From the category archives:

Everyday

Q: I loaned out my chocolate fountain on New Year’s Eve to a family member.  What is the etiquette of loaning items?   A: When anyone, whether it be a family member, a friend, or a neighbor, borrows an item, they should return the item as soon as possible.In your case, your relative should have […]

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Q: I recently received an unexpected, generous monetary gift from a relative, in the form of a check.  The check, however, wasn’t signed.  Clearly, this was an oversight.  I’m now in the uncomfortable position of sending it back and asking for a signature. Do you have any suggestions on how to word this to the […]

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Q: I am a sixteen year old and I wanted to know, when you are in public and you see someone who has been in a few of your classes, but you don’t know him or her very well, what should you do?     A: You should say say, “Hi!” You should never pretend […]

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Q: Quite a few of my friends and I often start talking in our native language (which is not English), when we meet each other—even in social settings. Can it be construed as bad manners if others present within earshot or within the group cannot understand our conversation?  Is it okay if my spouse talks […]

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Q: When eating a meal, is it proper to tear a roll in half, or should a roll be cut with a knife? A: It is fine to tear the roll if it is soft enough to tear, but you should tear off in bite-sized pieces, as you are ready to eat them. If you […]

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Q: We are preparing to send out invitations for our child’s birthday party.  She has a friend whose parents we do not particularly care for.  Do we convince our child not to invite this friend or just grin and bear it? A: As long as the child can be expected to behave appropriately, she should […]

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Q: Recently, my sister-in-law purchased a new home (her fourth) and when sending out invitations for her daughter’s birthday party, included  a gift registry for ‘housewarming items’ at a large retail store. I found this to be tacky and it certainly cheated my niece of her birthday celebration as quite a few family and friends […]

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Q: I visit my boyfriend’s home regularly. His roommate who is also his sister believes that it is necessary for me to greet her first 100% of the time.  It is my belief that as the ‘hostess’ or owner of the home she should make the first move as far as greeting is concerned.  Who […]

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Q: My brother and his family come to visit every summer and leave their stuff everywhere.  How do I keep them from making a mess? A: You might be tempted to suggest a nearby hotel; instead, lay down a few rules early on.  It’s OK to set expectations for guests—including family!— so call your brother […]

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Q: An acquaintance constantly tells me I look tired, even on days when I feel great.  It’s hard not to feel offended.  Is it OK to let her know I don’t appreciate her opinion? A: If you can’t ignore her, try a little humor.  It’s possible that she’s just clueless, so take the high road […]

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