Separate Thank You Notes for a Joint Gift

[Via Emily Orpin]

[Via Emily Orpin]

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

If a mother and daughter gave me a joint gift for my wedding shower, do I need to send them separate thank you notes? They live at different addresses.


Splitting My Thanks

Official Etiquette

In this situation, you would send separate thank you notes. The exception is a large group gift, such as a work team chipping in on something, you can write one note and send it to the main organizer to pass around.

Our Take

Jaya: Do you need to write a thank you for both of them?

Victoria: Yep! That was easy!

Jaya: I think so too.

Victoria: Yay, we agree!

Jaya: With the caveat that, if the daughter is like in college and likely just threw her name on the card (like I did and still do too often), a card to just the mom will probably be fine.

Victoria: Just like, if you are inviting a family of parents and kids but the kids are grown up and live on their own, they also need their own invitation.

Jaya: That’s a good rubric! If you sent separate invites, send separate thank you notes. Which made sense cause like, in college, invites to things like that got sent to my parents house.

Victoria: Oooh yessss, that is a good summation of my point!

Jaya: Yeah. God why are thank you notes so involved?

Victoria: Haha I mean, you could just send them for everything and not worry about it.

Jaya: Side note: handwritten notes are oppressive when you’ve injured yourself and can’t actually handwrite (ED: Jaya recently shaved the tip of her thumb off using a mandolin. Stay away from mandolins!). Stop being so ableist, handwritten notes.

Victoria: LOL, yes, well, I think people will understand in that case and also then your husband or partner should write them (which they should be doing anyway.)

Jaya: what if he’s come down with a terrible case of having illegible handwriting?

Victoria: Raise your sons to have good handwriting! Don’t let women to continue to carry the full burden of emotional labor!

Separate Thank You Notes for Shower and Wedding Gifts?

If I had infinite dollars, I would only buy fancy stationery.

If I had infinite dollars, I would only buy fancy stationery.

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

Do I need to write two thank you notes if a person gave me both a shower gift and a wedding gift? What if they arrived very closely together?


Doubly Thankful

Official Etiquette

Separate events, separate gifts and separate thank you notes.

Our Take

Jaya: So do you need to write two separate thank yous?

Victoria: Yep. That was easy!

Jaya: Really? I think if you’ve already received both gifts you can put them on the same note.

Victoria: Hmmm, I supppppose.

Jaya: Unless one is explicitly for the bride and one is explicitly for the couple.

Victoria: Which, technically the shower implies (Ed: Traditionally shower gifts are specifically for the bride alone). But these days its not so much.

Jaya: But if you got a towel set at the shower and a toaster in the mail a week later why shouldn’t that be both in one note?

Victoria; Haha yeah. Thats a good point. Just semantics, I guess. Two events, two notes. Like people who have birthdays close to Christmas- it’s nice to have the division.

Jaya: Right. it’s whether you see it as two events or like, all tied to one big event.

Victoria: Yeah, I mean, to an extent often, the shower is just the women, so if the woman was part of a couple, you’d be thanking her both for the gift and attending the shower. And then thanking the couple for the wedding gift.

Jaya: Umm single people give gifts too, Victoria. Jeez.

Victoria: As a single person, I know they do, lol.

Jaya: Nah I bet you’re rude and never give gifts.

Victoria: I mean, I would probably still send two, but you are also probably fine with one. I might also posssssibly change my mind depending on the age of the gift giver. Younger people probably won’t care as much as older people, so if it was like a 60 year old friend of your mom’s….then probably two notes. It’s kind of rude to do that, have different levels of thanking, but I see it more as peacekeeping.

Jaya: Ehhh, hopefully future generations understand that one note with lots of thanks in it is intent enough. That’s not politeness, that’s expected custom.

Victoria: Yeah, true. I would say, in generally, go with your gut!

Jaya: Yeah!

Victoria: If you are afraid that person is going to whine to your mom that you are the RUDEST if you don’t send two notes, send two notes, otherwise, one is probably fine. IF the gifts really did come THAT close together.

Jaya: And then maybe don’t invite them to future things.

Victoria: Haha well, politics and blah blah blah. But once you are married you probably don’t have to worry about another big event

Jaya: Good point.

Professional Email Etiquette

Bad email etiquette was MAYBE excusable in the 90s.

Bad email etiquette was MAYBE excusable in the 90s.

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

Email subjects! AHH! I hate being constantly bombarded with irrelevant, unsearchable subject terms, or emails that veer off the thread and continue. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to search for emails again or prioritize when the subject has no useful search terms and is instead, something like “favor …” Bah! Also, reply-alls, while you’re at it lol.


Disordered Inbox


Official Etiquette:

Everyone agrees! Use a clear subject line that indicates the content of the message. And use reply all only when everyone needs to receive the response.

Our Take:

Victoria: Okay, so subject lines are super important now because email is so searchable, so they need to be something that you can search easily. Like instead of “Invoice Request” it should be something like “Smith Invoice Request”

Jaya: Right. Though I tend to be more lax about this when it comes to personal emails. If I’m sending a friend a funny link I’m not like “Tumblr Humor Harry Potter Video 2015”

Victoria: Oh yeah, this is definitely more of a business email thing.

Jaya: But with invoicing it’s especially good to use your name, since those can get lost so easily. Something descriptive, but also not putting your entire email in the subject.

Victoria: Oh yeah! As a freelancer, I’m sure you come up against this a lot.

I mean, I think it also depends on the importance of the email- is this something that people are going to have to go back and reference or is it a one off that’s going to be deleted as soon as it is read?

Though i guess for some people, it’s probably more useful to get in the habit of just using good subject lines rather than trying to figure out which emails are important.

Jaya: Definitely. It’s too much hassle to try to scale your email on how important it’ll be to the recipient

So if you do it for everything it’ll be much easier.

Victoria: Yep, and even for yourself a lot of the time! But yeah, I think ultimately you just need to avoid stuff like “favor” or “request” that is suuuuper vague. Just up it to “supply order favor” or “vacation request.”

Jaya: And when it comes to reply all, oh boy. Use bcc when you can, and use reply all sparingly

Victoria: Haha yeah, I mean it also depends on company culture. We actually use reply all a LOT, but its for good reasons. And I use BCC for some very specific things. But if you aren’t specifically told to use reply all or BCC on “these types of specific emails”

then definitely decide whether it needs a reply all or not.

Jaya: Right, if everyone’s input really is needed, use reply all. And only reply with your full, thoughtful response, not a bunch of one word answers.

Victoria: And even within that, i think if you are looping people into something, then they probably only need the major details like- this report went out to this client, and then take it out of reply all to hash out the finicky details.

Jaya: Also this probably goes without saying but triple check who you send things to because too often something meant for a specific person goes to reply all.

Victoria: Hahaha yesssss.

Anything else to add?

Jaya: In general, I think pay attention to crafting an email like it were a letter. A lot of people think that because it can be shot off so quickly and easily that you don’t have to pay attention to wording.

But I’ve had so many confusing email interactions because the other person insists on not using complete sentences.

Victoria: Omg me too.

Jaya: And it just makes it more of a hassle for everyone involved.

Victoria: Especially in a business context, its like, omg you need to be clear and maybe err on the side of being a bit formal.

Especially for emails that aren’t interoffice.

Jaya: Yes! Err on formal is good advice.

Victoria: Like, for the first email, I would always start out with a salutation, whether that is Dear… or Hi… and use your signature.

And then the following ones can devolve into just jumping into the body of the message.

Jaya: Yes, no need for salutations past that. Unless you’re emailing with the Queen.

Victoria: Hahaha, as you do.

Jaya: We’ve all done it.

Victoria: Natch


How to Deal with Gross Coworkers

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

I work at a low-walled cubicle about four feet away from the office of a co-worker, whom I’ll call Mr. Mucus.  Mr. Mucus’ office has a door, which he does not close.  Mr. Mucus also spends most of the day (perhaps every 2-5 minutes) audibly hocking loogies and coughing to clear his throat.  It is beyond disgusting.

I usually put on headphones and turn up the volume, but this makes it difficult to concentrate.  How would you handle this situation without coming across as . . . snotty?  (Pun definitely intended.)

Best regards,

Grossed Out

Official Etiquette

In a similar situation, Ask A Manager has suggested trying to move away from the gross coworker. The Emily Post Institute suggests using humor if it seems appropriate.

Our Take

Jaya: I mean, when I had a full time job at a place with cubicles, people had some grossss habits but I was too much of a wimp to do anything but silently seethe.

Victoria: Yeah, me too. I mean, ultimately there isn’t that much you can do.

Jaya: Depending on office culture, you could ask him to at least close his door.

Victoria: Ooh yes, that is good.

Jaya: Or speak to HR and hope that they have a gentle way of handling this.

Victoria: Yeah. Although, a lot of times, you should try to deal with a conflict between yourself and another coworker before going to HR. So if you really want to ACT, you need to say, Joe, I’m sorry but when you spit like that, its very noisy and makes it difficult for me to concentrate. Could you please do it in the bathroom or close your door?

Jaya: That makes sense. Yeah, I think aside from headphones or asking to move desks, trying to confront him politely would be your best bet at putting an end to it.

Victoria: Yeah, depending on your HR they might tell you to just work it out yourself anyway. Since its not actually their role to mediate petty conflicts.

Jaya: Right. And that sounds like a nice way to put things, though there’s always the risk that he’ll be all sensitive about it.

Victoria: Yeah. So you have to decide how much it bothers you and if it’s worth it. And like, to an extent, how you relate on the hierarchy. If you are a lowly assistant and he’s the big boss, there is not much you can do.

Jaya: Do you think it’d be a good idea to talk to other coworkers to see if they find it annoying as well? And then have the person with the best relationship to him/higher up in the hierarchy talk about it?

Victoria: Oooh, yes, that’s a good idea. At least if you feel like you can trust them. You don’t want to get accused of gossiping and “trying to get someone” (idk, some offices are crazy).

Am I Allowed To Have A Shower If I’m Already Married?

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

My husband and I eloped about 2 weeks ago. It was a lovely, perfect day together! We are planning a small reception for family and close friends in the spring.

Two close friends of my husband’s family have just offered to throw me a shower. I’ve known these ladies for several years as well and they also hosted a shower for my husband’s sister a few years ago.

I would like to take them up on this offer, but I’m wondering if it’s gauche since we’re already married. I’ll add that my husband and I have been together nearly 6 years and lived together for just over 2, so we don’t necessarily need a lot of gifts but the thought of spending a morning with the important women in my life is quite appealing.

Thanks very much!

Sorta Wants A Shower

Official Etiquette
A lot of the bastions of etiquette don’t really mention how to have a shower after the wedding, presumably because it was Just Not Done. The point of a wedding shower is to provide the bride with token gifts for her new life and household, according to Amy Vanderbilt, so holding it after the wedding, and after they’ve already presumably received wedding gifts, doesn’t make much sense.

Our Take
Jaya: I think this question gets to the heart of hour our ideas of what a shower is and means have completely changed.

Victoria: Oh yeah?

Jaya: Just from being something done to help set up the future wife’s life, and only held by certain people, to now another excuse for a party. Because if we’re going off the traditional idea of what a shower is, then this is totally gauche. But luckily we’re not doing that.

Victoria: Yeah, it’s definitely not a done thing, technically. I think the problem with shower etiquette is it’s a party being thrown for you, so you have very little control over it.

Jaya: Which is a weird thing in itself. Because if the person of honor doesn’t want the party, you’d think people would back down, but so often that leads to hurt feelings.

Victoria: I definitely think that when you offer to throw a shower, you should definitely be prepared to hear a no. This is how we get 3-4 showers happening, it’s nuts.

Jaya: Here, it sounds like LW is totally reasonable. She wants to hang out with these women in her life, and is not wanting/expecting a registry’s worth of gifts. That’s great! She just seems worried about how it’d look.

Victoria: Yeah, I think if someone is wanting to throw it, and you want it to happen, then, go ahead.

Jaya: And you can give input on what you’re comfortable with, so it doesn’t turn into a huge thing.

Victoria: Presumably only relatively close friends and family will be invited, so it’s not like you are giving the vapors to your mom’s garden club.

Jaya: That is a fantastic image. But yeah, if the thought of spending the morning with these women sounds nice, say that! You can be like “since we’re already married and living together, a traditional shower doesn’t make sense, but a ladies brunch sounds just lovely.”

Victoria: Yeah if you feel uncomfortable with a shower, call it like, a meet the bride luncheon or something. Jinx!

Jaya: And the great part is if someone does happen to think it’s gauche, it’s not your fault! You didn’t plan it!

Victoria: Exactly! And hopefully people who think it’s inappropriate, won’t come.