more about: etiquette

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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Stop Asking Me if I Got Your Email

The great thing about email used to be that I could send it whenever I wanted and you could reply when it was convenient. No more. “As our inboxes have become more demanding, we have all become less responsive — because we get so many messages it’s hard to keep up. But the harder it is to keep up, the […]

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It Wasn’t a Gift, It was a Loan…Now What?

This week’s etiquette question is from a reader named Lori, who wrote: “I lent an acquaintance a baby stroller more than a year ago. Although I don’t need the stroller right now, I did assume I’d get it back at some point…” “I’m starting to wonder if she thought it was a gift,” Lori wrote. “How can I tastefully inquire […]

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A Priest and a Rabbi Walk onto a Facebook Page…

“How do I deal with people who make rude or inappropriate comments on my Facebook posts (think: off-color religious or political jokes)?” writes a reader who asked to remain anonymous. “These are not close friends—sometimes people I barely know but am connected with online. I worry it’s offensive to delete their comments, but I don’t want other people in my […]

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