From the category archives:


Q: Is it considered bad manners to have food in the house that is not being offered to the whole family?  For example, a teenager orders a pizza and doesn’t offer to share with anyone, or, a parent brings home donuts for oneself, knowing the kids are not permitted to have any.       […]


Q: My husband and I recently gave his stepmother a music CD as a gift.  After she opened it, she indicated that she already owned this particular CD and handed it back to us.  At that point, we did not know what to do.  Should the recipient hand it back to the gift giver, give […]


Q: My son, who has been dating his girlfriend, now fiancé, for three years is upset that I have not met her parents yet.  He keeps inviting me to come to their house for an overnight visit, as they live far away, but I refuse because I think they should be the one’s to invite me.  […]


Q: In my childhood, I was told the proper way to address a married woman was: the title “Mrs.” followed by the husband’s first and last names.  In more recent years, I have noticed the increasing frequency of “Ms.” followed by the woman’s first and last names.  I have a vivid childhood memory of being […]


Q: I drive my daughter to school everyday; a friend of hers lives not far from us and her mother has asked if it would be possible for me to give her daughter a ride to school for this whole week.  Not only is the stop on my way but the girl is a close […]

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Q: I frequently have family members drop by my house unannounced.  I have gotten to the point where I cannot help but be almost rude, especially when it is 9PM and I am trying to put my 7 and 2 year old children to bed.  I have never encouraged this behavior, in fact, I have […]


Q: What is the history for why a man takes his hat off when entering a building and why he should tip his hat to a lady?     A: Basically, hats are removed when going indoors as a measure of respect.  Therefore, caps and hats should be removed when entering a home, when entering […]


Q: Recently I went to dinner at a nice restaurant in New York City, and while it wasn’t a five star restaurant, the bill did add up.  On the bill there was a line to add the tip and below that there was a second line for a tip for the maitre D’.  I had never […]


Q: I have friends who smoke, and that means that when we go out to eat, or to bars, they periodically step outside for cigarettes.  As a non-smoker, sometimes I am left completely alone for various durations while they smoke, which feels awkward.  In addition, I feel it may be improper for a woman to […]


Q: If a cook serves an obviously overcooked roast or even burned toast, how should the guest respond?     A: If you are a guest at a restaurant, you may politely explain that the food was not prepared the way you ordered it.  However, if you are a guest at someone’s home, it would […]