Episode 23 - If I’m Gonna Be Sneaky, I’m Gonna Be Sneaky
In this episode of Awesome Etiquette
Welcome to Awesome Etiquette, where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On today’s show Dan and Lizzie tell you whether it’s ever okay to snoop.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social. Could you see it's old fashioned. Uh
Speaker 1: watch how busy post and dan post sent to act as host and hostess. They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person, real friendliness. Hello,
Speaker 2: Hello. Hello and welcome to another episode of awesome etiquette. Our podcast comes to you from the studios of Vermont Public radio and is part of the Infinite guest network from american public media. I'm lizzie Post and I'm
Speaker 1: dan post sending from the Emily Post Institute.
Speaker 2: So we
Speaker 1: offer
Speaker 2: a lot of advice on this show. I mean it is what we do for a
Speaker 1: living and one of my favorite expressions, what's the worst vice
Speaker 2: advice
Speaker 2: expression Because we are in the business of giving advice. You're shooting yourself in the foot. It's my little
Speaker 1: reminder to myself. You need to be careful now it
Speaker 2: is true but you know we want to let people know that it's not actually easy always to take her advice. One of the, one of the pieces of advice that we put out there
Speaker 2: is just talk to the person. I mean, how many times have you heard us say? Just talk to the person, think about who's involved? Hey, guess what? It's not easy and we want you to know that we really do recognize it and we really do utilize this advice in our own lives. And I wanted to share a story of that today.
Speaker 2: Um If you're down Daniel,
Speaker 1: No, I'm curious because because once again, I do think this is the heart of the show is the self reflection and the willingness to really think about what you're doing. I appreciate your willingness to take us there
Speaker 2: this morning.
Speaker 2: I had had an incident with a friend and I am going to keep this as anonymous as possible. So it's going to make my story longer. I apologize.
Speaker 2: But I had, I had an incident with a friend where we had been out downtown and you know, when we say that we mean out at the bars and drinking alcohol being consumed and um his behavior like really, really bothered me. And
Speaker 2: um I was trying in my head to to weigh whether or not, okay, you know,
Speaker 2: am I being too sensitive for this? This isn't the first time I've seen this behavior come from him, but like,
Speaker 2: why didn't it bother me then? Or why did I shake it off then? And now I'm finding myself thinking, I don't really want to hang out with this person like this really,
Speaker 2: it annoyed me and I don't I don't deserve to be around this. Like it was my own integrity and my own self worth that was kicking into gear and I really wanted to protect myself and it's no harm was going to come. This person is not malicious. I don't want anyone out there to be worried or think that I hang out with.
Speaker 1: Its that rude behavior. That transgression. All behavior that's not so bad or egregious that you storm out or absolutely
Speaker 2: not, but
Speaker 1: it bothers you enough that it's sticking with
Speaker 2: and you're wondering, do I want to hang out with this person?
Speaker 2: And I remember when you know, he and I had had texted a little bit a couple of days after, you know, he had mentioned that he couldn't
Speaker 2: you know, like, oh man, what a night That was like the worst hangover in this,
Speaker 1: that it is not clear about what he was doing
Speaker 2: clearly. Yeah, this and at the time I didn't bring anything up because I was just like, I was still annoyed and I also was just like he doesn't even freaking remember that he was acting in a way that was
Speaker 2: you know embarrassing or difficult to handle.
Speaker 2: But I found myself not calling this person to get together for hikes or walks or the things that we do normally that don't even involve alcohol or anything like that night on the town. Yeah. And it
Speaker 2: it got to the point where I was like I should have been talking to a girlfriend about it and I was like I should really tell this guy what
Speaker 2: I think. But it's hard, it is hard to do just what we say. Just talked to the person. And he had reached out to me about a month and a half after a month after we had had this exchange that night. And we had actually been talking via facebook messenger and I just decided I'm going to pick up the phone and call
Speaker 1: him. Following
Speaker 1: our
Speaker 2: advice. I know I literally listened to us
Speaker 2: and I said I'm calling and this is really hard for me and it's hard because
Speaker 2: I've imagined all the ways in which this could go wrong and I could lose you as a friend because of it. But I realized that I'm losing you as a friend because I'm not saying anything anyway. And our friendship matters to me and I need you to know that that night that we hung out and things got a bit overboard. It's happened before in the past and it affected me this time in a way
Speaker 2: that I realized was making me question myself worth and making me question things about our friendship and whether it was a good idea to continue it. But I kept thinking to myself, I love our talks. I love our walks together. When we go hiking,
Speaker 2: you weren't someone I wanted to lose as a friend, but I was so disappointed and I was so scared that if I brought it up, you were just going to think, oh gosh, she's
Speaker 2: so either dramatic or sensitive or any of these, these things that could be considered negative as opposed to just going with the flow and forgetting it. But I've realized it's bothered me enough that I haven't talked to you in a month and a half.
Speaker 2: I should probably say something if I ever want us
Speaker 2: to speak again and if I wanted to really work,
Speaker 2: he was really great about it. Um,
Speaker 1: I'm guessing it went very well. It's on the way. It was still, it
Speaker 2: was awkward. I mean like I'll fully admit there was a point where I welled up and was kind of in tears because I just, I was I was realizing just how hard this can be. And he said, you know, I don't remember that happening. I don't remember my behavior, but he said, you're telling me I have done it before, but this time it pushed it over the edge for you. And because you're in a different situation in life, it changed how you felt
Speaker 2: about what had happened. And I was like, yeah, it really did. And he actually said, I'm really glad you told me, but he can't remember it and I think it's really hard to apologize for something you don't remember. So he said, I'm so sorry that this had this effect on you. And he said, what I'm hoping is that having had this conversation
Speaker 2: will mean that in the future if I have that one drink too many.
Speaker 2: Uh subconsciously I'll be more aware of my actions just for having had this conversation. He's like, I'm always willing to listen. I do care about you as a friend, and it was really nice to get to that part of the conversation and I told him I was like, I don't want you to have to apologize for something, you can't even remember having had made an effect on me about. You know, it was just interesting. It was it was interesting, it was one of the most difficult conversations I've had recently, and it's not because it went badly, but because of all the things that make it hard to just talk to the person. I mean you and I are often thinking about all the various ways a situation can go. So for me, rather than thinking, oh,
Speaker 2: the most positive thing will be that he'll say lizzie, thank you so much for telling me this and I'll get to apologize.
Speaker 2: And instead I'm the one who worries about all the bad things that could come in the conversation and I'll admit we get a lot of calls or a lot of emails in our office with people really um saying how upset they are about certain situations. So those are always in my mind as this is how people react. And it was so nice to be reminded
Speaker 2: of the good reaction and it, it wasn't like flowery and glowing, it was just something that made our friendship be able to move forward and, and I didn't,
Speaker 2: I didn't want him to get hung up on this and I don't feel like he has been and it's been so nice that that's been the outcome of
Speaker 1: just talk to the person a little friendship repair, you re establish that social architecture. So the relationship grows. I mean, it's all of the things that we talk about being important
Speaker 2: and I really, I really don't want people to read too much into this. I know I'm using a lot of words and dancing around a lot of things. I hope you're not imagining big horrible things happening
Speaker 2: because this person would not deserve that. But it was also about how I was at a very vulnerable place in my life at the time that we had hung out
Speaker 2: and his actions just hurt me because he knew what a vulnerable place I was in. But the drinking and everything had gotten
Speaker 2: come to a place where he's not thinking about that, you know, but I do just I really want our readers or listeners, excuse me and our readers and some people read us
Speaker 2: to understand that
Speaker 2: the advice we give it is not given lightly and it's it's not given in a world where we think it's like a 19 eighties sitcom where Oh, the simple thing is said and then all is right and the credits roll. It's not like that. When we say you need to talk to your friend,
Speaker 2: you may talk to that friend and it may still be months before you feel like you're back to the
Speaker 2: to the right spot with them. It's very hard to do the just talk to the person part of it.
Speaker 2: But nine times out of 10 it goes the right way and it does make you stronger in the long term
Speaker 1: bravo. Good
Speaker 2: work. Anyway, that's way too much about our lives and probably not enough details about them. But we should probably get to some questions. Do you think or do you have a thought or
Speaker 1: no. Let's let's take some questions. All right.
Speaker 2: Let's do it.
Speaker 1: Sure you're right. But there's so much to learn how to do. Sure. There's a lot to learn, but it's worth it.
Speaker 1: And learning
Speaker 2: is easy. One
Speaker 1: way is by watching others
Speaker 1: on each and every episode of awesome etiquette. We take your questions on how to behave. Let's get started.
Speaker 2: Michelle Rights. I've read elsewhere that you're not supposed to use your napkin for a Kleenex. What does one do if they sneeze at the table and there is obvious
Speaker 2: drainage. I understand the importance of them excusing themselves to the restroom, but what do they do meanwhile? Until they can get to the restroom? Thanks Michelle.
Speaker 1: Well, Michelle, this is not the first time. We've got a question about sneezing. In fact, Cousin Anna is a spokesperson for flu awareness and she would tell you with some confidence and certainty that the appropriate thing to do when you sneeze is to sneeze into the crook of your arms. You want to sneeze into sort of the back side of your elbow description. I like that if you're sitting at the table, you can think about pointing your elbow about 100 and 80 degrees away from the table cause you want to turn away from the people that you're dining with sneeze into the crook of your arm.
Speaker 1: All right, So that's what you should do. That's the that's the a plus 100% answer. What about the drainage? What about there's now mess on your arm or there's mess running down your face? Um
Speaker 1: I say right in that immediate moment, you cover up, put a hand over it, put your napkin up over it. You're not using your napping as a Kleenex, You're not blowing into it, but just to cover yourself up a little bit and then magic words are magic. Excuse yourself from the table, pardon me, Just a minute. Excuse me, just a second.
Speaker 1: Get up, leave the table, go to the restroom, get yourself cleaned up, blow your nose as much as you need to. Maybe even get an extra.
Speaker 1: Not going to do for your pocket or oh, good paper towels or toilet paper or something. Thinking for the future. Um if you need a new napkin, get your server's attention or swap up on your way back to the table, you should be in great shape, but you're absolutely right. You don't want to be using your napkin as a kleenex kleenex
Speaker 2: and and dan's advice doesn't make you do that. It's just using the napkin as cover
Speaker 2: and then discarding the napkins so that you don't need. I mean obviously not in the trash can but swapping it out.
Speaker 1: Magic words are magic. Never forget. Just excuse me, pardon me. And yes, you're off to safety.
Speaker 2: Good luck, Michelle,
Speaker 1: Take care.
Speaker 2: Our next listener was incredibly brief, but I am so happy about this question. Anonymous rights. I have been trying to find out Emily post's view on whether or not it is permissible
Speaker 2: to go through someone else's cell phone
Speaker 1: anonymous. It is not
Speaker 2: it's not okay. It is snooping is not okay. I'm going to say it. Not your computer, not your tablet, not your mail. Nothing.
Speaker 2: Do not snoop
Speaker 1: respect for privacy. It's huge. It's
Speaker 2: a massive trust thing.
Speaker 1: The spheres that we can expect to experience some personal privacy in our shrinking all the time. They're getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And we just need to treasure those last few bastions of privacy that we've got and we need to learn to respect each other's privacy in this brave new world.
Speaker 2: We do. And truthfully I understand it, there are some relationships in which someone
Speaker 2: chooses to give up that privacy because of past incidents. Um and that's a way of continuing to build trust with one another. But let's face it, if you're in that situation,
Speaker 2: I mean if I'm trying to hide stuff from you, I'm going to hide it from you, I'm going to delete it from my phone, You're not gonna find anything. That's how that's going to work. If I'm really thinking about
Speaker 1: it, if I'm going to be sneaky, I'm going to be sneaky.
Speaker 2: If I'm gonna be sneaky, I'm gonna be sneaky. And
Speaker 2: um it's it's not okay for you to go through someone else's phone. I remember one time actually when I was living in California,
Speaker 2: I was really struggling. This was the end of a relationship. Um I was really really struggling with the ending of this relationship. And I had been Skype chatting with my best friend who at the time lived in London
Speaker 2: and I was telling her about the problems I was having, she's my best friend, this is the person I talked to, I didn't have a therapist,
Speaker 2: you know your best friend is the person you confide in. And sure enough my boyfriend went through and looked at the conversation and got mad at me about it and I said you should be mad at yourself, you read something that was private and I was working something out to get to a point where I could talk to you in a way that I felt comfortable about it and you should know that I expect
Speaker 2: that you are talking to certain very trusted people in your life about me and about what we're going through.
Speaker 1: And I wouldn't expect to know every detail of that conversation.
Speaker 2: No, I expect to wait until you are ready to talk to me about it, to find out what you have to say.
Speaker 2: And that is something that I think is just so important for us to realize that
Speaker 2: just because we have someone that we have committed our lives to said vows to in some circumstances, this does not mean that this person is an open book,
Speaker 2: privacy is important.
Speaker 1: It really is. And um, I'll reflect some advice that another popular advice podcast or dan savage off dan savage. And he says, just don't snoop because it never, there is no good outcome to snooping that say, say, you find something now, you're the snooper
Speaker 1: and you've got to confront the person with it. You don't find anything now, you're just someone who snoops around in a totally trustworthy person stuff. Um
Speaker 1: and maybe it's not snooping. Maybe in this case it, so I just like to look around, I'm not even looking for anything bad or incriminating, it just doesn't set you up. Well, it's not a place of integrity that you want to be operating from. So not only is it not permissible, it's not advisable.
Speaker 2: I agree, completely.
Speaker 1: Long answer. Short question. No, it's not okay to look through someone else's self
Speaker 2: question that especially in this digital age
Speaker 1: Rebecca would like to know, do you have to send a thank you card in response to a condolence card?
Speaker 2: I love it. When we get those super traditional question, something that really is like that, why would you want an Emily post etiquette book? Because this is the kind of situation you're in once or twice in a lifetime and you need an answer. It comes up. It is, it's actually called an acknowledgement card. You're acknowledging a condolence that someone had given you and you do you do give thanks in it.
Speaker 2: Um you absolutely must, it is one of those times in your life, just like receiving a wedding gift or baby shower gift, that it's a seminal moment in your life. And it's really important that you acknowledge that someone has reached out to you during a time of great grieving and need. It's okay to have family and very close friends right on your behalf,
Speaker 2: but it is still something that needs to be handwritten that needs to come in a fairly quick amount of time and it does need to happen. It is one of those, it's just, it is the right thing to do. It
Speaker 1: can feel overwhelming, particularly when there has been a lot of sympathy expressed
Speaker 2: also, people say it is actually a wonderful part of the grieving process that it's very healing to write these notes and to acknowledge people reaching out to you during a difficult time, that it kind of helps you get through it.
Speaker 1: We hear that all the time I'd just like to mention. We had a guest on the show a couple weeks ago, Stephen Petro and he writes a great tech etiquette column and he was dealing with the question of whether or not it's appropriate to send tech condolence notes are messages or emails expressing condolence. And he really held the line and I really appreciated reading that from him because we do too.
Speaker 1: There are times in life when that handwritten note really is important and the condolence card is one of them
Speaker 1: and it really is a lovely and beautiful process. The handwritten, personalized condolence card in the response that then comes to it. Um it really gives a chance to honor the person who's passed. So we hope that helps Rebecca
Speaker 1: Bill wants to know the son of a father named for example john R Stewart. If the parents may be named john R Stewart. Jr As often happens that should not mean or require that the father attack on senior to his name.
Speaker 1: The father's birth certificate did not have senior
Speaker 2: with
Speaker 1: the fact that his name is John R Stewart differentiates his name from his son's junior designation.
Speaker 1: Why do so many people tack on senior after their son is named Junior. This seems unnecessary and incorrect.
Speaker 2: Bill, you're correct in thinking that the birth certificate would not have senior on it because you can't have a senior until there is a junior. So often until JR is born and named with Junior after his name.
Speaker 2: There isn't, that's the moment when a senior becomes a possibility.
Speaker 2: And your I do think that he has a point in saying that john r Stewart differentiates from the Sun's Junior, but I think when people are talking about them um even in our family where there aren't juniors, but there's peter my father and then we call pete peter tucker or a little
Speaker 2: peter which we don't want to
Speaker 2: as he's a grown man with his own business. Now we try not to do that to him, but it's it's not sort of um dan you when when we were looking at this question together, you were talking about how it's not really until that young one is established
Speaker 1: starts to establish himself in a way that um it's not so obvious that they're the junior when you're talking about him and his accomplishments, there might actually be some confusion that oftentimes that senior
Speaker 1: Starts to emerge as a way to differentiate between two mature men.
Speaker 2: Absolutely. It's not that it has to be on his birth certificate or that he needs to go legally changed his name. It's just, it's a differentiator between the two gentlemen and it is, it does show respect to the, the one that is the elder of the two and it's not
Speaker 1: probably used as commonly as the junior for all the reasons that are right that our listener talks about here, but it is a perfectly acceptable designation to use perfectly acceptable and doesn't indicate an l like that someone's
Speaker 2: old. So it is neither unnecessary nor incorrect from what we know.
Speaker 2: Bill. We hope that that helps answer your question.
Speaker 1: Beth has a question that couldn't be more perfect for my cousin lizzie, who is a big fan of all things new Orleans. I will be going to to Mardi gras balls this year and have a question is it proper to wear black, full length gloves instead of white. Thanks Beth
Speaker 2: um I dance right that I am, I am Mardi gras obsessed and as Mardi Gras, when this show airs will be tomorrow, fat Tuesday. I am incredibly excited. I am about to order king cake for the office because that is my favorite thing.
Speaker 1: I got the baby
Speaker 2: actually that then means dan
Speaker 1: should order the
Speaker 2: king cake
Speaker 1: wasn't it? Two years ago? I
Speaker 2: know believe it was last year. Anyway,
Speaker 2: King cakes and babies aside.
Speaker 2: I reached out to the one person I know who knows Mardi gras Mardi gras balls better than any. She has been a Mardi gras Queen herself and she is my dear friend, MS janey Glade who is a graduate of our train, the
Speaker 1: trainer program. True friend of the institute,
Speaker 2: a true friend of the institute, a very good friend of mine. She's who goes down visiting in New Orleans a few months ago and I'm going to quote MS janey Glade,
Speaker 2: Mardi gras is about tradition and when it comes to Mardi gras, you don't muck. That's M. U. C. K. For those who are worried with tradition.
Speaker 2: She's right Mardi Gras tradition is that you wear full length um uh white kid opera gloves. I talked to her on the phone briefly after she sent me that wonderful quote and she said that you might not be allowed on the dance floor if you are in anything other
Speaker 2: your gloves. As I got a wonderful description from her friend who had written it up on a website.
Speaker 2: Um in fact said no adornments. No, nothing. They can have the three buttons right at the risk to allow you to put them on more easily. And that's it. There. It is very specific. And she said, should you choose to wear anything else, you might not be allowed on the dance floor. It'll be questioned whether you'll be invited back and you will most likely be whispered about. And that doesn't sound very nice lady, like nor proper
Speaker 2: is just simply the truth and I greatly appreciate that. But Mardi gras is extremely, it is tied in tradition is rooted to tradition and you must follow that tradition. There's a reason for it.
Speaker 1: I really like that respect for tradition. There's and sometimes there's no better answer than
Speaker 2: that. So we are sorry that the black loves won't work, but we do think you will feel more comfortable
Speaker 2: um and if someone else is not wearing their traditional long white kid gloves, you by all means can know that you are in the right for wearing
Speaker 1: yours and by all means have a
Speaker 2: fantastic yes, I'm very very jealous, janey invites me down every year and I have yet to go and I am dying to go to a Mardi gras ball. I really, really want to. So
Speaker 2: My my jealousy is on level 10 right now,
Speaker 2: but beth we hope that helps you out. This next question begins Dear Emily Post Team and I always like it when we're like Team. Emily Post my family was quite proper with properly addressing adults with a term of respect. I was always however perplexed as to how to properly address my parents, cousins,
Speaker 2: they would be of an age that I would feel the need to use mr mrs or MS. However, because of the familial connection this does not feel right. Do you have any ideas? Kind regards adam
Speaker 1: adam? I like the thoughtfulness of your question. You're really thinking about how to show respect and care for family without introducing artificial distance or impose formality on the relationship. That doesn't feel right. Whenever you have a question about how to address someone, you can always ask them. You can always say, you know, what should I call you? I know you're my mom's cousin, but what should I call you?
Speaker 1: I definitely had parental cousins who were practically aunts and uncles and were sometimes even referred to as aunts and uncles. Um Sometimes it was, it was cousin. So and so and oftentimes the family relationship became the title that I would use with those people. So my aunt, aunt or cousin Neil, or and so the title becomes the family relationship.
Speaker 1: It's not inappropriate to use a mr or miss or a mrs um sometimes done with the right tone and affection. I was talking to lizzie that every once in a while I like to call my uncle Bill
Speaker 1: mr post and but if I say it with a smile and
Speaker 2: a sweetness, you always do it with a jovial sweetness,
Speaker 1: then then it doesn't introduce that artificial distance. And I think that sometimes they even appreciates that honorific that respect.
Speaker 1: So I think there's a lot of different ways you can play it. But the root of my advice always around titles and our advice. I think lizzie would agreement. You can ask people what they prefer and then honor that. And
Speaker 2: you can also always, I mean, I'm hoping your parents are around to ask, but you could ask your parents to I mean these are the people who have instilled the wonderful advice and and the
Speaker 2: attention to formality in you that they have and it's always good to say, hey, you know, I just wanted to check that I'm not being disrespectful by calling
Speaker 2: cousin brad, cousin brad and not calling him mr
Speaker 1: keeler, you know, I've heard you call this person on Lucky. She's technically my great, what do I call her? Call her on Lucky. Okay, thank you
Speaker 2: so easy, good luck adam. I love our next question because it's it's a question we actually get about our etiquette books often, but it's the podcast version of it.
Speaker 2: Hi lizzie and dan really enjoy the podcast. Like to listen to it on my commute. My question is if you enjoy an etiquette podcast and think some of your friends would enjoy it too, how would you recommend it to them without it sounding like you think they're rude and need etiquette help sincerely sh rena
Speaker 1: sharing the best question of the day by far. You know, I think you just got to be really honest with them. Tell them that you've discovered the best podcast you've ever heard ever, and that you really don't think that their life is going to be complete unless I give it a try.
Speaker 2: No. All jokes aside, it's really whether it's an etiquette book or whether it's an etiquette podcast or an etiquette show, it's totally appropriate to say, hey, this is something I've been really enjoying. I thought you'd like it to.
Speaker 2: There's no shame in it, you know, And if the other person says, hey, were you trying to to point something out to me, was there a hidden meaning? You can say, oh no, I just love it so much. But you know, like wouldn't that have been
Speaker 1: funny? I'll tell you. Um I sympathize there are podcast that I love and I try to get the people that are close to me to listen to them too so that we can talk about them together. And
Speaker 2: I am not going to listen to the Patriots podcast. I am a new Orleans Saints fan. It's
Speaker 1: been an uphill struggle with that assist Afeyan struggle. I I keep going for it. I keep trying. I keep reintroducing one of the reasons cereal with so much fun for me was there were a lot of other people listening to it too. And it really is fun to share the conversation. So I I appreciate the impulse and I wish you good luck and please do continue to share the
Speaker 1: share the word spread the news about this podcast because we love doing it.
Speaker 2: And remember too that you can always like put our podcast in with some of the other Infinite Guest podcast. So you can say I've found this awesome Infinite Guest network that has all these great podcasts. A couple of my favorites are
Speaker 2: because let's face it, we're a part of the greatest podcast community.
Speaker 2: Yes, shameless self promotion. Thank you for giving us the chance to do so serena
Speaker 1: serena, you are truly a champion of etiquette. Thank you so much for your question. A listener writes hi lizzie and dan during the holidays. I was invited by my son and daughter in law to spend it with them at her parents house.
Speaker 1: They have a close large family and are generous and gracious hosts.
Speaker 1: A few nights they planned dinners at local restaurants which included all their Children, their spouses, grandchildren and of course me,
Speaker 1: If it were just my hosts of course, one of the dinners I would have offered to pay for the entire dinner as a thank you for their hospitality. However, since the family was so large it would have been very expensive to pay for all of them. I felt at least I should have offered to pay for my own meal but didn't want to offend them. I also didn't want them to think that I just assumed they would pay for me since I was staying with them and being included in the family gatherings, finances are not an issue with them. And these dinners were not a hardship, but I still felt awkward about just letting them pay. Each time I asked my daughter in law if I could offer to at least pay my portion and she said she was sure they wouldn't accept it. What is the best way to handle the situation in the future if they invite me to stay again?
Speaker 1: I love being included in the family festivities but want to at least offer to pay my portion instead of worrying that I'm just taking advantage of their generosity without offending them.
Speaker 1: Thank you for your advice, Caroline
Speaker 2: Caroline dan and I read your email to us and just absolutely
Speaker 2: fell in love with you because you are doing everything. Your your your mind is totally coming from a place of respect and consideration and awareness of others and we can just hear it in every single sentence that you wrote. And I'm just so, I'm so,
Speaker 2: so pleased to answer this question basically. I think you've done everything you could next year. What I would try to do
Speaker 2: is um talk with them in advance and say it was so amazing. I'm so happy to be included. Your generosity is incredible. But I would love to have the opportunity to treat you to a meal
Speaker 2: or to do a meal, whether it's at home or at a restaurant, you know, for everyone. So if there's going to be the cousins and everyone included, maybe do a home cooked meal that's a little easier on your budget, but still something that incorporates everyone and you're the one taking care of it. So you can feel like you're contributing or you could say, you know, next time we visit, I would love to reserve one night where I can take you out to a really special dinner. Um and that way you can, you can get that, that reciprocation that you're looking for,
Speaker 2: but mostly accepting their generosity and showing your gratitude for it is the best thing that you can do. And aside from that, you know, a really spend an extra special hostess gift would be, you know another way. But I'm just envisioning this family. So many people at the holidays feel like,
Speaker 2: oh gosh, we're married now, it's going to be your family or my family. And I just love the thought of this family all
Speaker 1: together. Really nice,
Speaker 2: so happy
Speaker 1: when a couple can bring two families together. It's it's really remarkable. It's a really special thing and the care that you're taking with this situation really is it's heartwarming and the attention that you're giving to not taking advantage of this generosity I think is really it's appropriate.
Speaker 1: And at the same time you're concerned about not making a scene and making too big an issue out of too small a point at the wrong moment is also really,
Speaker 2: yes, I'm so glad she listened to her daughter in law and he kind of asked her first, we often say
Speaker 2: go to the person you're closest with and ask them what their parents are there someone would appreciate.
Speaker 1: As I'm listening to Lizzie's answer to you, she's talking about accepting and receiving generosity and that is that it's a real skill, it's not easy for everyone at the same time expressing gratitude.
Speaker 1: If there was ever a situation where your heartfelt and handwritten thank you note is going to be extra appreciated and probably judging by how you write really well done and crafted.
Speaker 1: Um I think this is one of those moments to to to not miss that opportunity and definitely the thoughtful hostess gift. Next time there, it might be a short weekend, big family, you might not have an opportunity to just get these folks alone and if you can I do think that's a great idea
Speaker 2: to send something afterwards.
Speaker 1: But
Speaker 1: but if their focus is really on the extended family for that, maybe it's a brief period of time. Um There are other ways you can acknowledge that thanks with a really nice hostess gift and a personalised handwritten thank you note and
Speaker 2: I do think it's something she could talk with her daughter in law about and say you know, I love this so much. If
Speaker 2: this is how your family would like to do it again next year. I just wanted to say I just want to make a mention that I'd love to do something you know during our time together.
Speaker 2: Um that way you can build it in early. I mean you don't have to do, it's february, you don't have to do it now. But you know as the holidays start to approach in september that sort of thing is people start thinking about where they're going to spend the holiday. It's a good time to approach that and put that desire on your own part to contribute and be a part of it and be gracious and and grateful about it.
Speaker 1: I really like how you're enlisting the daughter in law's aid. It's smart.
Speaker 2: I just I'm so happy for this family
Speaker 2: Anyway, Caroline thank you so much for writing to us and we hope that next year is just as wonderful as this year
Speaker 1: for you during the holidays, Many years after that.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 1: You hear that? She says you're not as rude as you used to be.
Speaker 2: What do you know?
Speaker 1: Thanks
Speaker 2: to everyone for sending in your questions and remember we love updates if we answered your questions on the show or if you have a comment about one of our questions, feel free to send it in. You can also submit your question to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com or send it in via facebook or twitter. Just remember to use the hashtag awesome etiquette
Speaker 2: so that we know you want your question on the show
Speaker 2: for our post script social studies all segment today. Well, we're calling this one the awesome etiquette mailbag because we are dipping into our mail bag or inbox, whatever you'd like to call it. We have updates for you as well as some comments to share.
Speaker 2: Um we received possibly one of the most beautifully written thank you notes I've ever gotten from our dear friend Austin. If you remember, Austin was the gentleman who wrote in to us, we saved his question for the Stephen Petro show and he talked about whether or not to let all the folks saying that they would love to hook him up with a great girl,
Speaker 2: um whether or not to tell them actually I have a boyfriend, I'm all set, thank you very much.
Speaker 2: And Austin wrote to us to a thank us for our advice and be um let us know that he would be bringing his boyfriend to an event um which was sort of I thought the boldest, but also in a lot of ways classiest
Speaker 2: of Stephen's advice to Austin and I loved that that was the option that Austin had selected. So
Speaker 2: it was really wonderful to hear that from Austin and to hear that things are going well for him and that it was successful.
Speaker 1: Indeed, thank you for that update. Austin much appreciate
Speaker 2: it.
Speaker 2: Uh the next comment that we had is in response to our question about working out at a college gym and wondering how to handle people talking on their cell phones. Um
Speaker 2: our listener wrote, Dear Lizzie and dan, I hope this message finds you both well I love the podcast, which I stumbled on by happenstance several weeks ago and enjoy on my commute.
Speaker 2: My question arose after listening to episode 20, where you offered some advice to a listener in regards to treadmill neighbors being on the phone. After hearing the question,
Speaker 2: I thought almost nothing in the situation. But after listening to your discourse, it was clear that people may have very different norms. You've spoken before about how etiquette differs in various regions and that it may change over time. And this concept fascinates me. You see I'm a millennial and a candidate for Master's in sociology and cell phone usage norms are something that come up in my head, often
Speaker 2: when hanging out with friends, I often take note of how much people use their phones, where they set their phones etcetera. From what I've witnessed, many people in my generation have a tendency to interact with their world through multi dimensional engagement and too many of us, it is completely normal. This all leads me to my question
Speaker 2: if the gym at this college is full of millennials like me who don't view talking on your cell phone on a treadmill, non norm violating rude behavior. I loved the way he phrase that, wouldn't it then be bad etiquette to ask them to stop. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, thank you in advance for your time and consideration best, Justin. What do you think about what Justin says? Because we do talk about how a lot of it is, about the culture that you're in and if you are at the gym, and I think that's what you said when you answer the question, if you're at a gym where this rule is acceptable,
Speaker 1: it's funny, we we put it out that maybe you're in a college athletic facility that probably is filled with millennials and digital natives, the way Justin's describing here and that that might be the norm there, it might be an uphill battle and not a battle you want to fight to try to get people to not use their cell phones on treadmills.
Speaker 2: But the question is,
Speaker 2: is that the rule at this gym
Speaker 2: or is it, I think what he's getting at is is it just the culture that's emerged at this gym? And I think that's the key difference. If it's a rule at this gym that you are allowed to talk on your cell phones and that's the culture the facility has said is going to be part of the culture, then it's okay.
Speaker 2: But if it's just what emerges out of
Speaker 2: commonality, I'm not
Speaker 1: so sure. Is it the lowest common denominator? Or is it the wisdom of crowds? And, and and that's that's ever the question. I love the subtlety of this reply because um, Justin's wrestling with how these norms change over time and how you can we do
Speaker 2: to just this
Speaker 1: is what we do. Justin how do you assess the utility of a manner that's coming or going from fashion? Does it still work? Or doesn't it? And
Speaker 1: um, the criteria that we use at the Emily Post Institute, how does it serve human relationships? And ultimately we think of etiquette as social architecture. And so when we're trying to ask that question ourselves, is this traditional etiquette still useful? Um, oftentimes
Speaker 1: it's it's the utility of that, that manner to relationships that helps us assess and answer that question well,
Speaker 1: um, the cellphone question is one where where we find that really putting the primacy of human relationship first and foremost often means putting that cell phone down, deprogramming that Pavlovian response to that little chime that goes off and gives us such rewards and
Speaker 2: being aware of the people around you. And this is still negative. This, this one sided conversation that we hear is often still
Speaker 2: a negative experience for the people around you. And it's why we haven't yet said, okay,
Speaker 2: commonality in this environment trump's
Speaker 1: exactly and the experience, we're not let its we're not trying to arrest history and and and and
Speaker 2: not move forward.
Speaker 1: Exactly. In fact, the heart of good etiquette is also practical. So it's important to ask these questions and to think about norms and how they change and evolve.
Speaker 1: Um, I will also just tell you that having been doing this business now for eight years, I find more and more often some of the clues that we find in traditional etiquette and behavior
Speaker 1: um really provide uh, some kind of guide in new and uncharted territory that I'm I'm less quick to abandon some of those traditional etiquette. And I find myself more and more often looking for what the heart of that traditional etiquette is and how it applies in the current situation.
Speaker 2: Is that an eloquent way of saying you're getting old
Speaker 1: maybe?
Speaker 2: Anyway,
Speaker 1: Justin, thank you for the thoughtful reply. Um and let's continue this discussion.
Speaker 2: Yeah. You know, as time goes on, we'll see, we'll see what the answer turns into, but for now we still think we're on the mark with saying that it's really best to put the cell phone down or to think about how
Speaker 2: your behavior on a cellphone affects the people most
Speaker 2: closest to you. Who can hear what
Speaker 1: you do in proximity. With our next comment comes from serena and it's in regards to our questions from broke, who asked about tipping norms?
Speaker 2: Broke was the one who was often seeing her friends tip 40% and she just couldn't afford tipping that much. She wanted permission to tip the normal 15 to 20
Speaker 1: percent. Exactly.
Speaker 1: Shereen is wondering, I was quite surprised by your recent podcast where you seem to say that it was never under any circumstances appropriate not to tip at a restaurant. Could you clarify this a bit? Are you really saying that even if the service is absolutely terrible, you still need to tip 15 and talk to the manager.
Speaker 1: I'm british. So the whole tipping thing is different here anyway, but this just didn't seem right to me.
Speaker 1: I suppose. I feel like when you pay for a service, any service that that service is not performed up to standard, you shouldn't have to pay for it. So if I got a horrible haircut, that wasn't what I asked for, I wouldn't pay for it, not full price, at least. Similarly when I paid for a packing service when I moved house and they didn't incomplete job, I refused to pay for the full cost of the service.
Speaker 1: I don't quite understand why you seem to be saying that waiters and waitresses are the only exception to this, even if they do a horrible job, they should still be paid the same.
Speaker 1: Thanks
Speaker 2: dan. I actually, you have a great answer for this. So I'm going to toss this right back to you.
Speaker 1: There's a rock solid iron clad social contract when you eat out in America that you're going to tip for service. And that tip is thought of as part of the wage that the server earns. Its not a little gratuity, it's not something extra.
Speaker 1: It really is um It's built into the system the way the restaurant industry works in the United States, that servers count on those tips. They are not protected by minimum wage laws. Uh They don't earn a minimum wage and they pay taxes on those tips. That's how that's how integrated that tipping system is into the way that we, the way that we pay service and and wait staff in the United States
Speaker 2: and this maybe this isn't the right way to think about it but the D. A. Just popped into my head so I'm going to toss it out there.
Speaker 2: Um Have you ever had a bad day at work where you didn't do your best?
Speaker 1: I think that's a really good, Did your
Speaker 2: salary get cut because of it on that particular day? Did you notice a dip in it? And it's granted? I know, I know the answer to this is, hey, you know, we're talking about a service industry where
Speaker 2: you know, hey, when I do a really great job at work, it's not like I get a bonus for every single awesome thing I do above and beyond,
Speaker 2: but I do think that it's important to recognize that we really try to take,
Speaker 2: Um to not let your money do you're speaking for you and when we start giving out the advice that you should um tip less five or a penny, something insulting to really let them know
Speaker 2: you're really trying to use a monetary system to deliver bad news as opposed to your words. And I think we really come down on the side of clarity is important and it's important to talk to that manager and say, you know, I came here expecting the best. I didn't get it.
Speaker 2: Um, often that's when the manager will do something and say, you know, either they'll give you a voucher or something. I'm not saying that you do it with the intention of getting
Speaker 2: the payback. I do say that you do it with the intention of saying,
Speaker 2: I was disappointed in what I thought was going to be a good experience than it was
Speaker 1: in the spirit of what you raised in your question that if you pay for a service or something and it's not delivered or Yeah, no, that's the time that you talked to the establishment. You talked to the owner and you try to come to some,
Speaker 2: you come from a much better place if you hold up your end of the deal than you do.
Speaker 2: If you act badly in return to negatives do not make an etiquette positive. And
Speaker 1: we get a lot of questions about tipping. So we always appreciate the opportunity to clarify dive a little deeper reinforce the point.
Speaker 2: And one day maybe America will change its system and it will make more sense
Speaker 1: which topic for future podcast could be coming. If you talk about the way etiquette trends change and things evolve over time, I see the more european system may be emerging here at some
Speaker 2: point. I like
Speaker 1: it. Social courtesy does pay, doesn't it? Thanks.
Speaker 1: Our etiquette salute today comes from a listener. It begins hi lizzie and dan. I'd like to nominate my great neighbor Karen for an etiquette salute. I regularly borrow library books and DvDS as a library volunteer. Karen often finds herself there. She often offers to return items for me when she's there.
Speaker 1: As you may know, like Vermont boston has a lot of snow recently. We do know it's a big problem down there
Speaker 1: while Karen offered to return things this week whether kept her from getting over there as quickly as she'd hoped. As a result, two of the items were a day or two late. Karen not only covered the small fine, but left me a note and closing the receipt so I could make sure the credit was awarded to my
Speaker 2: account so she didn't have to pay double. Having Karen paid it,
Speaker 2: she wouldn't also have to pay it
Speaker 1: really thoughtful. It's so great to have lovely neighbors like Karen, love the show, Jamie, thank you so much Jamie, That is exactly the kind of etiquette salute we love and appreciate here. And I'll tell you, I was just recently appreciating my neighbor who plows my driveway for me every time. The car is not there and here's to good neighbors everywhere. A big etiquette salute to all of those folks out there who continue to give neighbors a good name.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Oh
Speaker 1: well. Now wasn't that better? Look at the effect of a little politeness.
Speaker 1: Mm
Speaker 2: Well that's our show for today as always. Thank you for listening and spending some of your day with us. We hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. We hope to one day be called the click and clack of etiquette, but we need your help to make our show as great as car talk. So send us your questions, your etiquette salutes
Speaker 2: and your suggestions to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com.
Speaker 2: Did you actually know that? Click and clack mention Emily Post at one point. They did their little thing where they say that they're a part of NPR whatever it is and they say an Emily Post would drop her fork to hear us say it. And I swear to you, I almost drove up the
Speaker 1: road when I heard that
Speaker 2: anyway,
Speaker 2: if you like what you hear, don't be shy tweeted facebook post and of course you can subscribe on Itunes and leave us a review on facebook where the Emily Post Institute
Speaker 2: and on twitter.
Speaker 1: I'm at daniel underscore
Speaker 2: post and I'm at lizzie a post. Or you can visit our website Emily Post dot com. Our theme music was composed and performed by bob Wagner