of held up my mask and said oh are we doing mass in the cab? I've got to set up these car seats and she says oh I think I even acknowledged I was vaccinated and she said oh don't worry about it, go for it.
Speaker 1: I'll probably be wearing mine when the ride starts because that's what we do
Speaker 1: then, I replied, well, I really appreciate that. My girls are vaccine aren't vaccinated yet. You'll probably see me and my wife wearing mask just because we do when we're around them. So there was this whole exchange that was the part of our introduction to each other and the time that we would spend together where we have to work it out. And I think that was the
Speaker 1: what I noticed the most. No matter where I was, there was oftentimes first check in that was
Speaker 1: usually done with sort of a pretty good open spirit. Um, is this a store where we do masks? Are you vaccinated and my vaccinated? But just like a really quick check in
Speaker 1: where you're checking and assessing each other's comfort levels and expectations. It makes total sense to me, especially as things are sort of varied in this unmasking or the mask mandates, you know, it makes a lot of sense to be using a lot of communication right now. I was so impressed with my local Hannaford grocery store for the signage that they created when we needed to start wearing masks.
Speaker 1: It was really clear they would do very clear like, you know, entrance exit walk this way down this aisle, like they did a good job putting out a lot of signage to help us social distance properly within that store.
Speaker 1: And I walked into the grocery store yesterday because, and the first person coming out was unmasked and I was like, that was the first time I'd really seen that, and I was like, wait what? And I was like, well he was right near the restrooms, maybe, he was just like sneaking in to use the restroom and running right out. And then as I rounded the produce section,
Speaker 1: I came across a senior woman who
Speaker 1: didn't have a mask on and I was a little surprised. And then I saw a third and but when I was looking around
Speaker 1: there were more people wearing masks than not wearing masks. I was like going, what is going on here? Did they?
Speaker 1: Did I miss a man? Like did I miss the lifting of a mandate in today's like news announcement or something like that?
Speaker 1: And when I saw my fifth person and not not all seniors without a mask on, that was when I felt confident kind of like leaning in and saying to, to someone who had had a slight excuse me exchange with around the yogurt counter was like,
Speaker 1: um, I have to just ask was there a mandate lifting that I missed or something? Can we go mask? Listen stores? And she said there's a teeny sign, it's very small on the front of the store that says if you're fully vaccinated beyond your two weeks you can go without a mask in the store. And I just looked at her and I said really? And then this other woman without a mask came out and said no really? She said it seems like places are doing it store by store
Speaker 1: but there is that sign, it's not very big but it lets you know if you're vaccinated it's okay to go massless inside.
Speaker 1: And I just immediately took my mask like slowly down from my my face and I said I'm fully vaccinated, this is amazing. And it was just this moment between the three of us were like good news was spreading among a community and people were happy to share it. And it was like a,
Speaker 1: it was the unmasking in the grocery store was really a moment for me,
Speaker 1: but I really was very nervous to approach someone and ask them if I had missed a mandate or something because I didn't want them to think that was my way of like
Speaker 1: judging them for not wearing a mask. You know what I mean? Like, like almost like a backwards way of asking why are you not wearing a mask? You know what I mean? Um so it it did need like a really friendly ask and a very, I wasn't trying to
Speaker 1: make a comment on your position. I want to be in it if I can. You know, I think that friendliness and the good spirit behind it is where I find my second etiquette thought around this topic. The first being that communication is so important that even though this is information that by traditional etiquette standards is often considered very private, even though it's
Speaker 1: a discussion about something that might have
Speaker 1: something that relates it to someone's political views or thinking or something revealing about political views and thinking in the discussion that also makes it
Speaker 1: sort of a more traditionally fraught topic.
Speaker 1: And because this is the moment that we're living in where it's so important and so necessary and frankly, so natural. I'm actually finding those conversations much easier to navigate than I maybe would have imagined. Yeah, I think you're right and I think that's an important thing to keep in mind that that
Speaker 1: the heart of etiquette is practical and in some ways it's okay to talk about these things right now. And a big part of that, we're all experiencing them is because we're all doing it together. And it's particularly okay if you can bring that good spirit to it if you're not judging other people for the choices they make either way,
Speaker 1: if you're accepting that each of us are having to make a lot of choices on the fly and that requires a little bit of flexibility and figuring things out on the go.
Speaker 1: I think it goes a long way towards making those, those
Speaker 1: important and necessary quick conversations that much easier to have. And I also, I I like you mentioned you and puma are fully vaccinated but your kids aren't, I wouldn't judge anybody who wants these mandates lift are choosing to still wear masks in public spaces,
Speaker 1: whether that's to represent a unity with your family and your Children who still need the masks on or whether that's because
Speaker 1: of your comfort level and being there. Yet I was on an outdoor walk earlier in the pandemic even though I was fully vaccinated at that point. So earlier, a couple of months ago
Speaker 1: and I was on an outdoor walk with a friend and we had both decided that it was still early enough in the vaccination process for most people that we felt more comfortable wearing our masks
Speaker 1: and we did have someone judge us for that and it felt bad. It didn't feel good. It felt like a stranger telling me advice I really didn't need to hear. And uh, so I would as much as we want to encourage people to
Speaker 1: trust that vaccination and to trust the mandates lifting and to trust the,
Speaker 1: the CDC if your personal comfort level hasn't hit that yet, we really don't want to judge others for that. And we really do want to support people wherever they're at with protecting themselves and feeling safe as opposed to just being safe. You know, I really do and you're talking to someone who is really interested about the role that something like a mask will play a year from now
Speaker 1: and we've talked on this show, I'm someone who's speculated that I might be a mass square moving through major airports during flu season at some point in the future mandates no mandates everybody doing it, everybody not doing it. But just knowing that I have brought flues home from business travel before
Speaker 1: that there are some things out there that might protect me that our options now that I wasn't even aware of a year ago or didn't think of as options. That made sense socially or practically.
Speaker 1: I'll be curious how other people feel about those things and make those choices moving forward,
Speaker 1: dan, thank you for for giving me a moment to explore the etiquette of what for me was a very, very celebratory milestone marking moment for this, this whole pandemic.
Speaker 1: I can't tell you how good it felt to, to feel confident, being masculine in a store and know that I was safe and that I was, I wouldn't be harming others either. Um It was it was a really big moment in this experience we've all had and I really hope
Speaker 1: darn it. I thought I could get through this. I really hope that you all are experiencing it to or getting too soon.
Speaker 1: Well, the thing that I found just delightful hearing about it is that you have to do it with a couple of strangers to share something so sort of personal and revealing um with people in your community, I'm going to call them strangers, but maybe people that you didn't know so well before that moment,
Speaker 1: thank you for sharing it with us. This is the safest way to regain your help
Speaker 1: and to return as quickly as possible
Speaker 1: to work
Speaker 1: to fun and to play.
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 and that can come in so many forms. Today we have a salute for a boss who came to the rescue.
Speaker 1: Hi lizzie and dan. I have a salute for my boss. I'm relatively new to town and have not established a lot of friendships yet. This weekend I threw my neck out at the gym and was unable to move it and in a lot of pain
Speaker 1: after I posted online asking for anyone suggested remedies, my boss came over with a heating pad and some food. She even suggested some stretches as her brother is a physical therapist. I really appreciated her kindness, especially because I'm a bit alone at the moment. Thanks
Speaker 1: anonymous. Anonymous. This is it's such a great salute. And it's also,
Speaker 1: I'm really glad that we have it only to add on and make the point that
Speaker 1: there are some business boss employee relationships where it's, it just is okay by all parties to be connected online. And I don't know if you're online. Post was specifically in social media, but your boss saw that and then changed into caretaker mode in a really friendly and supportive way. And
Speaker 1: to me that's just such like a case for
Speaker 1: if you can and it's not awkward and you're willing being connected in more ways than just that single email or that single extension at your desk phone. There is certainly a lesson about the rewards to be reaped from sharing and connecting with people in all kinds of different ways anonymous. Thank you so much for the salute.
Speaker 1: Thank you for listening. Thank you to everyone who sent us something and who supports us on Patreon. Please do connect with us and share this show with friends, family and co workers. However you like to share podcasts, you can send us questions, feedback and salutes by email to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com by phone. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kinds. That's 8028585463
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Speaker 1: and please consider leaving us a review that helps our show ranking, which helps more people find awesome etiquette. Our show is edited by Chris Albertine, an assistant produced by Brigitte, doubt in Alaska. Thanks so much. Thanks Kris and Brigitte.
Speaker 1: Mhm.