Q: Hello, Jill! My co-worker is getting married. I wanted to get her a gift but the wedding invitation card specified "no gift, please." I wonder how much money is appropriate in this situation. I am not sure about the norm, especially it being a colleague. Any tips you could provide would be great.

A: I understand the dilemma here: It is often less expensive to snag a great item on sale than it is to provide a gift card or cash gift. If the invitation specifies "no gifts," it is usually good etiquette to respect this.


However, if you’ve got a relatively close relationship with this person, I’d encourage you to speak with them personally and find out if they’d be willing to accept an alternative — everyone needs house items, don’t they? If finances are a little strapped right now, you might even be able to buy a gift with another colleague at the office. Be prepared to return the favour to your colleague with may be an invite to lunch or by offering to purchase the wedding card.

You might also consider speaking with other colleagues or contacting your local wedding planner to get the norm on monetary wedding gift giving. Whenever in this situation, I always strive to give at least the cost of one dinner seating. That can usually range from $60 and up per invited guest. Of course, fine cuisine like sea food, international foods, out of season items and an open bar usually increases the couple’s costs. For more information on wedding planning and gift-giving etiquette, visit www.theperfectweddingguide.com, www.torontowedding.com, www.weddingtales.caand www.beau-coup.com.

Q: How do you tell an employee that you really don’t like them?

This lady sits in our office and all she does is complain about how stressful her life is at her cubicle. She never seems to have anything positive to say. She tries to engage me in her rants, asking me my opinion, even trying to investigate, detect and solve MY own problems (since she’s labelled me as shy because I don’t talk much in the office because I have work to do). I’m just tired of her and don’t want to have any personal dealings with her.

As employees working together, there is no law that says you all must have personal dealings with one another. We certainly can’t be friends with everyone we work with.

It’s obvious this employee is distracting you from your daily work. You can take the approach of speaking with her respectfully but directly letting her know that you do not wish to engage in any discussions that aren’t work related. Or you can take this to your supervisor.

While she won’t change overnight, your supervisor might be able to support you by talking to her on your behalf, and/or even arrange for a simple cubicle move to an area further away from her. Should you have fears of her being confrontational should she find out you complained directly, I’d recommend simply asking your supervisor to discuss the issue of workplace interpersonal behaviour and stress management generically at the next staff meeting.

Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.


Jill’s tip of the week

  • Be yourself! First introductions that appear too contrived will only leave the person you’ve met questioning your authenticity.

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