Social Etiquette and Good Manners/neighbors etiquette


I have a neighbor (A) that I am friendly with. A mutual neighbor (E) in our complex was moving out of state in a few days. A asked me for E's address where she will be moving.

My questions are:
1)Since E was still living here, why couldn't A have asked E herself?
2)Was it appropriate for A to "put me on the spot" asking for E's address?

Dear Rosalie:
Thank you for your question.  It's hard to know the reason why "Neighbor A" asked you for "Neighbor E"'s address rather than ask her for it directly.  It might be because "A" wants to surprise "E" with a homecoming gift when she arrives. It may be that she is shy. It may be because she just wants to keep in touch but doesn't know "E" well enough to ask her herself.  No matter what the reason, your best answer should have been, "I have "E"'s address but I am not comfortable giving it to anyone without her knowing. I will ask her if it's OK and let you know. Or, you could ask her for it yourself - she is still in town. Do you have her phone number?"

It is always good etiquette to keep private information private - especially information others have given to you directly.  You really have no right to spread private information around, in any fashion.

Take care.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Cynthia W. Lett


Proper manners with friends,family,colleagues,neighbors and everyone else you know.


I have been an etiquette expert teaching and consulting on the subject worldwide since 1983. I started and serve as the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and am considered a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training and execution. I edited "Etiquette for Dummies" and have recently written "Lett's Talk - Everyday Etiquette Dilemmas and What to Do about Them". My book, "That's So Annoying:An Etiquette Expert on the World's Most Irritating Habits And What To Do About Them" was published in 2009 and is available wherever books are sold. I taught the Business Protocol class to Master's level students at the George Washington University, Washington, DC for seven years I served as Chief of Protocol for MCI Telecommunications for three years.

International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals, ASTD, PCMA, National Speakers Association

I have been quoted over 700 times in the past 5 years worldwide. Publications include Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, NY Times, Washington Business Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, London Times, Newsweek Japan edition, Newsweek US edition and many many more.

I am a Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP) earned by examination through ISPEP. I have a Master's degree in hospitality law and undergrad degrees in Restaurant & Hotel Management and Public Relations/Interpersonal Communications from Purdue University.

Awards and Honors
Who's Who Worldwide,Who's Who of American Women, Distinguished Darden Professor (Purdue University).

Past/Present Clients
World Bank, United Nations,US Dept. of State, US. Dept. of the Army, Pentagon, Barclays Global Investors,Accenture,Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, The White House, Dept. of State, AT&T,Bank of America,American Association of Clinical Pharmacies,Ritz Carlton Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels,Starwood Hotels,and many more.

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