- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
More copies of this ISBN
Emily Post on Etiqueby Elizabeth Post
Synopses & Reviews
"Q."" My parents are divorced and unfriendly to one another. I am at a loss to know how to include everyone in special events such as my children's birthdays and holidays. How do I know which one to invite? When they both invite us for the same holiday, what do I do so that I don't hurt either one's feelings? They make me feel that I'm abandoning them. We also have my husband's parents to consider."
A. Your sensitivity is admirable, but your priority is with your own family and the creation of holiday traditions that will become your children's own. You cannot make your parents' hostile relationship your problem. Be frank with each, telling them that you want special times to be relaxed and happy for your children. This means that you cannot spend Christmas, for example, driving to one's home and then the other's, and then to your husband's parents. Consider taking turns celebrating an event on its real date with one, and then have a second celebration on another day with the other.
Do not allow them to put you in the middle. Remind them that you love them both but insist that your children be able to spend time with "all" their grandparents in peace, happiness, and harmony.
Assuming that both your parents are otherwise lovely people, ask your in-law's if your mother or father could be invited to a holiday celebration at their house.
For those once-in-a-lifetime events that cannot be duplicated (a christening, graduation, recital, or wedding) ask your parents if, for the sake of their grandchildren, they couldn't "bury the hatchet" for that day so both could be present.
"Q."" My ex-husband and I live in the same town. Our son lives with me, but hisstepmother, who has children from a previous marriage, is involved in the same school activities. Her children use their father's last name while her last name is the same as my son's and mine. How do we avoid confusion?"
A. There is no way to avoid confusion except by explaining. Eventually, people will figure out who's who. When someone unfamiliar with your situation gets confused, simply say, "Timmy is my son. His father is now married to Sally Anderson. Her children are Janet and Jackie Smith."
"Q."" I have been married for less than a year. My husband has a fourteen-year-old son from a previous marriage. I think we have established a good relationship. He has a mother who lives nearby. I'm not sure what my role is supposed to be with her. We do meet every so often. Do you have any advice?"
A. Good manners dictate that you are at least civil and polite, at most friendly. Good sense dictates that you don't discuss the state of your marriage. As for your stepson, don't give unsolicited advice, although you could offer help: "I know Jason has an orthodontist appointment on Friday. . . would it help if I drove him?" If your stepson lives with her most of the time, you can ask her advice about when he visits with you. Questions about his regular bedtime, a curfew she has established, medical care, or other things having to do with her house rules would reassure her that you respect her philosophy and are seeking to support it. Naturally, you would share any discussions of this nature with your husband.
"Q."" Whom do you tell about a divorce?"
A. Tell those to whom it makes a difference. Tell your parents and close family and good friends. Tell your business associates onlyif they are good friends. Tell the landlord or superintendent and doorman if one of you is keeping the apartment. At times it is necessary to tell doctors and dentists if your children's bills are to be sent to the parent not in custody of the children, and it is wise to notify the school office and your children's teachers. It is important that they know of any situation that may have an impact on your children's behavior and school performance. Otherwise, it is not necessary to tell anyone. The situation will become public knowledge very quickly when one member of the couple moves out. The one who moves may have change-of-name and -address cards printed, and of course his or her Christmas cards will serve as announcements. A note may be added to them: "As you can see, Bob and I are divorced. Hope to hear from you at my new address."
Under no circumstances should printed divorce announcements be sent out. It is in the worst of taste.
"Q."" What name does a divorced woman use?"
A. A divorced woman does not continue to use her husband's first name and is addressed as Mrs. Margaret Thune, not Mrs. Andrew Thune.
"Q."" Does a married woman's name differ from the form a widow uses?"
A. No. A woman who is currently married and a widow generally use the same form, "Mrs. George Yost." A widow may use her first name if she wishes, but then she may be mistaken for a divorc e. Many older women prefer to continue using their husband's name.
"Q."" Besides one's parents who should be told about a living-together relationship?"
A. Relatives need be informed of your new situation in life only as they are involved with your life: siblings whom you see or correspond with--yes;aunts, uncles, and cousins with whom you are in close contact--yes; but the "funeral and wedding relations"--no need.
Of course you tell the friends you see frequently and those to whom you write often. In short, tell anybody who will meet your partner on more than a casual basis and anyone with whom you regularly share the news of your life. You need not announce your relationship to business associates unless you see them socially, but if it comes up in conversation, do not hide it.
It is a good idea to tell the letter carrier that Victor Mangin or Susan Gleason will also be receiving mail at your address from now on. There is no need for further explanation.
Tell your landlord, the superintendent, and the door attendant if you have them, so that they will treat your new roommate as another tenant, not as a visitor.
Unless you know your neighbors well there is no need to say anything to them, other than a casual introduction if you meet. Nor is there any need to alert local shops. When your partner orders something to be delivered, the address given will be adequate.
"Q."" What do you call your living-together partner?"
A. I have come to the conclusion that the best form of introduction is to use no word of definition at all. Merely say, "This is Natalie Desreyaud," or "I'd like you to meet Chet Nevins." It is simply not necessary to indicate the relationship between two people when you are at a gathering where relationships make little difference. In a small group where who relates to whom has more importance, all you need add to the introduction is "the man (or woman) I live with."
"Q."" It has been a long time since I have been on a date. Now that I am singleagain, I need a refresher course on who pays for what, or whether I should just pay my own way, and on whether I can issue an invitation or must wait to be asked."
A. Fortunately, dating etiquette has changed. Women don't have to sit by the phone hoping someone will call, and men don't have to carry the entire financial burden. When two people meet and sense that they would like to spend more time together, either may initiate a date. As to who pays, the guidelines are the same as they would be for two friends of the same gender. When an invitation is worded "would you have dinner with me on Saturday night?" the person inviting expects to pay, whether male or female. When two people decide, jointly, to buy tickets to an event or to meet for a meal, each would pay his or her own way, unless one insists on the other being his or her guest.
If a relationship develops and one feels that
In this revised edition of the bestselling Emily Post on Etiquette (80,000 copies sold), Mrs. Post answers the most commonly asked questions about etiquette at home and on the job.
In this revised edition of the bestselling guide, Ms. Post answers the most commonly asked questions about etiquette at home and on the job. From addressing a business letter to making an introduction to setting a formal table, this straightforward, practical guide covers it all. Line drawings.
About the Author
Elizabeth L. Post, granddaughter-in-law of the legendary Emily Post, has earned the mantle of her predecessor as America's foremost authority on etiquette. Mrs. Post has revised the classic Etiquette five times since 1965.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
Reference » Etiquette
Reference » General