Q. My husband and I recently sent an indoor plant to a couple in recognition of their anniversary. We couldn’t attend their party. We had the florist deliver it to the party location. A girlfriend chastised me and said we should have sent it to their home instead so they wouldn’t have to deal with getting it back home from the party location. We didn’t think about that. We know they like plants, and it wasn’t a huge plant but a very nice one. We wanted them to know we were thinking about them while they were celebrating. Did we goof? What’s the proper thing to do in case we decide to do something like this again.
A. Your intentions and the sentiment behind having the plant delivered to the party spot were very appropriate. No doubt, the plant made them feel your presence at the event, even though you could not be there in person. It also made you feel as though you were with them in spirit for their celebration. I am certain they had no problem getting the plant back to their home.
Could you have had the plant delivered to their home prior to the celebration? Yes, of course. Would it have been appropriate? Yes. Would it have been more appropriate? No. The choice was yours, and either choice is equally appropriate.
Q. I have been a widow for over five years. I have no interest in looking for another mate or dating. This couple who have been friends for many, many years, has the idea I should be dating, and they have someone in mind for me. They want the four of us to go to dinner and the Fox Theater soon. While I love going out to dinner with friends and always enjoy going to the Fox, I am not interested in meeting another man. I appreciate the fact my friends are concerned about me and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. How do I respond?
A. Your polite response would be, “Thank you so much for the invitation. I would be delighted.” Then have a good time and enjoy the evening. Remind yourself that just because you are going out for dinner and the theater with your friends and meeting this new man, it does not mean you have to marry him. Furthermore, you are under no obligation to your friends to see him again if you choose not to do so.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Patrick Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.