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by Abigail Van Buren

Who Speaks First When Entering a Room?

DEAR ABBY: I was taught (at home and in school) to speak first when entering a room, a building, etc. However, my wife's family doesn't practice this. Recently, her sister, upon entering a room I was in, failed to speak first. After I said hello, she said, "I was wondering when you were going to say something." Are there etiquette guidelines that speak to this situation? -- ENTERING IN THE EAST

DEAR ENTERING: If there is a rule about who should speak first, I confess I have never heard of it. I know that it is proper for a woman to extend her hand (first) in a social situation if she wants to observe the formality, but that's as far as it goes. When it comes to who says hello first, common sense should rule.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics