Reader Q&A

Reader Question: I was recently invited to dinner by my boss to celebrate my upcoming graduation from college. I have had to work while going to school, and I have a young son, so money is tight. I was happy to accept the dinner invitation. My husband planned to stay home with our son to help limit the money spent. However, my boss recently decided to change restaurant locations, and we truly cannot afford the new restaurant. I know that, per etiquette, I shouldn’t decline once I have accepted an invitation. I can’t put my family in financial harm, though. Is there an exception to the rule since the game was changed? Thank you!

Answer: Absolutely. First and foremost, congratulations on your upcoming graduation! You can tell by your letter that you have your priorities straight, and I truly admire that. The rule of not changing your response when accepted is for times when it’s simply that something more appealing comes up. In truth, your boss should treat you to dinner since the dinner is to celebrate you. You are the guest of honor. It it completely acceptable to let him/her know that the new restaurant choice isn’t in the family budget but that you appreciate his support of your graduation. He/she may affirm their intent to pay for your meal. If not, they may at least change back to the original location. I appreciate your question, as it helps highlight the importance of everyone (your boss, in this case) knowing how etiquette plays a role

As an aside, I think it is very important to highlight the importance understanding etiquette plays in not putting someone in an awkward situation. I encourage wording such as, “I would love to treat you to dinner to celebrate…” in order to let the other person know your intent, as, unfortunately, not everyone knows that when they invite someone to dinner, they should also pay.

Gracious Guests and Helpful Hosts

We’re entering that time of year where people often spend more time celebrating various holidays with friends and family. While this should lead to enjoyment, it can often lead to disaster – which brings me to today’s Top 5 post.

Today’s Top 5 has a list for both guests and hosts to do (or to not do) in order to enjoy holidays more.

The lists were compiled after a reader asked if it was okay to host a potluck Thanksgiving. My answer: it absolutely is, provided that all expectations are clearly defined to your guests in the beginning.

Enjoy!

Guests Top 5:

  • Show up on time
  • Offer to bring something to share
  • Bring a hostess gift
  • Help clean up after the meal
  • Don’t overstay your welcome

Hosts Top 5:

  • Set out clear expectations of your guests
  • Have most items prepped before guests arrive
  • Have yourself fully dressed and ready to celebrate by the time guests arrive
  • Delegate tasks to your guests if help is offered
  • Always be gracious and welcoming to your guests