DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is an appropriate delay between the time one arrives at a friend’s home and asking for their WiFi password?
GENTLE READER: It is considered polite to say hello first.
If you are a houseguest, you may ask during orientation — right after you have been told where the coffee is in case you get up early, and how many times you need to jiggle the handle on the toilet to get it to work.
But if you are there for a meal or other short visit, Miss Manners wonders why you need to know. Oh — you are expecting an emergency? Then why are you gadding about, instead of preparing for it?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am troubled as to how I can formally “inform” friends of my sister about my upcoming wedding without specifically inviting them to attend the actual ceremony — just as an FYI, in hopes to receive a gift.
I know that the intent should not be only to receive a gift; however, my sister (who is much older than I) has friends whose children are my age, and my sister has given financially to their children for several years over the course of their lives for other events, such as graduations, school fundraisers, communions, showers, etc.
I, personally, do not have a relationship with my sister’s friends, but they know of me and have met me on limited occasions. Is there a “polite” way in which to accomplish an “information only” invitation?
As an added note, the wedding is located out of state, and more than likely most of her friends may not expend the cost to attend.
GENTLE READER: Unfortunately, duty requires Miss Manners to inform you that there is such a thing as a wedding announcement, which is sent immediately after the marriage takes place, its purpose being to inform people who may (or in your case may not) be pleased simply to hear of the marriage.
Happily, duty also enables Miss Manners to keep telling people that wedding announcements, and, for that matter, invitations that are declined, do not require sending presents.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have to sit through quite a few recitals/concerts/performances of my children and their peers during the school year. Sometimes I will bring something to keep me busy before and, yes, sometimes during these performances (usually a crossword puzzle).
I take great pains to make sure this is done as unobtrusively as possible (no crinkling of papers, etc.). In fact, other than the people directly behind me or on my side, I am quite confident no one even knows I am doing this. Plus, I always make it a point to applaud when appropriate and pay attention to what is happening on the stage. Is this considered rude or not?
GENTLE READER: It is true that etiquette, unlike law, ignores victimless infractions of its rules. If, indeed, no one knows the lengths to which boredom drives you, Miss Manners would not call it rude.
However, she regrets to tell you that the lady sitting next to you is the aunt of the child performing, and the gentleman behind you is the grandfather. She therefore recommends passing the time woolgathering like everyone else.