Dear Carson: How does one respond to a graduation announcement from someone who is graduating from a college or professional school such as medical or dental school? We recently received such an announcement from someone whom we know only through his parents. If a gift is in order, do you have any suggestions? - Baffled
Dear Baffled: Since you have such an impersonal relationship with the graduate, you have three options: Send a gift; write a note or send a congratulatory card; or ignore it. Since the graduate probably does not expect your attendance, he most likely hopes for a gift. If you are so inclined, the following are a few ideas for appropriate gifts: an engagement book, a dictionary, a letter opener, an etiquette book or a picture frame.
Dear Carson: I was recently stunned and embarrassed to observe my 16-year-old grandson's failure to rise when and older adult entered the room and extended his hand. When I reproached him for his bad manners, I could tell that he considered me a dinosaur. Please tell me if my expectations are outdated. - Groaning Grandma
Dear Grandma: Bless you for being willing to risk your grandson's affection by doing him the good turn of some basic etiquette instruction. If he slouches on the sofa rather than rising to his feet when meeting people, he will make a poor first impression.
Dear Carson: There appears to be a trend to address one or more people, even mixed gender, as "you guys." It is especially inappropriate when young adults address their elders in this manner.
I am a middle-aged woman, and the last time I looked in my bathroom mirror I was definitely not a guy! - Grates On My Nerves
Dear Nerves: The devotees of such salutations are exhibiting poor judgment of what is proper, but they mean no harm. They are trying to be friendly and using the all-encompassing "you guys" as we in the South use "you all" when addressing more than one person. However, I agree with you that such familiarity is impertinent and in poor taste.