February 13 2013

From playing party host to dining out and graciously accepting gifts, social events require a certain level of decorum, no matter how casual they may seem. Common courtesy is worth the effort: invites to the next dinner party and girls’ night out will flow in; you’ll find yourself being showered compliments about your fabulous hosting skills; and your thoughtful thank you notes will score you big points with friends and family. So go on, put your manners out there for all to see!

WY?’s Social Saviours 

Q. It was my birthday but I don’t have time to send out individual thank you cards. Is it okay to opt for a group email or text message?

A. No, this is not okay. If you don’t have time to send a handwritten thank you note, at least send individual emails or text messages. These are still only borderline acceptable but are far better than a group message! For wedding or expensive gifts, handwritten notes should still be used. It’s worth putting in the extra time to say thanks if it keeps everyone happy.

Q. When I’m out to dinner with my friends, they always leave their phones on the table and answer any texts and incoming calls. I think it’s rude, but am I being unreasonable?

A. Unless your friends are waiting on an important phone call, there is no excuse to have your phone on the table. Ancient man (or even us ten years ago!) didn’t need mobile phones to survive a social outing, and neither should we. Make a light-hearted joke to your friend about their inability to be without their phone and see if they accept the challenge. It’s sneaky and they will never know you dislike it!

Q. I want to have a party but don’t want to provide alcohol. Is it impolite to ask guests to bring their own alcohol?

A. Depends on your age and the event. For a 21st it is customary that some drinks will be provided, but it is not rude to have a bar tab limit or to choose the drinks included. At a wedding, an open bar is expected. For a casual party within someone’s home, it is fine to ask people to bring their own. Put the event into perspective; if people have spent money in order to attend your event, this should gauge the amount of alcohol you provide in return.