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Mom's Choice chooses SCV-folk

'You've Got Manners': Ask Louise -- your manners questions answered

Posted: April 11, 2008 5:39 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2008 5:02 a.m.
When you hear something three times, do you feel it's worth paying attention to? That's always been a signal for me, and I take notice.

Very often, even more than three times, people have asked if I would do an Ask Louise column on manners, social situations and etiquette - sort of a twin to a Dear Abby format.

This month, that's what am doing here, and if you have questions you'd like addressed next month or later on, please e-mail them to the address below, and you'll see your concerns written here, too.

I really will enjoy hearing from you, so please consider sending in some thought-provoking mannerly questions you may have.

These are two etiquette questions that came across my computer screen last week.

Dear Louise:
I threw a slumber party for my son over Christmas break. It was a "just because" party, not a birthday. I took the boys to Johnny Rockets for dinner and then to see "National Treasure."

My husband and I paid for the dinner and the movie for the boys. All but one of the parents, knowing that we were paying, brought some sort of gift to the party. One mom brought me a plant, another brought a giant cookie for the boys, a few others brought gifts for my son, such as a T-shirt.

Should I have sent "thank you" cards to these moms, even though I paid for the dinner and movie and had the sleepover? Were the gifts vs. the party considered a wash? Or should I have sent cards, thanking them for the "thank you" gifts they brought to the party?
-- V's Mom

Dear V's Mom:
A hostess gift does not require a "thank you note." However, if you feel it is more than just a standard or typical hostess gift and if it touches you in a special way, then thanking that person is a very nice gesture.
If you think a handwritten paper note might be too much, then a friendly phone call would be a good way to convey your gratefulness.

Follow your inner voice. If you feel overly pleased, then express it to the person.

There is always room for more thanking in our world today, so any opportunity to do so is helping to create a good sense of acknowledgment and gratitude.

Dear Louise:
Recently, a woman in a networking group that I belong to opened a fashion boutique business.

I went to see the new place to congratulate her. I ended up buying something that I normally would only pay a third of the price for. She is super nice and I truly hope she succeeds. She was so excited that I supported her endeavor with my purchase, that now I am on a list for announcements and promotions. I feel bad not to continue to support her but my wallet feels even worse.

To make matters more complicated, she has offered to support me in my business endeavors at her place of business. She is having an event this week and I would like to go but I don't want to go and not buy something, and I cannot buy anything from her store, as it's way, way out of my price range.

I don't want to alienate her as a friend but I just can't handle her prices.

I am really not her typical clientele. Help! I'm torn. I don't know how to handle this!
-- MFS

Dear MFS:
Candid, honest and open feelings will always win out, and they are the easiest to deal with, in the short and long run.

With kindness and sincerity in your voice, speak to her about the price points in her store being more than your family's lifestyle and budget can manage at this time. Also, mention that as much as you would like to support her boutique yourself, you simply cannot do so now.

You can tell her how badly you feel about these circumstances, and what you can and would like to do, is to spread the word about her shop and her events, and recommend her to as many potential customers as possible.

Do let her know that even though you may not buy from her, you do admire what she has created in ambiance, style choices and customer service, and you sincerely wish to see her succeed.

Louise Elerding, personal appearance coach, is the author of "You've Got Manners!"- a series of children's books on manners. For information on Manners classes in the SCV, and to submit questions for the Ask Louise column, call 1-800-326-8953 or e-mail The Web site is


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