1. Our son and daughter-in-law (married one year) stayed over the Holidays (Christmas day to the day before New Year’s Eve). During this time Daughter-in-law did NOT even once offer to help with meal prep, cooking, or clean-up. She made no effort to straighten their room, offer to sweep the kitchen, or any other help around the house. She also borrowed my clothes and other items. I was raised that when one is a guest in a home that does NOT have a maid, cook, etc., one always offers to help, even if the offer is not accepted, one at least ASKS. I admit that I was a bit miffed, and taken aback that she didn’t even offer. How do I handle this in the future?

    • Elizabeth

      Do your expectations also extend to your son? Is he expected to help with the meal prep and house cleaning as well? Honest question.

        • Joanna

          I know that they’ve just been officially married for the one year, but have the two been a couple for a long time? If so, it’s possible that DIL simply feels very comfortable in your home, like family, and in that feeling overstepped a little.

          In this situation I think the easiest and best way is to simply say what you want or need. If everyone’s just finished eating dinner and about to leave the room, you can say, “Susie, can you give me a hand? You dry the dishes when I wash, and we can all start watching the movie sooner.”

    • Alicia

      Daughter in law is not exactly guest but family. If son and daughter in law did not tidy their room I would say something to son. If neither offered to help prep I would do something like hand him the plates and her the silverware and ask teh two of them to please set the table. If you do not want to lend something say no. But do not expect your daughter in law to do chores unless your son also does chores. His is the model by which she should have been basing how or when to offer and what to do.

    • Nina

      Dear Sandra,

      I actually double-checked your name to make sure you weren’t my mother-in-law. I am very fond of my in-laws, but because they live 1000s of miles away, I don’t know them terribly well and am not 100% comfortable in their home. I also don’t know where things are kept, and sometimes don’t feel comfortable rummaging until I find soap, scrubbers, etc. They are also a large family, and when everyone is working in the kitchen, I often feel in the way. I am always eager to help–and I always offer–but unless someone actually tells me what to do, I’m not too much use to anyone.

      All that to say, don’t be afraid to politely ask your DIL to do a specific task–it might be what she’s been waiting for.

      All best,

  2. Joanna

    If the colleague is talking with her mouth full while on the phone with clients/customers, I would think someone would be complaining about it! If not, it would probably take the supervisor to officially speak to her, trying to pre-empt any complaints.

    • Mark

      I have a colleague that will stop MID-SENTANCE while on the phone with a customer to take a bite of celery or carrots or apples. She can be very nasty to people if they disagree with her, however, she regularly complains about her sales numbers. Personally I put noise cancelling headphones over my headset so that I don’t snap off on her, but I really want to tell her, “if you’d stop blatantly eating on the phone with your customers and being INCREDIBLY rude to them and your co-workers, maybe your numbers would improve.” But she’s so defensive and, at times, aggressive…I just don’t know what to do except for suck it up. Waiting for a manager to say something, but he doesn’t have the balls to piss her off either. Advice?

      • Elizabeth

        Well, if she complains about her lack of sales, that seems like a perfect opening if you want to take it. You could say, cooly, “I have an idea, if you want to hear it. Have you ever considered not eating when you’re on the phone? Your customers might find it distracting and unprofessional. Have they ever said anything to you about it?” If she gets aggressive, that’s her problem. “Just say, well, it was just a thought. Feel free to disregard.”

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