Color EtiquetteWe are having a Labor Day Party and worked hard on our guest list. Someone we did not invite has requested an invitation. Is there a way to politely say “no?”

Sure. No one, ever, should ask for an invitation to a private party. Therefore, it is perfectly fine to decline the request. Just say you are sorry, but you are at your guest limit this time, and while you are flattered that he would like to be there, you just can’t include him.

 

Help! I’ve been with my company for 10 years, have received awards for my work, and always have positive reviews. We have a new department chair who calls routine but frequent meetings at the last minute, for 5 p.m., when I have to leave to pick up my children from daycare. With some notice I could maybe ask a friend to get my children, but with little notice, I really have to leave. It looks bad to miss meetings, but I have no choice. What can I do?

Request an appointment with the new department head and explain your situation. If she hasn’t reviewed your record, you can mention your dedication to the company, and share your concern about having to miss meetings. Given a likely eight hours in your workday, she surely can find an earlier time for meetings that aren’t after hours, something that probably is just as annoying to your co-workers who have already put in a full day, too.

 

Should my eight-year-old call our neighbors by their first names or by Mr. and Mrs.? If the answer is the latter, at what age can a child address an adult by his or her first name?

A child never addresses an adult by his or her first name unless the adult requests it. This is true right into the child’s twenties when it continues to be most respectful to use titles. If an adult insists that small children call him or her by a first name it is up to you, as the parent, whether you agree to this. If not, simply explain that you want your children to learn to be respectful so you would prefer that they use the title Mr. or Mrs.

 

I am being interviewed for a job and I am five weeks pregnant. I need to work. Should I tell the people who are interviewing me that I am pregnant?

This is more of a legal question than one of manners, but the answer is no, you are not obligated to tell them, and really, they don’t want to know because it is illegal for them to make employment decisions based on whether or not you are pregnant. They avoid potential liability by not knowing. It is thoughtful of you to think about the potential inconvenience to a new employer when you take a childcare leave, but it is best to be hired based on your qualifications, not on your pregnancy status.

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