Modern Manners + Etiquette: Wedding Invitations + More
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
During presentations everyone is on their electronic device and I don't know if they're engaged in what I'm presenting or not. They all seem very busy. Are they taking notes or checking their social media? How can I be assured that they are paying attention to the presentation and get them to join in the conversation more? E.W., North Providence
The publisher Condé Nast has just the application for you that can be downloaded free of charge. It's called Idea Flight. You can upgrade to pilot privileges ($7.99) and "pilot" the meeting. By making sure that everyone at the meeting has the app on their iPad, you—the pilot—control the presentation that shows up on everyone's Wi-Fi connected tablets. All those present have to have downloaded the app in order to be able to view it on their tablet screen during your presentation. Believe it or not, you just might find that when you use Idea Flight for your next presentation people will be on the same page at the same time. In the end, you'll know by the number of questions you answer who was engaged and who wasn't. ~Didi
How do I get rid of something annoying that I can't chew or don't want to swallow, such as a piece of gristle or an olive pit, and do it like a gentleman? H.R., Providence
Basically, it's easy. What you put into your mouth with your fingers, such as an olive, you retrieve from your mouth with your fingers. A piece of gristle that entered the mouth by means of a fork, would return to the plate with the aid of a fork.
The gentlemanly way to handle getting rid of something in your mouth you don't wish to swallow goes like this: A right-handed person would take their napkin in their left hand and gently tent their mouth with it while the right hand discretely moves the fingers or utensil from the mouth to the side of the plate where the annoyance is left in peace. While swiftly maneuvering the retrieval, one's natural inclination is to lean slightly back with your head gently bowed to the right. Obviously, a left-handed person would handle the recovery the opposite.
Tenting the napkin is a discrete way of disguising what you're doing. You could be silencing a sneeze or muffling a cough. When other diners see your body pulling back into a soft bend to the right, they instinctively—and politely—look the other way because they think you are about to either sneeze or cough.
How to tent your napkin: Depending upon the size of the napkin, you would have folded it—while your napkin was still in your lap—into a loose square or rectangle not much larger than the size of your hand so that you can tent it over your nose and mouth while you release the unwanted irritant from your mouth into your fingers or onto your fork. ~Didi
When it's nice out I meet two professional friends who work near me and we have lunch at a picnic table and talk once a week. Last week despite the fact that I asked one of them to stop using her iPhone while we were talking, she continued texting and taking calls. I mentioned it again and she got up and walked off in a huff. Now I'm wondering what to do because the other friend is probably mad at me too. Should I call them to explain why I think it's rude to always be on the phone while we're having lunch? Neither of them mentioned meeting for lunch next week and I'm not sure what to do. (name and address withheld)
It sounds as though this is a very informal once a week lunch at a picnic table, possibly the only time during the workday that your friend can use her smartphone to catch up on her plans for the evening or text the babysitter to remind her of some detail. Try to find out what's going on in her life that is so urgent. If she's in the middle of some drama or crisis, she could probably use a friend to pull the information out of her and help her resolve the situation. Maybe all those texts were actually about trying to find someone to act as a sounding board.
One never really ever knows what is going on in other people's lives, so it is best not to judge and instead try to be helpful. Why not call the bolter to ask if everything is all right? If she asks why, then say you were concerned at lunch that she might need to talk. She'll either ignore you, tell you it's none of your bloody business or perhaps you can eek it out of her. If she asks, "Why do you think anything's wrong?" remind her that she seemed distracted at lunch and annoyed when she walked off and you just wanted to make sure that nothing was wrong. Express a sincere concern for her without being judgmental or condescending. At the very least, she'll know you're trying to be a good friend and there's nothing wrong with that.
End by saying you hope to see her at lunch next week and then be sure to say goodbye first because you've initiated the call—therefore you're responsible for ending it in a timely fashion. Unless of course the flood gates open and the problem unfolds. It's your call as to whether you want to focus on tightening the friendship or letting it slide. Whichever, just remember that the sooner you close the communication gap the better, because the wider the gap the harder it is to bridge. ~Didi
Yesterday my fiancée and I sent out 150 wedding invitations. Today we received six of the stamped, self-addressed reply envelopes back from the post office open with no reply card inside. The envelopes look as though they got caught in a machine. We noticed when we were stuffing the outside envelopes that some of the reply card envelopes had little or no glue, but luckily we had extras with glue. We went to the post office and were told that the return envelopes must have fallen out of the wedding invitation envelope because the glue hadn't stuck, but they couldn't help us further. Does this mean we need to reorder and resend the invitations to make sure everyone gets theirs'? We can't wait until the reply card cutoff date, four weeks from now, to know who did and who didn't get their invitation. C.L., Scituate
First off, call a close family member or friend on your guest list and ask them to let you know immediately when they receive their invitation. It is quite possible that only six invitations had the problem with the glue not sticking. Within a week you should have received back in the mail all the reply card return envelopes that came unglued. If you do have to resend the invitation, be sure to number your guest list and write that corresponding number (in small numbers) on the bottom left corner of the back of the reply card envelope so you know exactly who didn't receive their invitation should some happen to become unglued again. By the way, when the invitation itself is a thick flat card it is entirely possible that the weight of the card and the force of the postal machine put too much pressure on the glue. Attaching a simple yet elegant sticker on the wedding envelope flap would be a prudent safety mechanism for a heavy wedding packet. ~Didi
Didi Lorillard researches shifting etiquette at NewportManners.com where she answers questions about all matters of wedding etiquette, relationships, entertaining, manners, and dress codes. Find Didi on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, after you've read her prior GoLocalProv columns listed below.
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