About Gwyn

After fielding the unanswered etiquette questions for friends over the years, and stumbling through more than my share of etiquette conundrums, it’s time to put pen to paper and see if the world is ready for answers to our everyday questions.

I am a firm believer that etiquette is not as much about the rules as it is about making company feel comfortable. My responses will always keep this in mind; and hopefully you’ll find that The Etiquette Spot is a place where you can ask those unanswered questions and get a little help navigating life with a few less blunders.

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Here are my most recent posts

Fashionable Friday | Birchbox Monthly Beauty

BirchboxThere is a fabulous trend right now, boxes of samples send to your home every month.  There are themes to each box, natural food snacks, puppy treats adn toys, and my personal favorite: Birchbox, a box of beauty samples that arrive to your home. I’m not sure what I love most, the range of samples I would never seek out on my own, the monthly spa like treatment I receive.

Whether you are looking for new suggestions to change up your beauty routine or a pre-wedding gift for a friend, consider Birchbox for a bit of guiltless indulgence.

Tip(sy) Thursday

Makeup-in-PublicWho doesn’t like to look her best? When you make the effort to put on makeup in the morning, before a date or a big night out, it is nice to keep up our appearnace.

A “fresh face” can add confidence and even sets the tone of the events we are attending. If you do use makeup though, there is no reason to shatter the mystique by freshening up your makeup in public.

If you need to touch up your makeup, keep the momentum of your event going distraction free, and take a moment to setp aside and do so in private.

How do I ask for a seat on Southwest that someone is saving for a friend at the back of the line?

Reserved-SeatsIf you aren’t already familiar, Southwest Airlines has a unique, some say revolutionary, way to board their planes: there are no assigned seats. Rather, Southwest Airlines uses a first-come first-served basis to selecting seats. Of course, first-come is based on your flight status, whether you are traveling with children, if you active military…you get to board at the beginning. Then rest of the travelers board according to how quickly they checked in 24 hours prior to the fight.

Now personally as an A type personality and anxious flier I strongly dislike this system. Just let me pick my seat when I book my flights and let’s be done with it!  But, when I am traveling on Southwest I take advantage of the system, check in as early as possible, and try to nab a window seat.

You may think that the system is brilliant, but there is one major downfall: seat savers. You know who you are. You place an extra coat for your friend or spouse at the back of the line. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Often the seat saver is reserving a middle seat which will be the last to be selected anyway. However, when the seat saver is taking a window or aisle in addition to his or her own window or aisle, this is not playing by the Southwest rules.

If you are picky about your seats and are flying Southwest, don’t fret.  When you board the plane in the high A’s or low B’s (Southwest’s numerical system for boarding) and you see that the few remaining window or aisle seats are being “reserved” do not hesitate to speak up.

  • First, ask if the seat is available. This helps to clarify in case the person sitting there merely stepped into the restroom.
  • If the seat is reserved and you don’t feel that there is another acceptable available seat, simply let the other traveler know that you will be choosing the seat instead of the back of the line C-40 friend that did not set calendar reminders, alarms, and triple check that he or she had full service wifi at the exact moment check-in begins.
  • Finally, speak up politely but firmly, “It’s nice of you to save a seat for your friend, but because I am boarding ahead of your friend, I would like to take that seat. Perhaps your friend will be comfortable in the middle seat or will find another window or aisle seat in a different portion of the plane. Thank you.”

After all, if you are going to be subjected to gambling on your seat, you get to use the system as it was intended and pick your seat when your turn comes.

Tip(sy) Tuesday

Belch Burp EtiquetteOk it happens, people belch. Ideally this is not intentional, but intentional or not, it does occur. Hopefully, the offendor at least has he etiquette knowledge and decency to appoloize and excuse himself or *gasp* herself. When this doesn’t happen you are in every right, nay, it is your duty to apologize for the offensive burp.

Gentle indicator: “Oh, excuse you.”

Truly foul: “That was quite rude. Next time please keep your burp to yourself. Thank you.”

Feel free to stomp away.

How do I get money back from a friend without ruining our friendship?

Money and FriendsDear Gwyn,

I lent my friend money a few months ago.  We both agreed that she would pay me back and that it was ok to remind her. Now it has been six months and I could really use the money back. I don’t want to pester her, and I don’t want to ruin our friendship. How can I get my money back from my friend without ruining our friendship?

We rely on friendships for so much more than just a companion for tea.  A good friend is by your side through life, the good and the bad. And when a friend is in need we want to do everything in our means to help our friends; including when our friends are in need of money.  When you lend a friend money, how do you get money back from a friend?

Let’s hope that you lent money within your means. As much as we want to help our friends, it seems that lending money to friends never ends well.  Here are a few ways to make collecting your money easier.

  1. Redefine the Agreement: Hopefully you set up an agreement, including a timeframe, with your friend when you first lent the money. Regardless, set or reset the terms which should include payment schedule, final payment and the interest if applicable.
  2. Remind Your Friend: Do not be afraid to remind your friend that he or she owes your money. If the sum was a large financial burden to loan, you may choose to remind your friend more frequently.  Remember to be polite but firm provided that you are working within the terms of your agreement.
  3. Choose the Tone of Your Relationship: Hopefully, you and your friend are able to maintain your relationship, afterall that is why you were able to make the loan. However, know your boundaries. If ever you feel that your friend is taking advantage of you, think about if the friendship is worth the headache and heartache to continue. In the worse case scenario, you may need to leave your money or friendship.
  4. Do Not Lend Additional Money. Period.

Remember that most likely, as much as you want to collect your money, your friend doesn’t want to be in your debt, and both of you want your friendship to return to normal.