more about: etiquette

Engagement Party: “No Gifts, Please”

A reader named Claudia writes, “I have been invited to an engagement party and the invitation states ‘no gifts, your presence is our gift.’ Do I go without something, or what would be appropriate to take?” It is never required to take a gift to an engagement party, which traditionally is an occasion for both sides of the family and […]

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Smooching and Groping in Public

“I have a long-term friend, a 50-year-old bachelor who just started dating a girl, who is nearly 50. When I visit them, they frequently start making out and clawing at each other, sometimes even sharing the same spot on the couch with her on top of him,” writes a reader named SocialB. SocialB finds the behavior disgusting: “I have to leave […]

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Your Cousin’s Grandchildren are Beautiful. Period.

This week’s question comes from KidSundance, who is worried about what to say at an upcoming family reunion if shown a photo of a cousin’s grandchildren: “I am white. I am not a racist, and am very open-minded about race, race relations, etc. “So, please understand that this is a question about etiquette in which, as always, my concern is for […]

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Airplane Etiquette: Please Stop Kicking My Seat

With the summer travel season underway, it’s likely you’re going to sit near a passenger who plays music too loudly or kicks your seat or refuses to shift a bag in an overhead bin to make room for yours. How would you respond? Results to a recent Travel Leaders Group survey of 800 people, reported recently in the New York […]

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Party Food With a Pit: Now What?

As we head into the heart of the summer barbecue season, here’s one of those perennially tricky etiquette situations we’re all going to have to confront: “How do you properly eat an olive with a seed in the middle—or a cherry—when you are at a party?” wrote a reader named MJ. That’s actually a great question, MJ. There was a […]

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Nothing Personal, I Just Don’t Want to Sit Next to You

We could all use a little extra legroom. But is it rude to move away from a seat mate to get some? “I have witnessed this behavior frequently and can’t tell which category it falls into,” wrote a reader named Caitlin. “When the bus or train is packed full, every seat is taken. But when a good number of people […]

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Hitting Up People for Money? Bad Idea.

“My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary,” a reader named Deanna wrote. “Their dream vacation is to go to Hawaii.  My sister, brother, and I would like to help, but don’t have all the funds necessary.” Deanna asked, “Would it be tacky to solicit contributions to such a trip from their friends? We don’t see how else they could […]

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Stay Out of My Love Life, Mom

Today’s question comes from a reader named Anne, who wrote: “My mom is always offering relationship advice, which I appreciate, but since her two marriages failed, her advice can often be pessimistic or insulting to my fiance.” Anne wondered, “How do I tell her to gently back off without insulting her?” This is tricky, Anne, because your mother has your […]

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Is Her Parking Ticket My Responsibility?

When are you obligated to chip in to help a friend? “Recently, a friend drove me and two other pals to an event. Afterwards we returned to find a parking ticket on the car’s windshield,” wrote a reader named Cynthia. “One person said that she would help pay for the parking ticket. I, too, said I would chip in,” Cynthia […]

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Please Stop That #$% Cursing

Where the hell do you draw the line against swearing? In one Massachusetts town, you’ll pay a $20 fine if you’re caught cursing in public. Residents of Middleborough, MA voted this week in favor (by a margin of more than 3-to-1) of imposing a fine against profanity, in an effort to crack down on people who curse loudly in public […]

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