more about: relationships

Should You Send a Gift to a Wedding You Can’t Attend?

This week’s etiquette question came from HeatherMLee, who must decline an invitation to her niece’s wedding because it is too far for her to travel. She asked: “What is the appropriate thing to do, gift wise, if you cannot attend?” You should send a gift, HeatherMLee, to anyone who invites you to her wedding. Look at the situation this way: […]

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Wanted: “He Is Such a Role Model for Men”

Over the weekend I was reading a story in the New York Times about Sheryl Sandberg, she of Facebook fame, Silicon Valley royalty, and—soon—more than a billion dollars. The article was about how Sandberg is much more than Facebook’s COO; she has become a role model for women everywhere, in the world of technology and beyond. She has two young children […]

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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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Five Battles That Aren’t Worth Fighting With Teenagers, and Five That Are

A highly subjective list, from this mother of three boys: It is not worth fighting over… 1) Wearing a winter coat instead of that flimsy springlike thing, even though it is 25 degrees. 2) Rearranging his room so it’s more aesthetically pleasing to you. 3) Cutting his hair in a way that’s more aesthetically pleasing to you. 4) The ability […]

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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: To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

How to behave politely on Twitter is one question Hamlet did not have to face. In retrospect, the prince of Denmark got off easy, because the only sticky social situations he had to navigate were how to deal with his father’s murderer, his mother’s adultery and his own feelings of inadequacy. But if Shakespeare’s most famous hero also had to parse […]

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