Ask The Lady: Gracefully Declining When Someone Invites Themselves Along

Cherished readers, forgive the Lady for her prolonged absence.

For now, here is a question from my emails…I am slowly getting to all of my correspondence!

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I have a business acquaintance who continually hints to me that she would like to travel with me one day. Whenever I mention that I am going somewhere she starts with the broad hints. “We should travel together. I like going to ‘xyz’.” I continue to say nothing and ignore her each time. I would think that she would get the hint that I do not wish to travel with her. She is an extremely high-maintenance individual. Last year for our jobs, we were sent to St. Louis for a week and while everyone else packed all they needed in carry on bags, she packed a huge checked suitcase along with the carry ons. She is petulant and has a fit if she doesn’t get her way or things do not go as expected. The thought of being trapped in a room or a plane with her makes me cringe. How do I handle her pushiness?

Scared of Offending a Colleague

Dear Scared of Offending a Colleague,

Oh my dear, The Lady offers these thoughts as response to your email.

  1. Do you goad this woman into thinking you would be open to traveling with her?
  2. Why do you continue to share your travel plans with her? Is it to show off?
  3. Have you considered that she is lonely and looking for a friend? I am not dismissing your very valid feelings about traveling with her personally. The Lady Hooper-Brackett obviously know nothing about either of you, but generally difficult people become so from insecurity. Perhaps she wasn’t sure about her wardrobe choices being appropriate which is why she packed so much to take with her on your joint business trip.
  4. Might you ‘day trip’ to local places of interest? This would give you both the opportunity to see a new place without the time or space commitment of being in a hotel room.

The bottom line is be kind. One never knows what struggles another has. And keeping peace at work is an important goal.

Best Peaceful Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

New Year’s Diss: Why Did They Leave at 12:01?

Cherished readers, The Lady wishes you all a most Happy New Year! She was enjoying coffee and reading emails as is her habit in the morning and she found this correspondence there…sent to her at 116 AM this morning.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I had our annual New Year’s party earlier. My husband and I invited about 40 people to celebrate with us and we had the usual food and beverages available. It took a lot of work, preparation, and planning to get things set up. The party started at 7 PM and things seemed to be going well. At 1130 we started to watch the festivities in New York and anticipated the ball drop. After much to-do and the countdown and obligatory toast to the New Year…three quarters of my guests decided to leave. The time was 12:01AM! Barely a minute past midnight!!! I am quite offended but am not sure that I should be. My husband says that it was a long evening for everyone and some of our guests needed to work today, but I cannot help but feel that it is rude to up and leave so close to midnight. May I have your thoughts? 

Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation

Dear Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation,

Ah, The Lady understands your pain. The Lady also understand the pain of those who must work or those who a bit of age on them. The Lady’s mother would often entertain on New Year’s (back in the Dark Ages known as the 80s) and would have a party much as you just described. As most of the people attending the party were older folks (by older The Lady means in their 70s and 80s) it was often the case that once the ball dropped, the champagne glasses were drained, and New Year kisses shared, these people had their coats on and were headed for the door! The Lady’s mother (indeed no one) ever complained because the family had spent an enjoyable evening in their company. The Lady begs you not to feel offended. There was nothing ill-mannered in their behavior. In fact, why not begin the New Year by extending the benefit of the doubt and being happy that you were able to share the end of one year and the start of the next in good company.

Best 2018 Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Food Friday: The Etiquette of Thanksgiving Leftovers

Cherished friends, here is an interesting question asked of The Lady, but one that is sure to apply to a number of people.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

For the past six years on the day after Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law has a party at her home. She feels that since we are all not together on the holiday proper, it can be a ‘second-edition’ Thanksgiving for us. She extends invitations to about a dozen of us in the family. My question is this: Is it really  acceptable for her to heat up her Thanksgiving leftovers and serve these items to us as she has been doing? Don’t get me wrong, her cooking is wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that it is a little rude to be served leftover food.  Who is correct here?

I Don’t Like Leftovers

Dear I Don’t Like Leftovers,

The Lady admits that she has never been asked this question before, so some time was needed to come up with a thoughtful answer.

  1. The Lady believes that since she is very upfront about this being a ‘second-edition’ Thanksgiving and is inviting family only, this is perfectly fine. The Lady wonders just what else you would be eating on the day after Thanksgiving if you weren’t eating turkey and all the fixings?
  2. Your sister-in-law is being gracious by providing a venue for you all to be together after not spending the holiday proper together. Her invitation is sent from affection.
  3. What’s wrong with eating food that is wonderfully cooked?
  4. The Lady is pleased to see that she will not be discarding perfectly good food, but sharing it with you all.

The one caveat to this that The Lady will add: It never seems proper to serve leftovers in any other circumstance than this one: Invite family or extremely close friends only and be upfront.

Try to be gracious yourself, even if you do not like leftovers.

Best Leftover Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Thursday Ask The Lady: Badmouthing An Ex

Cherished readers, The Lady presents today’s question. She advises at all times to Never Call Attention To Oneself

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

Here’s my real life question. What do you think of people who bad-mouth their exes in public? 

Ex-Ex-Ex

Dear Ex-Ex-Ex,

The Lady presumes that you mean ‘ex-husbands’ ,’ex-wives’ , ‘ex-boyfriends’ or ‘ex-girlfriends’, though she assumes you could mean ‘ex-bosses’ or ‘ex-colleagues’.

The Lady has a very good piece of advice for anyone who may be tempted to spout-off publicly: DON’T.

To publicly speak ill of someone that you were once in a relationship with is bad form. The Lady understands that most people do talk about their unfortunate experiences, and there is nothing wrong keeping these conversations in the family circle or between friends. It is when you blab away to all and sundry that it becomes a social faux pas. After all, people can understand that things may not have worked out and it is always better to at least give the impression that things ended on friendly terms.

If the ex is an ex-boss, The Lady fears you will risk any future employment opportunities. People can be reluctant to hire someone for fear that they will in turn talk badly about the new boss.

Silence is Golden.

Best Ex Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Vintage Saturday: A Look At Advice from 1860

Cherished readers, The Lady came across this advice from the The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness by Florence Hartley.  The Lady believes that both of these pieces of advice still stand today. Enjoy a little look back at Conversation Advice.

Never interrupt any one who is speaking. It is very Ill-bred. If you see that a person to whom you wish to speak is being addressed buy another person, never speak until she had heard and replied; until her conversation with that person is finished. No truly polite lady ever breaks in upon a conversation or interrupts another speaker. 

It is a mark of ill-breeding to use French phrases or words, unless you are sure your companion is a French scholar, and even then, it is best to avoid them. Above all, do not use any foreign word or phrase, unless you have the language perfectly at your command. I heard a lady once use a Spanish quotation; she had mastered that one sentence alone;  but a Cuban gentleman, delighted to meet an American who could converse with him in his own tongue, immediately addressed her in Spanish. Embarrassed and ashamed, she was obliged to confess that her knowledge of the language was confined to one quotation. 

Best Vintage Memory Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett