Mixed Expectations

by admin on April 1, 2015

Reading about your double booked dinner guests reminded me of a similar sticky situation.

Having relocated across the country, we found we were only two hours from some old friends of ours. We hadn’t seen them in years but had sort of kept in touch with Christmas cards and social media. They’d always been great company, and we were delighted when they suggested we come over for dinner on a Saturday night. Given the length of the drive, and the fact we might have a glass or two (!), they offered to put us up for the night.

The dinner was splendid. They’d invited several local friends who turned out to be great company, the food and wine were superb and all in all, a great success.

We were the only couple staying overnight, and when we came downstairs the next morning it was obvious the hosts had gone to a lot of trouble for us – freshly baked bread, poached eggs, home made jams, all delicious. We sat and ate and chatted, all agreeing what a great time we’d had and, now that we lived close by, we could do this more often. By now it was drifting into late Sunday morning, so we started to say our goodbyes and thanks, and to make a move.

This is where it went slightly wrong. The hosts were dismayed. It turns out they’d planned an extravagant lunch for us as well. The fridge was still packed with delicious food, more than they could eat. They’d planned for us to spend the whole day with them, lunch and tea, and head off in the evening. We hadn’t expected that, and had made plans for the afternoon.

They were a bit put-out, we were a bit embarrassed, but what could we do? Fortunately the awkwardness subsided into a profusion of apologies and promising to stay longer next time. We left in a cloud of only slightly strained goodwill and bonhomie.

It’s clear there was a difference in our expectations, and it’s not going to ruin our friendship. But I’m wondering what other people’s expectations would have been? Should I have made it clear that, though we were pleased to stay the night, It didn’t mean we’d be spending the next day with them? If you’re invited to dinner, and to stay the night, is lunch automatically included? 0206-15

 

What a treasure to have friends whose hospitality is quite generous!

Upon accepting an invitation to be a house guest, I find it helpful to be upfront in my communication to inform my hosts when I will be arriving and departing if the invitation appears to be rather open ended.   It then gives them the opportunity to appeal for you to stay longer.

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It’s Still Begging And It’s A Problem

by admin on March 31, 2015

I have a friend who, many years ago, moved across the country. We were out of touch for a while but now remain in sort of contact through Facebook. We’ll message each other, the rare phone call here and there, etc.,  messages of support, “remember when” calls/messages. That type of thing. I saw that she had set up a funding plan for a used truck. Good for her but I didn’t click on anything. Late last night I got a personal message asking if I could help. I was taken aback. I didn’t like someone pressuring me to send money for a truck. This morning, I went back, clicked on the”story” and read more about it. I felt that her story had merit, so I donated a small amount. Am I wrong to still resent the pressure tactic? After all, it prompted me to check her story further and it seemed a worthy enough cause. I also have no problem with people making an appeal via Facebook at large. 0215-15

It’s begging regardless of how it is packaged.   It’s one thing when friends take the initiative to combine their resources to financially assist another friend in trouble. It’s entirely another thing when someone goes begging from friend to friend to acquire material assets or money they should be working for themselves.  The question that comes to mind is, have I been befriended for the worth of my character and friendship or the worth of my bank account ?   It’s hard to ascertain which is which when a begging hand is extended in your direction.  If you did not donate, would that end the relationship or seriously restrain it?   (In many cases, yes, it will.)

Just prepare yourself because I very much doubt this will be the last time your friend hits you up for money.

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The Baby Shower That Came With A Bill

by admin on March 30, 2015

Last year I was invited to a “gift card” baby shower. According to the emailed invitation, it was hosted by the daddy-to-be’s sister and the mother-to-be’s friend at a modestly priced restaurant over the brunch hour.

There were about 15 of us in total, including the guest of honour, and the baby’s two grandmothers. We were seated at a series of pushed together tables at the back of the restaurant, but not in a private section, so lots of other patrons around us. The cards and little bags we brought were put into a corner for safety and not acknowledged at all. There were three tiny balloons on little stands on top of the set of tables as “decoration”.

We all ordered our breakfasts from the regular menu and basically just chatted for about an hour or so. No games, no special menu, no speech from the mother-to-be, nothing at all.

At the end of the meal, the waitress came around and handed out individual bills for each of us. My jaw probably hit the floor at that point, but what could I do? At that point in time, the two grandmothers “fought” over the mother-to-be’s bill because she had also been presented with a bill! I quietly paid for my breakfast, wished the mother-to-be luck and left.

What could I have done? I definitely feel like a bait and switch had been pulled on me. When an event is hosted, doesn’t that mean that they are paying for the guests to eat? Had I known I would have been paying my own way I would have declined, or at least decreased the dollar amount of my very generous gift card. 0324-15

I hate to say it but in this day and age, I think it is wise to presume people are rude boors and go prepared to pay your own way.    If the hosts actually pay for the meals, it will be a delightful and unusual surprise.

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Get On Your Ehell Soapbox

by admin on March 30, 2015

I apologize for the dearth of posts lately.   I got slammed with two large and time sensitive projects and as regular readers know, Ehell.com can take a back seat to my real life events.

I’ve been thinking for some time about opening access to the “soapbox” to regular contributors who would like the opportunity to express their own thoughts on particular topics of manners and etiquette.   So, here is your chance.    Submit your final version of a blog post you would like to see published on etiquettehell.com to either the comments section of this post or to the Submissions link HERE.   Be sure to label your submission as being for blog publication and give it a title.   This is not an opportunity to rant or whine about some rude behavior you experienced at the hands of boors but should be a thoughtful, cogent, well written treatise regarding cultural trends, civility, business professionalism, etc.   Please note that Ehell does not and will not deal with the rather complicated issues of sex etiquette so don’t even bother wasting yours and my time writing about the subject.

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“This Stall Is Occupied!”

by admin on March 24, 2015

I work in a large law office. We have a cleaning staff on retainer, and the lady who cleans on our floor is very sweet, but this morning I saw a side of her that left me feeling very weird, and I don’t know whether I should say something to our facilities manager or not.

I was in the ladies’ room, in the stall farthest from the entry door. The cleaning lady came in (I actually do know her name but would rather not use it here), checked the first three stalls for whatever reason (stocking toilet paper, probably) and when she reached the stall I was in, she pulled on the door handle and of course couldn’t get the door open because I had locked it. I am certain she saw me go into the ladies’ room, because I saw her get off the elevator and head toward the restrooms just as I arrived there, and we waved to each other.

Now, most people would either (a) assume someone was in the stall and just go away (and like I said, she saw me enter the restroom), or (b) bend over and look under the door to see if the stall was occupied. Not this lady. She actually peeked between the door and the wall and saw me sitting there!!!!

Seriously??? Who does this??? Am I overreacting, or should I mention it to someone who can quietly advise her to look under the door next time? I just feel really creeped out over this! 0323-15

The first time she pulled on the door handle I would have said (and have said in real life), “Hello?   This stall is occupied!”    Then if the person peeks through the cracks of the door or peers under or over the stall door, that is intrusive and rude.   And I don’t think it is wrong to stare them right back with a sharp, “Mind your own business!”

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Feel Good Friday – Saved By Her Calling

by admin on March 20, 2015

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