Michelle Slatalla
Michelle Slatalla believes the first rule of good manners is forgiving those with bad ones, if they show a desire to improve. And she hopes everyone to whom she still owes a wedding gift thank-you note (from 1988) agrees. A former columnist for the New York Times, where she wrote for 12 years about digital culture and family life, she also has written regular columns for Time, Hallmark, Rosie and Lifetime magazines, as well as an online column for the Discovery Channel. After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in journalism, her first job was as a newspaper reporter at Newsday. She also earned a master’s degree in English from Columbia University, where she currently teaches journalism.

She recently traded in a house and a garden in Northern California for an apartment in Manhattan, where she lives with her husband, her youngest daughter, and two little dogs with big ears. Her two other daughters, who begged her to get the dogs and promised to walk them every day and every night, have gone off to college.

Recent Posts By Michelle Slatalla

Defining ‘Chivalry’ in the Modern World

A reader named MarkWA, who was raised by a father who taught him it’s polite to hold open doors, lift heavy things for others and pay for restaurant meals to which he has invited someone, wrote last week to say my latest Real Simple column about chivalry offended him. “To imply that my holding the door for someone or lifting […]

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‘R u on the toilet right now? Me too’

After two decades as a wife and mother, I thought I had pretty much seen it all in the “weird behavior” department. Then some of my family members (who know who you are) got addicted to texting in the toilet. It started one time after the phone rang and I got a text—“can u answer that, i am busy”— from […]

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Call Me ‘Mrs. Rockefeller’ (My Husband Does)

My husband is a reasonable man. After all, he generally can be counted on to agree with me when it comes to the big issues in life. For instance, we both believe that babies should be able to sleep through the night by the time they weigh 12 pounds; that Labrador retriever puppies are the most irresistible creatures on earth, […]

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Mother in Law’s Lament: ‘They Left Me Out’

How do in-laws avoid hurt feelings? LostMom13 wrote to say she felt snubbed because her daughter-in-law’s family didn’t invite her to attend a christening. “My son and DIL were godparents,” LostMom13 wrote. “This was a family affair of my DIL’s, and I am usually included. Am I wrong to feel hurt?” I doubt anyone was purposely trying to hurt your […]

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How to Explain Why Mommy and Daddy Don’t Live Together Anymore: Blog It

I think the phrase we’re supposed to use to describe what happens when a blogger publicly reveals the most intimate details of her personal life is: “full disclosure.” But how do you describe the urge that prompted the revelation? A few days ago, readers of the popular mommy blog at Dooce.com learned that blogger Heather Armstrong and her husband (previously […]

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Manicures, Anyone? (How to Get Rid of a Tagalong Boyfriend)

A reader named idlemusings wrote to say it bothers her that one of her girlfriends always asks, before the two of them spend time together, if it’s OK for her boyfriend to tag along. “While we’ve all known each other for many years and I enjoy his company, sometimes I just want some girl time,” idlemusings wrote. “How do I […]

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‘Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?’

I had the pleasure last week of interviewing etiquette maven Henry Alford, whose new book title is a question we’ve all wanted to ask: “Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?” Henry’s focus is of particular interest to me because Real Simple’s readers, I told him, rarely ask how to improve their own manners; they’re typically more concerned about […]

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Anybody Up for #BeNiceDecade?

Thank you, everybody, for weighing in during Real Simple’s Be Nice on the Internet Week with so many excellent suggestions about how to improve civility online.  It’s hard to pick favorites from among your tweets, email messages and comments, but here are a few of your tips I can’t resist repeating: On Twitter, reader @EtiquettePage asked: “Are you using your […]

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#BeNiceWeek: Is Your Cell Phone a Menace to Society?

The last public place you want to hear your cell phone ringing is in a concert hall, where the finely tuned acoustics will amplify  your mistake. But that’s exactly what happened at a New York Philharmonic concert a couple of nights ago, when a marimba ring tone suddenly began to compete with Mahler’s Ninth Symphony near the end of the […]

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Can u Read ths txt? do u want 2?

I got a strange text from my friend Rahel the other morning, just as Real Simple’s Be Nice on the Internet Week was getting underway. She wrote: “What or rather WHO is Scruttie?” The answer is obvious, at least to members of my family. “Scruttie” is an interchangeable —and until now, secret—nickname that we use to address each other. It’s […]

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