I Wanna Hold Your Hand : Is there an age limit to holding hands in public?

Q. I would like to know if holding hands on dates for middle aged and older adults is an appropriate thing to do if it is a platonic relationship. Does holding hands necessarily means the person initiating the action has a romantic interest in the partner? Can holding hands be just a gesture of warm friendship between two adults?

A. Yes, holding hands can be just a gesture of friendship.

Hung up on Hang ups : Who should get off the phone first?

Q. I was taught as a child that proper telephone etiquette dictated that the person who placed the call was the person who terminated the call. My husband believes that it is polite and proper for any party to a telephonic conversation to terminate the same. Is there telephone etiquette dealing with termination of calls?

A. Traditional telephone etiquette says that the person who originates the call is the one who terminates it. This “rule” isn’t all that important, but its helpful of a call seems to be dragging on. If you are the one who placed the call, say something like, “I’ll let you go now, Barbara. I’m glad I reached you, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you on the seventh. Good-bye.”

If you are having difficulty ending a call with a long-winded phone mate, you may have no choice but to be firm. At the first pause in the conversation, say, “I’m sorry, but I simply must go now. We’ll speak again soon.” Take this route whether you placed the call or received it, and only when really necessary

Taxi Tips : Who should be allowed in a cab first?

Q. If I am entering a Taxi cab and I am with a lady. Who should get in first? If I am with my wife, is it different than being with a co-worker? If I am with another man- does it matter? Thank you.

A. Traditionally, a lady enters the cab first. It makes no difference if the lady is your wife or a co-worker. In the case of two men, it does not matter. However, if the lady prefers to have you enter first, so she does not have to slide across the seat, that is also fine. Just communicate your intentions, or ask her preference, before you open the taxi door. That way, the situation is handled gracefully, to the satisfaction of all.

Touchy Subject : How to handle someone who does not acknowledge personal space

Q. I have a friend, a woman I have known for many years, who is a serial hugger – and I mean full contact hugger. Every time I see her, she hugs me, whether we see one another at a Christmas party or in the grocery store. She has even hugged me when we were both in sweaty workout clothes! We live in the same neighborhood, have children at the same schools, attend many of the same events, so I run into her frequently. Last week, we met for lunch. She hugged me when we arrived at the restaurant and, when we were leaving, though we were outside of the restaurant and I had deliberately stepped off the curb and away from her – in the hopes of avoiding another hug – she stretched out her arms and cupped her hands toward me, waggling her fingers at me as if to say, ‘Come on. Give me a hug before we part.’ She clearly cannot ‘read’ me very well. She is driving me nuts!

I like hugs. I think they are a nice thing to give and to receive. However, I don’t feel the need to hug anyone every single time I see them. Sometimes, I think a hug can be inappropriate given certain situations. My friend’s hugging is beginning to offend me. I feel violated (yes, a this is ‘space’ issue for me).

I do like this woman and want to remain friends with her. However, I am growing increasingly reluctant to get together with her knowing that I will have to suffer her hugs. How can I convey to her I don’t always appreciate her hugs or feel they are necessary every time we see one another?

A. If the effusive greetings of your friend really make you uncomfortable, you may have to explain your feelings. Be tactful; let her know that you enjoy her company but that physical displays are difficult for you.