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Newport Manners + Etiquette: When A Good Friend Defriends You

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Facebook Etiquette Dos +Don'ts. Is it taboo to talk about money with friends? Wedding etiquette and the rehearsal dinner. The new wife's role at his ex-wife's funeral. March madness questions to Didi Lorillard about money taboos and feeling slighted, all at NewportManners.

Why do friends defriend on Facebook?

Dear Didi,

Someone who I thought was a good friend defriended me on Facebook. I have no idea why. This isn't the first time someone whom I assumed was my friend defriended me. What am I doing wrong? J.W., Providence

Dear J.W.,

Ordinarily I would say, 'sorry for your loss,' but as you mentioned, you might be doing something wrong. Such as being annoying. Before you make a comment on Facebook ask yourself the following, is this status update you contemplate making:

1.) Too personal to share?
2.) Boasting that you lost ten pounds cycling forty miles?
3.) A photo of the meal you are about to eat?
4.) Inviting friends to a game on a virtual farm?
5.) A daily photo of your cute child's step-by-step progress?
6.) A checker-inner to say you've just ordered a pitcher of beer?
7.) Spamming your event?
8.) Self-promoting your business?
9.) Over-sharing the minutiae of your life—you just nicked your finger gouging the pit out of an avocado and you're bleeding?
10.) Necessary? Are you compulsively liking, sharing and commenting on too many posts too often?

In the real world, authentic human connections are made one-on-one, face-to-face, so get out and socialize. ~Didi

Is talking about money taboo?

Dear Didi,

In our posse of forty-something gals who have grown up together and meet once a month for dinner, some of us have much higher salaries than others. One is a social worker, another a teacher, a few own their own business, and a couple are high-paid executives. Is it still taboo to talk about money with friends? C.M., Manhattan

Dear C.M.,

No, it is no longer poor etiquette to talk about money. It is old-fashioned to have a taboo about discussing money with friends. When guys get together they talk about money. With friends it is important to understand expectations. You don't want to embarrass your BFF by giving her a Christmas gift more expensive than the one she gave you. Nor do you want to embarrass your friends by suggesting you all meet in St. Barts, when some couldn't afford Virginia Beach. Even during a simple night out at your local, you may notice that someone is only having a side salad and nursing two beers, while the rest of you are eating salmon teriyaki, lamb chops and steak, and guzzling French wine. If this happens, don't split the check equally. Encourage everyone to pay their own way by asking for separate bills.

By the way, women should feel comfortable talking about money with their partners as well. If you can't talk to your good friends about money, are you comfortable bringing up the subject with your partner? According to The New York Times, March 26, 2013, "The No. 1 reason couples fight: finances." You may want to rehearse. ~Didi

Planning the Rehearsal Dinner

Dear Didi,

First, do you send invites to the rehearsal dinner? Then if we do, and the groom's parents are divorced, do we include the new wife's name? Father-of-the Groom, Milton, MA

Dear FOG,

Yes, you would send separate invitations for the rehearsal dinner, because not everyone invited to the wedding is automatically invited to the dinner the night before the wedding. The exception would be if it is a destination wedding for the guest. Then it is a matter of being hospitable and inviting as many out-of-towners as possible.

When the father-of-the-groom has remarried, then it is perfectly acceptable and, in fact, correct that the groom's father and stepmother, as a couple, do the inviting with or without the groom's mother and her partner. If they all get along, then of course the mother's name can be on the invitation with her approval. In that case, the invite would go something like this; using your own names and centered on the card you can make it more casual as needed:

Mrs. Elizabeth Mortimer Wilson
Mr. and Mrs. William Cabot Wilson
cordially invite you to
the rehearsal dinner for
Catherine Maloney and William Wilson, Jr.
Friday, May 16th
The Sky Bar
Clarke Cooke House
Bannister's Wharf

RSVP [email protected]
Jackets Required

Tradition calls for the groom's parents to give the rehearsal dinner. 'Parents' includes step parents. More than likely, if the groom's parents don't get along, then the former wife wouldn't want to be listed as a host. But the groom's mother would still be invited and given the option of attending the rehearsal dinner. Vice versa if the groom's mother was hosting. The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to introduce the family members and close friends of the wedding couple to one another. ~Didi

Second wife at ex-wife's funeral

Dear Didi,

My husband's ex-wife has died. She was in a new relationship and all of us got along. My step children, with whom I am very close, know that we will be attending the funeral. It has been left to me to tend to the youngest grandchild during the service as I am Grandma to all my husband's grandchildren. The kids are buying a flower arrangment just from 'the family' and asked my husband to fill out a little accompanying card, as the rest are doing. My husband says that I am 'not family' and only he may sign the card, which he appears to regret having said, but refuses to change his mind or even acknowledge my position. I am keeping my mouth shut about my personal feelings, but I do feel that I have been slighted. As he is now my husband, he no longer belongs to the family of the deceased either and it seems this is a slight to the new partner of the deceased, too. I thought it would have been appropriate to sign my name as well or for us to have sent flowers of our own. Can you tell me what would be appropriate? L.T., Bryn Mawr, PA

Dear L.T.,

Send your own flowers and card. Let's look at the big picture here. This funeral is all about your husband's former wife. I don't know what went down and why their marriage went south, so this is a very general answer.

The purpose of a funeral is to allow the next of kin and the closest relatives and friends to grieve together with a sense of camaraderie. Your husband was married to the deceased long enough to have a bunch of kids. They have history. It is only natural that he feels territorial about that history. Let your husband mourn his former wife. They may once have been very much in love but grew apart. In his own time and in his own way your husband will come full circle through his grief. My best advice is to stay in the background and be helpful. I want you to go up the ladder here. Be a good role model for his children and grandchildren. Your husband's former wife is dead, and he is your husband.

This was, and still is, one of his two families. They will always be a part of him. But he has moved on and now he is married to you. Appreciate that and support your husband while he's going through the mourning process. ~Didi

We like hearing from you at NewportManners.com and if we use your question, we're happy to post it anonymously. Your important queries help other readers make better choices. Didi researches contemporary etiquette and all matters of manners. Or you can ask them on Didi Lorillard's Facebook page or Twitter. Earlier GoLocalProv columns are listed below or can be accessed by a search.


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