WANTED: SOCIAL GRACES

The questions of life’s frustrations and concerns are easy to resolve with the right manners. Learn what our own insightful Ms. Manners, Grace Ballard recommends for invitation dilemmas at weddings, co-workers taking credit where it is not really due, and the friend with a weight loss issue.

Dear Ms. Manners,

I was just invited to a close friend’s wedding and unfortunately the invitation states, No Children, Please. As new parents, what are we to do since we really want to be there to help celebrate?

Undecided In The Dominion

Dear Conundrum In Clarksville,

I get it. When my husband and  I were married we had the same notation on the invitation. A wedding is one of the most wonderful celebrations a couple can have. The joy and excitement is overwhelming, and the planning can be as well. Invitations have long been looked upon to set the tone for what the wedding will be like. Regrettably, brief language of invitations can leave some guests, even family, feeling hurt and even unimportant. Deciphering what should be written on an invitation can be tricky, and frankly, most guests these days don’t understand how to translate what is written in plain English.

An invitation should not need to be explained, but many people feel the desire to ask for clarification from the hosts when they feel singled out. Remember the omission of kiddies have nothing to do with you, yet rather it may have been decided based on another guest or guests, or simply the couple’s desire for a more formal nuptial affair. The only way for the couple to play fair is to have the “no children” rule apply to everyone.

One of the beautiful things about a wedding is that every couple has the right to host the wedding of their dreams. Though I don’t agree that stating “No Children, Please” directly on an invitation is very tasteful, certain people do feel the need to “spell it out”. I understand your dilemma and feel for you as a new parent, especially if nursing. It is not easy for you to be away from a newborn for the hours a wedding can take from start to finish.

Even though you want to be there, I feel it is perfectly acceptable if you are not able to attend, given the circumstances. Another option would be to find a sitter, perhaps even a close family member. If the wedding is in your own city, you might consider just going to the ceremony and forgoing the reception. Remind yourself that the wedding is about them and think about sending them a note to let them know how happy you are for them and their future together.

Ms. Manners

Dear Ms. Manners,

I have a co-worker who intentionally bends the truth to work out to his advantage. He has lied about reports and appropriated his name to others’ efforts, etc. How do I handle dishonesty in the workplace?

Frustrated In A Downtown Office High Rise

Dear Rising Above It All,

One of the curiosities about a workplace is that everyone is different, and sometimes you work with people whom you may not associate with in your private life. That will never change. Many times you will adore your associates, and it can be a very lovely place to come to daily. Either way, you must remain professional.

t can be very challenging when a colleague is taking credit for things they did not do. Remember that your supervisor may not be as dense to these situations as it may seem. Simply because you do not see your co-worker being called out does not mean that your boss doesn’t take note and is not gathering information for the near future. I can understand the urge to want to swoop in heroically and bring to light your co-workers failings and serve a piece of justice in your office to help ensure it will not happen again. Remember that it is inappropriate to do so, as it is not your place, and may not serve you well in the long run in eyes of your boss and other peers. Stay positive, focus on doing the best job you can and I feel that in time, all will reveal itself ad the colleague will receive the karma that inevitably bounces back somehow.

Ms. Manners 

Dear Ms. Manners,

How should I respond when a gal pal consistently puts herself down for being overweight?

Wanting To Know In Westlake

Dear Westlake Wonderer,

Having good manners is all about being sensitive to other’s feelings. Always. You are your friend, so do not deny her feelings with a lie. That doesn’t help anyone. It might make her feel worse. When she talks about being ‘fat and gross,’ she is really saying ‘I feel bad about my weight, and it makes me feel self-conscious and helpless when I want to feel better.’ The next time she starts self deprecating herself, state in a kind, yet firm tone, “Sweetie, please don’t talk like that about yourself. Of course you are not gross. We all feel negative about ourselves sometimes.”

I do strongly recommend shying away from trying to offer specific weight loss advice unless she asks for it. Feel free to add, in the same gentle tone you used before, that you won’t listen to her denigrating herself anymore. However, if there are any other things you can do to help (exercising with her, planning healthy meals), you’re willing to lend a hand. Plus, your presence is more helpful than you know.

Ms. Manners