Episode 413 - Age Difference
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 Christmas cards for everyone in a household, how to handle a wedding born out of an affair, wedding guest woes, relationships and age difference assumptions. For Awesome Etiquette Sustaining members our question is about an awkward dog situation among neighbors. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and a postscript on top ten table manners.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy,
Speaker 1: host and hostess. They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person, real friendliness
Speaker 1: and welcome to awesome etiquette
Speaker 2: where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty.
Speaker 1: On today's show, we take your questions on christmas cards for everyone in a household. How to handle a wedding born out of an affair. Wedding guest woes and relationship and age difference, assumptions for
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette sustaining members. Our question of the week is about an awkward dog situation among neighbors
Speaker 1: Plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript on top 10 table manners.
Speaker 2: All that's coming up
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette comes to you from the studios of our home offices in Vermont and this time Martha's vineyard and is proud to be produced by the Emily Post Institute. I'm lizzie Post
Speaker 1: and I'm dan post Senning and it is so good to be back with you
Speaker 2: because I wish this was my office all the time. I am staring out at a beautiful like
Speaker 2: dune landscape. Not doing like, like do not one of our favorite books but dune like the beautiful massachusetts, you know coastal line and the atlantic ocean and it's gorgeous.
Speaker 2: All
Speaker 1: right lizzie Post. Okay. What am I supposed to say to that you little someone? So
Speaker 2: I know you've been here. So I know you know what it looks like, but I have to say it is so much more enjoyable than my usual. I'm staring at the wall of my office for our recordings.
Speaker 1: Well I am um insane with jealousy. And the only thing that makes it tolerable is I'm so happy for you. I'm glad that you have
Speaker 1: landed well on your vacation and your squarely in the middle of it. So thank you for carving out some time to be here on the mic with me and all of us today.
Speaker 2: Well thank you because you and puja pinch hit when last week the end of recording the audio book and your schedule heading out to do a seminar in boston. We just all of a sudden it was like, there is no way that this podcast is going to happen.
Speaker 2: And so thank you to you and puja for stepping in and and getting one done while I was busy and our schedules weren't lining up. I really appreciated that it was a good show.
Speaker 1: No worries on that. As you know, I relish the opportunity to do a show with every once in a while. I wouldn't subject her to it all the time. But it's really nice when I can pull that card.
Speaker 2: She's, she's fun to be on the other side of the mic from.
Speaker 2: I've got to say the vacation is feeling well deserved after the audiobook recording, which many of you audience have heard me say before, it is my favorite work to do
Speaker 2: at Emily Post. But that doesn't mean it's easy work. It is really, really, really hard work and I was feeling it. I've been used to recording audio books that are like, you know 100 and 75 200 pages and this was 420 pages. It was a lot man, it was a lot six
Speaker 1: days at the
Speaker 2: mic. Yes uh seven because we added a day, we worked on
Speaker 1: saturday
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 2: so we added a day, so it was seven days on the mic and then all together with one sunday off and I'll tell you because it's so you're always gonna find like little typos, especially in a book that's like 430 pages big or 416 for 20 something something in that range. Um I don't know if we're counting indexing pages or not, but you're always gonna find a few little
Speaker 2: things like there was a period and an end quotation missing somewhere. I think the word sustain had been the S. Was removed from the a stain, there was like an S. And a space and the rest of the word. So you're gonna find little mistakes like that for sure because we had to stop the presses moment that I have never been a part of such a thing before. But it was I'm going through the reading and we're going through the reading and we're looking at which
Speaker 2: of the reference guides we're gonna read through and which we're just going to tell the listener this is going to be found in the downloadable pdf and we're we come up to our kind of our quick reference memory, memory aids. I would say it's things like B and D. Holding your fingers that certain way or BMW for bread meal water forks across the bottom, you know eat from the outside in.
Speaker 2: And somehow the title had gotten in the middle of the illustrations. And the captions for the illustrations were on the following page. So it was it was kind of a mess and we did a bunch of re but it was definitely like a whoa guys, I gotta call the publisher. This is this is a little scary. I gotta find out what's going on here
Speaker 2: And our wonderful editor was so good. She took a look immediately took a look at what our final sent back to them had been. So it's not like we had approved it this way. This was an error that happened when everything had its last moment of moving before going to the printers
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 2: yeah, no major eke this was like I did not want our beautiful book that everybody, the publisher, the designer, everybody put so much time into this thing
Speaker 2: to have this really big ugly mistake in it. And sure enough and this is so rare you guys, the printer was able to actually stop everything and get an updated version from us and and be able to put it into print and it was just so
Speaker 2: it was a big, I can live with the little typos. I wasn't gonna feel good living with this And we actually, it really worked out, we got it fixed. It will be taken care of. But that was a brow sweating, stop the, stop the recording. We gotta handle this in the moment. It was very exciting moment. I would say,
Speaker 1: well, I'm so glad the read through turned into a final proof
Speaker 2: read.
Speaker 1: I'm also just really happy having heard about it afterwards that I didn't have to deal with any of it. That would have been so much anxiety from me. I can't believe that you wrestled that one down on your own. I'm grateful and impressed.
Speaker 2: You're most welcome. Luckily there wouldn't have been anything for you to do. Like finding the mistake and just finding out if the publisher could contact the printer and get it taken care of was the biggest thing. And so, so you were totally off the hook on that one. No need to jump in. But it was definitely an anxiety inducing our, I would say of just like, oh my gosh, is this gonna get fixed if it's not going to get fixed. Oh my gosh, I don't want to think about that, please just let this get fixed
Speaker 2: And it got fixed. I feel like it was a publishing miracle. Congratulations,
Speaker 1: congratulations on getting through the read And along the way, dealing with everything that came up and congratulations on landing down on the vineyard with your family and I know this vacation is well earned and well deserved.
Speaker 1: We will try
Speaker 2: to stay
Speaker 1: as focused as possible when recording today but we do have some questions to get to.
Speaker 2: We do we absolutely do you want to answer
Speaker 1: some questions? 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. 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 on instagram. We are at Emily Post institute and on facebook we are the Emily Post institute. Just remember use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your post so that we know you want your question on the show
Speaker 2: dan. Our first question gets right into a topic. I feel like everyone's both gonna groan about and be curious about in the next month and is technically august. So I don't think we've beat our early goals but this question is titled christmas cards for everyone, question mark,
Speaker 2: dear lizzie dan and the awesome etiquette team. Thank you for all you do. I enjoy listening to your show and now I have a question regarding addressing cards. Two adults living in the same house
Speaker 2: recently, my cousin moved back in with her elderly mother. I am close with my aunt and see her regularly while I am certainly on good terms with my cousin. I'm not close with her and generally only see her at infrequent family functions. I have always sent both my cousin and my aunt christmas cards now that they live together. Should I continue to send them each a christmas card or do I send one card addressed to both of them?
Speaker 2: They are family, but are they a family that is, should I consider them one unit or as two independent adults. Further, is it impolite for me to send my aunt cards such as birthday card or postcard when I don't send my cousin, those types of cards before they live together. I always sent my aunt birthday card and plan to continue.
Speaker 2: Should I now start sending one to my cousin. My cousin does not send me cards. It's likely my cousin isn't bothered by this, but I don't want to cause any offense. What do you think? I appreciate your input, Stephanie, Stephanie,
Speaker 1: you get the, I don't wanna call an etiquette gold star, you just get the
Speaker 2: award for
Speaker 1: being the first question of the season that could legitimately holiday holiday card question
Speaker 1: and one of the reasons I want to give that award is I want to do a little padding on the back of myself right now. I'm trying to do it. I'm trying to reach back there and get it. Um
Speaker 2: maybe
Speaker 1: lizzie can help me with this, but I have started lizzie.
Speaker 2: I have
Speaker 1: been systematically going through social media, which I used to use when it first came out and use very, very rarely now. And I've been asking people who I once upon a time connected with through social media for their addresses and I've coordinated with puja and we're adding them slowly methodically to our, our big spreadsheet that has all of our contacts on it. So we're,
Speaker 1: we're getting updated, we're getting ready for the season and we're doing it early so that we won't be rushed and we're going to fill in all kinds of little nooks and crannies that I've been wanting to fill in for a couple of years now.
Speaker 2: I love it. Good work, good work. Pat on the back for sure, cousin, Pat on the back for sure. So
Speaker 1: there's something in the air.
Speaker 1: I think we're maybe some of us are starting to feel it. Maybe others of us will start to feel it soon. Maybe if you've never felt it before, you're gonna start feeling it when you hear this answer.
Speaker 2: But
Speaker 1: holiday cards are coming and to really be ready. I think we need to start thinking about it or we could start thinking about
Speaker 2: it.
Speaker 2: What I like about this is that this is Stephanie asking about a shift in a situation and how can she be as polite and supportive and participatory as she has been, but not offend anyone and I like the fact that she lets us know. I don't think my cousin would be offended if I wasn't sending her birthday cards, but they live together and I want to think about this now because it's a different situation and I think that's warranted
Speaker 2: from my perspective. I feel like it's fine to send them that christmas card, anything that's kind of like a seasonal card that's sending it to everyone in the household group together I think is fine. I I think I also wouldn't have a problem doing this
Speaker 2: even if they weren't mother daughter, but if they were just roommates because to me it's like if you know the whole group then sending something to the whole group that lives in that house I think will always have a welcoming, inclusive, you know, tone to it
Speaker 2: when it comes to the birthday and postcards though, I'm less inclined to say you've gotta and I'm also more inclined to say, but why not? Like, you know, this might be a way to build things with that cousin a little bit more, even if the cousin never sends anything to you. Like
Speaker 2: it, it just might be a way for you to feel good about engaging the mom and having that relationship there and acknowledging that that the daughter now lives with the mom again too. And so it's kind of like, yeah, why not? Like I do this for your mom. You live at the house now too. I'll do it for you too at the same time. I don't think there's a whole ton of pressure here because of what Stephanie says is that I don't think she's gonna be offended by this. She doesn't send me cards.
Speaker 2: I'm guessing she knows that that Stephanie and her mother have a tight relationship and so it would make sense to her. You know what I mean?
Speaker 1: I do,
Speaker 2: yeah. So I don't know that's that's kind of where where I'm landing on the what about the other cards?
Speaker 1: I feel very similarly about the other cards. The birthday card that's for someone's birthday, that's individual. It's for them.
Speaker 1: I think that you can continue to send it to your aunt and feel really good about that. It's a very nice thing to do. I want to acknowledge that also. And I don't think that like you obligates you to then send it to the cousin as well. We have different kinds of relationships with different people. And
Speaker 1: I could see your cousin being just charmed that you do that for for his mother and thinking that's really wonderful. And also not necessarily expecting that to them particularly, it's not something that that you exchange with each other a little bit like you lizzie. I was saying to myself.
Speaker 2: And
Speaker 1: if for whatever reason this puts that person in your mind in a way that that makes it feel like an easy opportunity. You might just say I'm gonna go for it. I've got that address. I use it all the time. I know right where right where to send it. So it's not going to be a big deal. But I like you. I wouldn't feel like you have added the pressure to do that because you've done the nice thing for your aunt on the group card or the holiday card.
Speaker 1: I had a slightly different take but not much of a different take. I think you would be fine sending it to both of them at the same address.
Speaker 1: And I think all growing up also that makes sense to me. I think it was the way our question asked the way Stephanie described or do I treat them as two independent adults and send them each their own card?
Speaker 2: Like that particular idea?
Speaker 1: No. All of a sudden I was saying to myself, you know the fact that they've lived apart, they've come back together. It might be a way to acknowledge that even though they're living together,
Speaker 1: it's not a situation where it's a kid and a parent, but it is two independent adults living together. And I don't think it would create a bad impression to send it to everyone in the house. But I also think there's a slightly different impression that's created by sending it to each of them and you would be fine doing that as well, particularly if you wanted to acknowledge that independent status,
Speaker 2: Stephanie. We hope that our answers
Speaker 2: help you sort out all of your wonderful correspondence, mainly we want to give you big kudos for a thinking about this early be thinking about it at all. And C being the type of person who sends cards. We're big fans of that here at Emily Post. And so we think this is
Speaker 1: a great tradition that you've started. And
Speaker 2: we hope that our answer helps
Speaker 1: you to continue
Speaker 2: it in the best
Speaker 1: way possible. Thank you so much for the question.
Speaker 2: Our
Speaker 1: next question is about weddings and affairs,
Speaker 2: Are there etiquette
Speaker 1: questions for a wedding when the pair being married are a formerly married person and their affair partner in that former marriage, assuming that fact is known to everyone
Speaker 1: should the bride a shoe white should the officiating clergy skip a sermon on fidelity. Should the whole event below key. Thanks Just another bystander.
Speaker 2: Oh, just another bystander. I feel that a lot of people have these questions when it comes to weddings and love that is born out of maybe not the best circumstances I would say. And certainly affairs can cause a lot of destruction
Speaker 2: and a lot of hurt feelings. But in some cases, and it sounds like this is one of them. It can also be a lead in to a really significant relationship. And it sounds like even though these two got together under not great circumstances that that caused harm to other people that their love and choice to now commit to each other is very real. And I think that there is um there's something to be said for that,
Speaker 2: but when it comes to the wedding, the wedding can be anything that this couple wishes it to be, the bride can wear white. They could have a small ceremony, they could have a big ceremony. I would probably skip the officiating clergy trying to do a sermon specifically on fidelity. It seems like that might be a little pointed or have a lot of,
Speaker 2: I would say wait with it. In this particular circumstance, I don't think that the vows need to skip promises of fidelity because that's that's something this particular couple might choose to include in their wording. And I don't think the event has to be low key. I think it can be anything they want. I think you don't want to rub it in the face of the other person. I would say, it's not like I would assume you'd be inviting the person who was hurt by this particular relationship to the wedding.
Speaker 2: But I do think that that people move on. And generally etiquette does not say that we punish people for that. And to me when you say things like the bride can't wear white because she had an affair to get the person that she's marrying.
Speaker 2: That that's punishing someone and that that's that's generally not what we do from an etiquette standpoint, whether it's a guest arriving late to a dinner party or it's a couple getting married after. Like we said, not great circumstances leading up to the relationship dan. What do you think? Do you think that there's any basis in toning it down or anything, or
Speaker 2: pretty much on the same page?
Speaker 1: No, I'm very much in line with your thinking on this lizzie post that if the couple themselves felt that it was more appropriate to tone it down. For whatever
Speaker 2: reason, I
Speaker 1: think that could be an entirely reasonable reason to make the choice to do a wedding that was of a different style or nature than another wedding that somebody might have imagined.
Speaker 1: But I think that's entirely up to them, it's up to the couple and the people that are hosting the wedding, how they want to approach it, how they want to celebrate, how they want to conduct the ceremony and who they want to invite and how they wanna spend the time around that very significant event. And it very well might be celebratory, it might be the one person in the couple, It is their first wedding or it is the first opportunity that that they've had to have a wedding
Speaker 1: that conforms with a vision or a dream or an idea that they've had their entire lives. And I think that whenever we're dealing with a situation that feels personal or awkward or difficult, that we can really think about what our essential role is in any given situation. And as a wedding guests are essential role is to celebrate and to bear witness and to really think about the ways that we can play those roles most effectively.
Speaker 1: And oftentimes that involves following your hosts cues that this is one of those days in life where we make a real effort as guests to put our baggage down to put aside any
Speaker 1: feelings that we may have hurt feelings, angry feelings, upset feelings that can come from any one of a number of places. I'm thinking of people I know this summer that didn't like the way ceremonies were organized because they wanted to be a bigger part of it or because certain people were invited and certain people weren't the way certain people behaved at a wedding. And
Speaker 1: it's not always easy to separate those feelings from our reactions and responses in the moment and around the event itself, but everything that any of us can do as guests to be supportive of the couple and the choices that they're making,
Speaker 1: I think that's where the best etiquette comes into play
Speaker 2: dan. You're also reminding me that as a guest, we also have a choice and if maybe you're not ready yet to support this relationship or you don't enjoy the way that they're choosing to celebrate their love and move forward with their lives. You might not be a good guest for this wedding. And even though you've been offered the chance to be included, you can say no and decline the invitation.
Speaker 2: Probably still a good idea to send at the very least a card or a small kind of a small, I don't want to say token gift, but but a small token gift just to commemorate the day. But outside of that, from an etiquette standpoint, you don't have an obligation to participate if you don't want to. And so it is okay if this is really putting you in a place, you just can't be to not be there and to make that decision for yourself politely wish wish them well from afar.
Speaker 2: So that's also always an option.
Speaker 1: I think that's a really important point. I think that's a really good thing to remember.
Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. But in terms of what the couple should do and the questions that we were asked in our question, the couple really has free reign to treat this like any wedding
Speaker 2: and we hope that that they'll be supported in that just another bystander, thank you for this question. It's a it's a tough one. It's a tough one for sure. But I think as dan has said, we can use our good guest skills to do the right thing and to have good etiquette on our part in this situation. Thank you so much for the question.
Speaker 2: She was always dreaming about some day when she would be all grown up and meet her fairy Prince.
Speaker 2: Oh, he would be so handsome and rich. They would run away in his beautiful big carriage drawn by 20 White horses with silver bridles
Speaker 2: and you'll be all dressed up. The lovely gown so long it took 100 elves to carry the train.
Speaker 2: Our next question is titled Wedding woes. Hi, my cousin who lives in south Dakota has a son who has a wedding planned in maine. This september were invited and have a rental property secured due to the distance. We live in Vermont and they're in South Dakota. We're not close to my cousin's family. In fact, weddings are about the only time we do see them. My cousin and her husband both have family in maine including both sets of the sons, grandparents,
Speaker 2: My cousin's parents. My side of the family have a set of older cousins who have not been invited. These cousins know the bride and groom about as well as we do and have recently found out about the wedding. To my mind, the wedding venue is practically in these elder cousin's backyard and there are about 10 of us who feel really bad about the exclusion including the grandmother.
Speaker 2: Are there rules about destination weddings and very local relatives? How do the ton of us affected feel better about our inclusion and the cousins exclusion when we're at the event. Thank you. Peg.
Speaker 1: Oh, Peg. This is another challenging wedding guest question, very similar in some ways to the last one in the,
Speaker 1: There is a lot being asked of you as a wedding guest and at the same time, not a lot is being asked of you as a wedding guest. The focus of the wedding guest really is just in case someone is listening who didn't listen to. The previous question is to participate as best you can, celebrating a very special and important day in a couple's lives
Speaker 1: and there are so many decisions that go into the planning of a wedding and so many choices have to be made and not all of them are easy to make. A lot of them are, are difficult. In fact, the, the nature of the event is such that you're almost, you almost have programmed in some difficult choices along the way, you're gonna have to set a guest list and there's gonna be a limit to it and whether that limit is venue size or cost or expense or
Speaker 1: just the number of people that someone wants to have present, some people want a smaller, more intimate type gathering or ceremony
Speaker 1: that they're going to be, some people that you would maybe want to have included or maybe some people that would want to be included, that aren't able to be included and
Speaker 1: there is a point where that can still be thought about and discussed and negotiated and there there might be ways for people to be reminded or asked, but there also is a point in the planning where that decision is made and it becomes everybody's job to move beyond it as best they can and really focus on the celebration in the day
Speaker 2: dan. This is reminding me of one of the, I don't want to say necessarily reasons but but reasons why we don't actually show guest lists to our guests when we're hosts of a party, whether it's a wedding or an afternoon d back in Emily's Day or it's your friday night dinner party that the guests don't need so much to concern themselves with who's coming or who's not coming. It's it's not the role that they play,
Speaker 2: the role that they play is to either accept or decline the invitation and if they accept the invitation to participate well in the event once they get there and that's not to say that you can't have thoughts and feelings about
Speaker 1: guest
Speaker 2: list or the event itself,
Speaker 2: right, A lot of us get to a party and we think oh I might have done it this way, you know, but I think it's important to remember that as a guest, you want to trust that your host has probably thought of a lot of the things you're thinking of and they ended up making the decision they made for a reason and you're going to trust that hopefully that reason has some consideration and respect and honesty with it when I look at this question and dig deeper into it and I find out that
Speaker 2: the elder cousins in maine who have been left off the guest list but practically lived next door are off the guest list and I hear that they are elder cousins and to me that dan knows I know a lot of my elder cousins thrice removed and things
Speaker 1: trying to figure them all out and I just, I'm were
Speaker 1: dan still
Speaker 2: doesn't know who doro actually is to me, but I call her a cousin, she was my grandmother's cousin. But I could see situations for instance, even looking at my own family where darrow who is my grandmother's cousin and she's also the last living of that generation and to me she's a wonderfully important figure.
Speaker 2: I could technically see a situation where I invite someone like my cousin Casey who I don't see anywhere near as regularly but love them both very, very much instead of someone like Adoro. And it just happens sometimes that
Speaker 2: cousins who are first cousins with no remove als might have a higher seating, higher seating, higher ranking. I don't know what you want to call it on that guest list of importance or of cut off than someone who is maybe a cousin twice removed or a grandparents cousin even who might be local. And so it's just worth understanding that the folks creating the guest list have probably put some thought into it and they probably
Speaker 2: they might not be happy with the decision they ended up with but it's the one they had to come to and I think we try really hard to give our hosts the benefit of the doubt and remind ourselves that it wasn't our party to plan. And that's, that's kind of the the two spaces that my brain goes is this happens and there there's often a reason behind it and you don't typically pick up the phone and call people and say this is why I'm not inviting you to this wedding.
Speaker 2: And so that's why you don't hear us suggesting things like, well the host should really call these people and tell them that they're not invited for a reason. You know,
Speaker 1: like
Speaker 2: it's it's kind of one of those things where one of the other things about being a good guest and dan stopped me from rambling at any point. But one of the other things that, that is important about being a good guest is not trying to badger people about why we didn't make a guest list or um
Speaker 2: to accept the fact that we know we won't be invited to every single party. And for me, knowing that these people aren't that if they're about as close as you and and Peg is saying that that she sees this family maybe once a year at like a wedding. Um and maybe that's not even once a year, maybe, maybe the weddings and the family are less frequent than that,
Speaker 2: then my guess is they probably weren't family relationship wise close enough to invite, even though they live really close by.
Speaker 1: You taught me lizzie post that we call some weddings, destination weddings, but most weddings are destination weddings for some percentage of the people that are attending.
Speaker 1: And it's, it's actually not an uncommon situation for someone to be hosting a wedding in the place they live or a hometown that they grew up in and to have people traveling from far away to come celebrate with them
Speaker 1: And they're being a subset of people from that local community that aren't able to be included. That this is uh, when I talked about sometimes the planning of the wedding, there's, it almost feels like it's structurally set up to present certain problems. And the cut off of the guest list is one
Speaker 1: another is weddings that are hosted in communities where people have been established and the natural limitations on, on event size mean that not everybody connected to those people can always be included
Speaker 1: and thinking about it that way might be a way to help with that question of Is there a way to feel better about our inclusion and the cousins exclusion. And I think that the best thing that you can do is to answer that question very practically for yourself and then say it's also my job
Speaker 1: not to, to dwell in feeling badly about that, but to then bring my best self to this wedding and to do the best I can to help these,
Speaker 1: this couple celebrate and have a really incredible day
Speaker 2: dan. I think that is just such an important point. Such a very, very important point. Peg we know that this can feel like a really tough situation and we do certainly hope that the elder cousins aren't terribly offended or hurt or put put out and that they can understand that all the reasons why someone might have come to this particular decision,
Speaker 2: but mostly we hope that our answer helps you and your family be able to show up to the wedding, have a wonderful time in maine, even though it's right right within our area in Vermont, it's really cool to get a couple states over and that you guys have a really fun time celebrating your cousin's son and his and his partner and their big day.
Speaker 1: Peg, Thank you for the question.
Speaker 1: The plans for all these marriages are, plans to spend money for every marriage starts a home and to start that home requires initial spending that's covered by savings gifts and carefully budgeted incomes.
Speaker 2: Our next
Speaker 1: question has the intriguing title, Young but not that young,
Speaker 1: hey lizzie and dan, I've been an avid listener and lover of the podcast since I saw it suggested in the new york Times,
Speaker 2: Welcome
Speaker 1: to the show. That's a relatively
Speaker 2: recent,
Speaker 1: so good to have you.
Speaker 1: My
Speaker 2: question is a little
Speaker 1: more taboo than your standard topics, but I would really appreciate knowing what you would do in my situation. I am dating a significantly older partner and I'm frequently mistaken as their child. To make matters worse, I look younger than I actually am, as verified by friends and strangers alike.
Speaker 1: While I love my partner and feel very secure in this relationship, the actual and presumed age gap has led to some expected but still awkward situations of being called their kid.
Speaker 1: Is there an etiquette way to respond when I am I want to be honest about the relationship but still be considerate that it could make outside parties uncomfortable. Should I even correct them? In the past? I tried not to say anything, but the embarrassment shows on my face when we have informed the person of our non familial relationship. I can tell the next assumption is that I'm being taken advantage of given how young I look.
Speaker 1: Should I hint at my real age? My goal is to decrease the all around awkwardness of every party while being able to enjoy my relationship as the normal relationship. It is
Speaker 1: with love for you both young, but not that young,
Speaker 2: young, but not that young, thank you so much for submitting this question, definitely not too taboo. And I think that this is one that might might get some folks who maybe have been on the other side of this, so not young, but not that young side to think twice before they say some things and make some assumptions about the relationships they see in front of them, and I think that's never a bad thing
Speaker 2: dan, as I have thought about this question since we first saw it in the script, I keep coming back to the place of so much of how to move forward from those awkward moments, depends on what young, but not that young thinks and feels about their life and exposing their life and confronting people or
Speaker 2: any any and all of it, because different avenues will reveal different things. Some people really don't like discussing their age at all age is just a number. It's not, you know, not something I need to reveal to people. Other people have no problem stating their age.
Speaker 2: Some people have no problem correcting people in front of others or especially with something like a relationship mistake just for the record, put me in the camp of someone who thinks that correcting names, pronouns, titles relationship status, um or nature of a relationship in the moment is worthwhile, because I think it clears up a lot of confusion, but not everybody feels that way. Not everybody feels that way. Not everyone wants to do it in the moment.
Speaker 2: So I think a lot of it has to do with what young, but not that young would wants to feel and feels comfortable communicating their own life, that being said my own approach to this would be to nip it in the bud
Speaker 2: and as soon as somebody says, oh, and you know, it's so nice to see maybe it's a father daughter relationship. Maybe it's a father son relationship, maybe it's just a child parent relationship. We don't know the genders of the parties involved, but to say, and I'll just run with the father daughter relationship. I often wonder whether my dad and I look like a couple when we're out golfing together and I'm always grateful whenever I hear him drop a grab my daughter's club
Speaker 2: or is my daughter lizzie post, like it's it's comforting to me now that I'm an adult and, and that could be something that someone might assume of the two of us. And so I'm a fan of all the clarifying that we can do whether that's for young but not that young, making it clear that this is a relationship, Oh, I should correct you. This is, this is my partner, Like we've been together for a number of years, not my father, um or not my uncle, not my person.
Speaker 2: Um, this is my person, person, not my relative person, but I think doing a correction like that would be okay in the moment, especially if it's done lightly. I think it's harder to then deal with the potential judgment that comes next if you're, if you're getting those judgy moments of, you know, concern for you and whether this is a healthy relationship, concern of how you two got together and all of that.
Speaker 2: I wish more people would would just kind of not go that curiosity route and instead just accept what they've been told and, and then observe what sounds to me like a loving, healthy relationship. So dan, those are a few of the thoughts I'm having, I probably would be fine telling someone
Speaker 2: my age and that we're in a relationship together where where do you stand on this? What's your instinct telling you?
Speaker 1: You know, I like you. I'm thinking a lot of different things as I read this question and I'm imagining a series of branch points in an interaction with someone that could go different ways. And as I was listening to you talk, I took my, my branch and I extended it back towards the tree a little bit more.
Speaker 1: I was thinking about the way you described. Your father will sort of indicate to people what the relationship is, that he has with you when you're out playing. And I was thinking that there might be a pre stage to where I was even thinking about it, where you drop little cues for people who you sense might have a question and maybe it's that they haven't addressed you yet in a certain way or that you,
Speaker 1: you notice them
Speaker 2: looking for
Speaker 1: cues in some way, you can sense it, you can sense that there's some uncertainty about what the relationship is between you and your partner that the first thing you could do is offer it up and define it in some way. The same way that your father, you've seen your father doing that as well. So uh you know, maybe you refer to them as your partner or your significant other or whatever term of endearment it is that you use for them and you just make that
Speaker 1: a little signal that you offer up in certain situations, that gives people some kind of clue as to what the nature of your relationship is.
Speaker 1: I was then imagining the the point in the interaction where someone's made a mistake. And I was really imagining that that could happen in two ways that there can be the mistake that you sense is the entirely honest and innocent mistake of someone just getting it wrong.
Speaker 1: And if that's the case I would get very comfortable with. And I think lizzie is giving you a couple of good examples of that. Some sample script language that makes the correction right there in the moment. It's a no harm, no foul situation. They're not intending to communicate something with the mistake. It's just a misunderstanding
Speaker 1: something that happens all the time. So the sooner you're able to say actually so and so is my partner actually, he's my spouse, my partner, my boyfriend, my x, y or Z, whatever it is that that you call them,
Speaker 1: you could use a lizzie post sample script that goes a little bit more in terms of offering some permission or not some permission, but some sort of allowance. Oh, we get this a lot, we're partners.
Speaker 2: I was thinking of that too. Yeah, but we get this a lot happens all the time. We're partners.
Speaker 1: Yes.
Speaker 2: There's an age difference. We're aware and I could hear the good
Speaker 1: humor in my cousin's voice. I could hear there being some good humor
Speaker 1: around appreciating that people think you look so young, that actually you're not as young as you look or a little self depreciating humor. Um, in some way about the appearance of an age difference, but not an actual age difference. That's as dramatic as that appearance might suggest.
Speaker 1: The more difficult situation for me is the one that that lizzie you were getting to at the end there where you really sense someone's judgment or concern. And I think in those situations it's
Speaker 2: it's a little trickier
Speaker 1: and that's where I couldn't agree with you anymore. Lizzie post that. I think in those situations it's really up to you. And I think that you have a couple of different options. You can do the thing that you would do if it was the honest mistake or the simple mistake and just make the correction and let it be.
Speaker 1: You could try to address the concern and you might have a slightly different sample script or a slightly different tone to your delivery where you let someone know that, no, this is actually your partner and you're really comfortable and happy in that relationship. And if it's important to you to deliver that message or you would like to deliver that message, I think that's entirely appropriate, particularly if you're sensing
Speaker 1: the judgment or the concern and I even want to add another branch to the tree of our decision making, that I might handle a situation where I was feeling someone's judgment a little different than a situation where I was feeling someone's concern
Speaker 2: dan. There is so the part of me that has to remind herself about the phrase two routes don't make a right because it is so tempting to just put people right in their place with this one
Speaker 2: that as soon as you see the true judgment starter, the person who's like trying to force it out of you because they want it to be some kind of embarrassing moment for you to have to admit that this is true. That what they see going on this age, discrepancy look out, it's real, they're trying to bait you for it. There is a lot
Speaker 2: part of me that just wants to, you know, push this person right off the boat. I mean not literally, but using the fishing example, it is so tempting to want to do that. And yet, as we just said in a question above etiquette is not about punishing people. And so I have to reel myself in and try and find that etiquette high road
Speaker 2: that says, you know what the most elegant, sociable thing for me to do is to be calmly confident in my own relationship and let other people's judgment look like, what it is, which is judgment. And if I answer that question that that baiting type behavior that someone is doing by saying, you know, actually we're in a relationship we've been together for five years, three years, one year
Speaker 2: and it's it's pretty incredible. We're really glad we found each other. I just think that that takes a lot of the, you know what, in the vinegar out of somebody's judgment coming at you
Speaker 2: um to just take that calm collected route.
Speaker 1: I think it does. And I like your sample script, we were missing you last week, we were calling you the master of sample scripts, but those in the moment, sample scripts, those ones that you come up with on the fly that
Speaker 2: I can never remember later when I'm in a real moment
Speaker 1: and our our our straight gold and are the reason that your father says you're so good with people and he's right. I'm also
Speaker 1: sensing that that advice can be hard to give the advice to take the high road. But I also, I feel that that is the road that young but not that young wants to take. And I think I want to highlight the way
Speaker 1: the end of this question is phrased, my goal is to decrease the all around awkwardness of every party while being able to enjoy my relationship. And
Speaker 1: it's the heart of good etiquette that that care with everybody and this, this desire to make things as comfortable and as easy for as many people as possible while maintaining some integrity and some self respect. And I think it's a really lovely sentiment. I think it's exactly the right approach to take. I think with a couple of sample scripts and a little forethought
Speaker 1: young but not that young is going to be well able to take care of this kind of situation if it presents itself in the future. I think there's some real wisdom and the approach that that we're seeing in this question so young but not that young, clearly you're not exhibiting the behaviors of the immature, whatever your age.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much for the question.
Speaker 1: Thank
Speaker 2: you for your questions. Please send us updates or feedback on our answers to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can also leave a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463 or you can reach us on social media on twitter. We are at Emily Post on instagram. We are at
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Speaker 2: It's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer in the topics we cover and today we have feedback from Michaela. Hello,
Speaker 1: I'm sending feedback on the post script from episode 409, specifically on the bridal party intro. I was kind of surprised to hear that it was on the don't do list, but as an introvert who has had to do it, I totally get
Speaker 2: it.
Speaker 2: I
Speaker 1: have always felt super awkward during my intro dance, especially if I didn't know my partner or if I didn't know the song being played or even worse when the DJ announced me as the wrong person or pronounce my name wrong despite having a phonetic spelling ahead of time and
Speaker 2: that's palm to forehead emoji, thank
Speaker 1: you for interpreting for me. I did not get
Speaker 2: it,
Speaker 1: but I do think they can serve an important role in the event. My sister got married last year and both our family and his are huge and spread out all over California while the immediate families have met and know each other. Neither side has ever met. The extended family, Covid canceled their engagement party during the bridal party intro. Our name was announced along with our relation to the couple. For example, using fake names.
Speaker 1: Please welcome mary matron of honor and sister of jane and Danny, best man and cousin of David. The intro was away for that extended family to put names to faces. Of course, that doesn't mean everyone will remember that I'm her sister after leaving the wedding, but at least it gave them an idea of what relationships are important to the bride and groom and
Speaker 1: as a guest at weddings, I've definitely had those, so that's who they're always talking about moments during the intro. So yes, as someone who hates being put on the spot to do an awkward five second dance with someone I may or may not know I dislike it strongly, but as a guest I feel it's an important acknowledgement of the people that the couple holds closest
Speaker 1: thanks for all you do with the podcast, Michaela.
Speaker 2: So dan, I'm really glad Michaela sent this in because I was probably too harsh against the intros, thinking more about the dancing and the
Speaker 2: entrance to a sports arena of a sports team version of it that I hear often um but I want to just second what Michaela said here because I do think that introductions that also include a little bit of relationship intro. I believe we call it enhancing introductions in our book. Um is worthwhile. It's actually something I've, I've said in the book when we were editing it. No, we gotta keep this section. It's really good.
Speaker 2: Um, because it does just the things that that Michael is talking about is that it can help place a name, you know, broader family structure. Um, it can give people a point of reference when talking with these folks later in the wedding. I think one of the points, we should have done a better job when we were analyzing that wonderful list of what a cringeworthy wedding trends was that the show off fitness
Speaker 2: of it or the way that sometimes it can really fall flat if it's not done well, I think can impede some of the fun or the usefulness of it in certain times, but I really appreciate Michaela giving us this feedback
Speaker 1: I do as well. Michaela, you took me right into the wedding spirit with the so that's who they're always talking about moments
Speaker 2: That one got me too.
Speaker 1: It paints a vivid picture and you also paint a vivid picture of how those intros can work. Thank you for sharing. We appreciate the feedback.
Speaker 2: Thank you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please do keep them coming. You can send your feedback or update to awesome etiquette Emily post dot com or leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463.
Speaker 2: It's
Speaker 1: time for our post script segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette and today we're going to get super etiquette e here on our little etiquette show
Speaker 2: with top 10
Speaker 1: table manners.
Speaker 1: If you want to check out the list after the show, we'll post the link in the public section of our patreon dot com account. That's patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette lizzie post. Shall we proceed with the table manners top 10.
Speaker 2: I think we shall. And I was getting out on this when I was reading it in our book, I geek out on it anytime
Speaker 2: you put it into a seminar, I geeked out on it when we created our E learning program where the the same top 10 list also lives. And I think there are like three extra points. So it's the top 13 list. But these are some of the most fundamental manners in etiquette. I feel like these are some of the most noticeable things too. Um So it's it's get let's get etiquette e with it. You know,
Speaker 2: number one is probably one of my most favorite and I think you could say that this is the like the ultimate dining etiquette rule and that is that if you are able to chew with your mouth closed, then you should chew with your mouth closed. And if you are able to resist talking when there is food in your mouth which all of us can
Speaker 2: is this talking when there is food in our mouths, you should absolutely not talk when there is food and especially not drink in your mouth. This is what we call a dealbreaker rule. It is one of the few times where we actually come out and say if you don't do this, people might really judge you for it. And there are times when making a good impression makes a big difference whether
Speaker 2: it's a job interview or you're out to a client lunch or you're meeting your in laws. Maybe it's that first date and you really want the second date. This is a thing people tell us that they will they will politely walk away from someone who doesn't to their food with their mouth closed
Speaker 1: and I just want to jump on board here. I know I'm supposed to move us on to the second. No no
Speaker 2: do it. I want the commentary.
Speaker 2: I'm
Speaker 1: thinking about the people that can't walk away from us. I'm thinking about the people that were going to eat with every day and they love us and they live with us. We share homes, we share offices, we share lunch tables and dining room tables and lives and tv tables and for the sake of those people, the more we can make this a general practice.
Speaker 1: It's the first manner. Many of us learn when people are still helping us put food into our mouths but chewing with your mouth closed, keeping the food in your mouth while you're chewing it and swallowing it
Speaker 1: is so important. It's so important that those big moments in our lives and it's
Speaker 1: almost as important. Maybe even more important in those small moments in our lives.
Speaker 2: Absolutely. What's our second point now? These after that one, we're not really in any kind of rhyme or reason order, They're more just the rest of the top 10. But this is the second
Speaker 1: greatest hits tip, which is that you want to keep your smartphone off the table if at all possible that you wanna bring your attention to the people that you're
Speaker 1: with, that you're sharing food and time and space with the sharing of a meal is a great little reminder. It's one of those moments in life where you can say to yourself, you know, this is a great time for me to silence this device, for me to turn this device off for me to put it somewhere out of reach. So it won't even be tempted to leap into my hands at a moment where I'm distracted or just habitually reaching for it.
Speaker 1: Um when we're sharing food with others, it's a really important time, it's a really important opportunity to build and grow relationships and if you can do it, it's best to leave the phone behind.
Speaker 2: This next one, I feel like is a is a titch E one but it is hold your utensils correctly. You really don't want to use your fork or spoon like a shovel or to stab your food with your fork by using your dining implements in the correct hands. And by that, I mean that
Speaker 2: the knife, which is our sharpest most dangerous implement, should be in our dominant hand, whether that's our writer are left will vary um but it should be in our dominant hand and when we're cutting our than fork is in our other hand, but we want to use a precision grip on these utensils. When we hold them with our fist, we actually have less control over them. It can feel like you have more force and ability to apply pressure,
Speaker 2: but you actually have less dexterity. And so when we're dining with others, it's really great if you can hold your utensils correctly and you can definitely go to Emily post dot com where where we do have descriptions of how to do this and and in our books there are good description
Speaker 2: how to do this, but it will make a difference to how well you can control the food on your plate and your ability to get it neatly up to your mouth so that you can enjoy it.
Speaker 1: The path to the perfect bite begins with the correct.
Speaker 2: It's true, it's true.
Speaker 2: This next one's a classic,
Speaker 1: it is tip number four is very simply stated, wash up and come to the table clean once there, don't attend to grooming or hygiene at the table and it's a little reminder that we're meant to, to bring our clean and best selves to the table and then when we're at the table with others, we're gonna keep our hands away from our eyes, ears, nose well, mouth unless we're bringing food to it and hair.
Speaker 2: Our 5th tip is a classic and it's to remember to use your napkin. That's right. The Napkin is there for you to help clean yourself up at the table and for small messes for little spills for oops, you've just got a little little bit of male right there in the corner of your mouth. It's, it's great for dabbing
Speaker 2: but it is important for us to use our napkins. So right when you sit down, put it in your lap, use it frequently throughout the meal and if you are very messy if you have just created a mess of yourself as sometimes happens at the table. Excuse yourself to wash up.
Speaker 1: Number six is one of my favorites because I remember learning this one and it's the advice to wait until you're done chewing to sip or swallow a drink and
Speaker 1: guilty as charged. I don't know when it was probably was in my elementary school days, but you know just to eat that thing that you didn't like. You could put it in your mouth to it a couple times and then just wash it down with some beverage. And I remember my mother telling me that no that the general idea was that you didn't use your liquid, your drink at the table to sluice food down your throat, that you didn't like. That you were meant to chew and swallow and that then you drank independent of swallowing your food
Speaker 1: and it changed the way I ate. So I remember this rule and I think it's one that not everybody has firmly in mind. It can feel like it makes a lot of sense to use some liquid to swish around that food and help wash it down. But it's not great manners at the table. Generally speaking, we want to take bites that are small enough that we can chew and
Speaker 1: swallow on our own and then you can follow it with a sip of that beverage
Speaker 2: and dan, I'm going to add on to that a sip of that beverage. We do want to sip our beverages, we don't want to chuck them at the table, we don't want to blow bubbles in them at the table, We don't want to drink them all in one
Speaker 1: go and all of the fun all at once.
Speaker 2: Alright, alright, alright. Our next tip is one that I have a really hard time with and I'll tell you eating with both my parents the past week I think we could all use a little help in this and that is to pace yourself with fellow diners. Um, and this goes both directions while on our website, we say cut only one piece of food at a time. That's true. But you want to think about whether you need to speed your
Speaker 2: eating up a bit so that people aren't waiting for you and that might mean a little less talking and a little more eating or it might just mean taking your bites a little, a little bit faster. You don't have to rush, you don't want to make yourself sick. But it is nice to keep pace with everyone at the table. And I laugh because my father is practically finished his meal by the time my mother has finally sat down and she's the slowest eater of all of us
Speaker 2: because she savors absolutely every single bite including adding to each one. And so, um, so between the two of them, I've got dad who's pretty much finished and ready to leave the table by the die, mom is taking her first couple of bites and I think together we could all pace ourselves a little bit better and enjoy the meal at the same time.
Speaker 2: What's our next tip dan?
Speaker 1: Our 8th tip is about posture at the table and we want to be careful that we don't slouch at the table or slump onto the table or prop ourselves up on the table with our arms or elbows.
Speaker 1: a little piece of advice that I like to give is that the whole point of your utensils is that you have the ability to take the food that's on your plate and bring it to your mouth, that you don't need to take your mouth and bring it down to your plate or the table.
Speaker 2: Very good, very good
Speaker 2: tip number nine, is that instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you. And while it may seem like you're putting the work on other people, it really is more polite, especially than standing up out of your chair to have to reach across the table or in front of other people to go get something,
Speaker 2: asking for something to be passed around the table to you is the better way to go when we're dining with others.
Speaker 1: And our final tip is a great, big step back reminder to bring your best self to any meal, take part in dinner conversation and engage with the people that you're with. It's very easy at meal time to stay very focused on the food. It's an important part of our lives. We wouldn't make it long if we didn't pay attention to the food that we eat,
Speaker 1: but sharing food with others is also an important social ritual. It's an important social occasion and the more that you can remember that the more that you can engage with people over the sharing of food, the stronger your relationships will be so tuck in, enjoy and remember to enjoy with the people around you.
Speaker 1: I
Speaker 2: love that last tip dan, you can check out this article via the public side of our Patreon account so you don't need to be a sustaining member in order to get this article. It's also on our website at Emily Post dot com
Speaker 2: and dan. One of the things I love about this article is that over on the right hand side of my screen, I can also see recommended articles and there are tons of table manners, videos, table setting diagrams to look at. There's a lot of great resources if you want to button up your table manners. Look maybe I can show you, let's imagine the family at dinner with nobody minding his manners.
Speaker 2: Not very pretty is it? Each person busy feeding his face, showing no consideration for the others. People become irritated, angry. No one can enjoy a meal like this. No,
Speaker 1: we like to end our show on a high note so we turn to you to hear about the good etiquette you're seeing and experiencing out in the world and that can come in so many forms. In fact today we have a salute from lizzie.
Speaker 2: This is a salute for me and I really appreciate you guys entertaining one from one of the hosts because um sadly I do want to give an etiquette salute to mama and mama in my life was my neighbor Andrea's mother, her name was Karen bailey but I only knew her as mama and she came up to Vermont from Virginia every summer to spend some time with Andrea
Speaker 2: and being that Andrea and I have the type of neighborly relationship where drop buys are common. I both got to spend a lot of just drop by evening time with mama after work. Um And and I was really honored that I was also asked at times to go over to the house and to prepare and eat dinner with mama or to sit and watch a show together or to put her to bed
Speaker 2: at night to just check in on her if Andrea and her partner were out for an evening and they were things I was really happy and honored as a neighbor to be asked to do. Mama was a really dear woman to all of those who knew her, probably one of the most positive and encouraging people I have ever met. She lived life well and as well as anybody could all the way through.
Speaker 2: I don't think she had necessarily the easiest life and yet she always had a smile, always had kind words of encouragement for you when you saw her and she you know she she was the kind of person that always stepped up. She had two kids but she raised six kids altogether. She was extremely valued at her her lifelong career, working in a local bank in Virginia
Speaker 2: and I think she was the type of person that anyone could could call on should they need anything from a shoulder to cry on to help in the garden to a quick babysitting.
Speaker 2: She was really there for her community and I was very, very sad that mama passed away this past saturday and it was not expected and I just want to give a salute to Andrea and her mother, Karen bailey for being the type of people that you'd really want to know, the type of people who really care about their community. And I was really glad that I got to know her in life
Speaker 2: dan. I could go on and on but I I know I know that at some point these these salutes have to end but I am really truly grateful to have to have known her. And this salute is for mama and for her whole life of being just another person out there exhibiting awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: Well, thank you for that salute, lizzie Post.
Speaker 1: Thank
Speaker 2: you for letting me share it and thank you for listening today
Speaker 1: and thank you to everyone who sent us something and everyone who supports us on Patreon,
Speaker 2: please connect with us and share this show with your friends, family and coworkers. Or maybe even some strangers however you like to show
Speaker 1: you can send us your next question, piece of feedback or salute by email to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463
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Speaker 1: Our show is edited by Kris Albertine, an assistant produced by Bridget Dowd. Thanks. Thanks
Speaker 2: Brigitte.