Social Etiquette and Good Manners/When to Refuse a Gift Part II



I belong to a women's organization and I translated a document for an elderly member who was trying to find out some information about a relative who had died in a foreign country.  It was my pleasure to help her and I didn't expect anything return since friendship is one of the core tenets of the organization. The older member wrote me a very lovely thank you note and enclosed a check for $70.  I'm young enough to be her daughter and I don't want to keep the money but I'm not sure how to return it to her.  

Should I keep the check or return it? If I return it, I'm afraid she might be offended.  Yet, I don't feel that I should keep it because this is just one of those things that I would do for a friend.

Thank you

Dear AnonymousA:

I suggest you donate it to a favorite charity of yours or hers and send a thank-you note to your friend telling her what you have done.  Express in your note that it was your pleasure to help her and that you look forward to seeing her again soon.  Keep it positive.  

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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