My question is about breast hugging.
Recently I had reconstruction on both of my breasts following mastectomies. Prior to the operations I was a very physical and hugging type of person. Like a bear, I warmly responded to practically everyone with outstretched arms.
Now I’m afraid to hug people because my reconstructed breasts are too firm. Even my husband and kids tease me. I’m wondering how to use body language to show people that I wanna’ hug, but leave my breasts out of it?
My question is about sending a thank-you note for an interview.
We are applying our eldest son to nursery schools. It is a very competitive environment and because most of the spots are being held for legacies, we’re looking to put our best feet forward. There is one school in particular where we’ve been told Timmy is at the top of the waitlist and we’re wondering how to stand out.
Specifically, I would like to know about sending thank-you notes as follow up to the interviews. We have had no paper contact with the schools, meaning no stamped envelopes in the mailbox from them, because all the communication has been on the phone or through email.
I dutifully sent heartfelt thank-you emails to every school within a week of the interview, but now I’m wondering if I should have written handwritten letters mailed in envelopes and stamped. Should I write a more personal handwritten note?
–BM, San Francisco, CA
- Thank the person for the privilege of their time.
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Any tips to getting ahead without appearing too pushy? I’m bored with my job and I’m looking to find a more satisfying one within the same organization. I love what I do and I know I could make more money and take on more responsibility, but I lack the confidence to push ahead.
When I asked a colleague higher up on the food chain for advice, he said to keep my nose to the grindstone, but he didn’t say how long it would be before I’d see results. I’m taking classes after work and on weekends to strengthen my skills. What more should I be doing? Should I look for another job and quit?
- Don't quite until you have another job.
- Don't make excuses for mistakes and negligence.
- Don't wait for permission to act, steam ahead.
- Don't be a know-it-all when your boss is older.
- Don't look for unwanted attention.
- Don't duck conflict.
- Don't be needy for praise.
- Don't put off tasks.
- Don't pass judgment on others.
- Don't let a lack of resources get in your way.
- Don't act too laid-back and comfortable.
If Donald Trump is so rude, crude and arrogant in his tweets and in public, one wonders what kind of correspondence, personal letters and thank-you notes, he writes? Are we to take these quotes literally or figuratively?
–Arlene, Detroit, MI
- The way you treat people who are not rich or famous inevitably indicates how you manage your manners.
- Indeed, his biographer calls him "The Last Gentleman." As Jon Meacham points out in DESTINY AND POWER: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, President Bush "garbled" his words, "His verbal exploits could be awkward and often confusing."
As much as I dearly love my wife and can even tolerate her friends, I agonize over small talk. Most of her friends are amusing, but not intellectual. Any suggestions for easing my stress over having to make small talk?
–PW, Far Hills, NJ
- One of the secrets to being a good politician is being able to engage in "Only You" attention.
- Look for ways to connect through common interests that include: sports, travel, movies, restaurants, hobbies, children, pets, astronomy, history, literature, etc.
- Studies show that connecting through a common interest eventually leads to deeper conversation about business and relationships.
- The president with good manners listens.
- Lyndon Johnson didn't like listening to people in social settings. According to biographer Robert Caro, LBJ would doze off at dinner parties and would only revive if he had the floor.
- Nixon was clueless regarding manners witnessed by the horrible jokes he told at parties: "Why did the farmer bring the bucket of shit into the living room?"
- Nixon and Kennedy, who were both Navy men, used a lot of profanity privately.
- LBJ used crudity as an elaborate and interesting social tool, according to journalist Lance Morrow.
- Carter never used profanity.
- Reagan, a known jokester, liked to make innocent dirty jokes.
- Nixon was clueless about manners and had no small talk at all.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt apparently was a genius at making small talk.
- In fact, having the gift of making small talk may be a valuable life skill that enriches and enforces relationships.
- Small talk can be used to set boundaries with someone you really don't want to be with. The object of course is to make them go away.
- When you're in the midst of an enthusiastic conversation, the energy can be seductive.
A colleague and fellow scholar contacted me about getting together on what seemed like a quasi date. I say quasi because it was a professional event to which he was buying the tickets.
At the last moment I let him know that I couldn’t keep the date because of a family emergency, and that I wouldn’t be meeting him outside the event space.
I’ve since tried several times to connect with him, because I would really like us to spend time together. However, he is not answering my emails.
I’ve now sent him two suggesting we meet up. In both I apologized for being a no-show.
How long do I wait before contacting him again. Should I even keep trying?
–Katherine, Washington, D.C.
Wondering about the good manners between the president and the first lady, what do you think of these photos?
Why did Trump leave Melanie behind?
My question concerns table manners dating.
My boyfriend has the most annoying habit of picking food off my plate and eating it. I want to say, “Here, help yourself,” and hand him my plate. Even though I’ve asked him time and again to kick the habit my plea doesn’t register. How do I get him to be more polite?
- A butter plate or salad plate will do.
- Then when you notice him eyeing your food, make your move.
- He's zeroing into exactly what tidbit looks the most mouth-watering.
- Wedge off a piece of your grilled tuna with your knife and fork, scoop up a generous bite with your fork, place the tuna on the small plate, and handing it to him gently say, "Here, what else would you like to sample?"
- To quote the British author Peter Mayle, "Good manners make any man a pleasure to be with. Ask any woman."
There are three of us in this relationship and it presents a major hurtle in dating. My girlfriend is addicted to her cellphone. It’s like having another person in the room whom she can’t take her eyes off. Even at a restaurant her phone is on the table and she periodically reads messages. For example, we can be in mid-conversation about the fact that my dad is dying and she’ll start texting or eyeing social media.
I would say that this is the opposite of sexting, texting during a serious face-to-face conversation! I keep asking her to put her phone away, but she’ll say, “It’s business,” which I would bet it is not.
How can I communicate with her that I wish she would pay more attention to me and less to her screen? Last night she fell asleep with her cellphone in her hand.
–RC, Brooklyn, NY
- You know how she feels, since the consequence for you is that she ignores you.
- Talk about the patterns that set off her anxiety and addiction and compare them to gambling or having an abusive friend or partner.
- There is nothing inherently wrong with her texting, emailing and using social media, because they provide a platform for not only her need to be connected on the one hand, but also for her addiction to watch and monitor others, and better still, for her need to be seen, heard from, remembered, monitored, judged and praised by others.
- It is natural to want to know how much others mean to her, and how much she wants to mean something to them, because these are instincts embraced and followed by her circle of friends.
- The screen doesn't flicker on the night-table but from across the room on your bureau. (There are those who believe sleeping next to, or carrying a cellphone close to the body, is dangerous, because your cellphone is connected to satellites that radiate harmful energy.)
- At meals, neither of you use your phones but you can see when your babysitter or dad is trying to communicate with you.
- At bedtime, your phones are not next to your bed.
- Neither of you answer emails after six o'clock at night.
- Make time to spend a couple of hours in a natural environment.
- Gauge how much time you spend in face-to-face conversation not looking at a screen.
We never see or hear Mr. Trump laughing. It’s interesting that he doesn’t laugh because scientists tell us that laughing is a highly sophisticated social signaling system that helps us to bond and negotiate, and Trump takes great pride in his negotiation skills.
This isn’t actually an etiquette question, but more of a comment about social skills. Why doesn’t Trump ever laugh?
–GH, Boston, MA
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What is going on with protocol in the Oval Office? Kellyanne Conway has made it her personal salon.
She is tucked up on the couch feet-less and calves-less with her bare knees and thighs — sitting on her feet — in an attention-grabbing pose.
Meanwhile dignitaries, university chancellors from historically black colleges, gaze on in astonishment as the White House photographer takes photos of Ms. Conway in a “look-at-me texting” pose.
Is this correct professional behavior? She is as unhinged as Trump.
–JL, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Help! What do you do when you’re stuck between two people at a business conference dinner and they talk — the for whole two hours — to each other over you. I was stuck through a long evening of speeches, long applauses, and dreadful waits between courses suffering under the barrage of conversation between the guy on my left and the guy on my right. Would it be rude to have left the table? I really wanted to get out from under.
–LM, Atlanta, GA
- LM, you could have excused yourself to use the restroom, but really to search for the prospect of a more interesting dinner partner.
- At the very least, if neither had wanted to switch chairs with you they would have gotten the not-so-subtle hint that they needed to include you in their conversation.
In trying to restore a friendship by apologizing, I think I made the situation even worse by making too big of a deal about my mistake. No matter how hard I tried to explain the situation from my point of view, I didn’t come away with the feeling that my saying, “I’m sorry,” was enough to mend fences. How do you convince someone that you are really sorry?
–Irene, Portland, OR
- The most authentic apologies are short.
- Don't include an explanation in your apology, because it undoes the apology.
- Never ask for forgiveness, the offended may accept the apology but probably won't forget the wrongdoing.
- Never say, "I'm sorry you feel that way," because it moves the focus away from the person apologizing by yo-yo-ing "I'm sorry" into "I'm not really feeling all that sorry."
- Listen to the offended person and don't "interrupt, argue, refute, or correct facts, or bring up your own criticisms and complaints," says Dr. Lerner.
- Apologize for the offense, no matter how small your part may have been.
I met a wonderful man on social media and after six months of back and forth messaging, we’ve starting dating. In his online photos he is clean-shaven. On our first date, it was a shock to meet him in the flesh hiding behind a hipster mustache and beard.
I must confess to being somewhat of a germaphobe and awfully disturbed by news reports of studies comparing the amount of bacteria in public toilets to those in men’s beards that show that most toilets are more hygienic than beards! How do I bring up the problem of his beard?
–LWL, Boston, MA
- Apparently, as long as proper hygiene is consistently maintained, most beards contain normal levels of bacteria and, in fact, keeping clean and not being clean-shaven could be the key to better health.
- Beards can trap dirt and germs more easily, but if your friend is well-groomed, his beard and mustache will be clean, too.
- You certainly should suggest that he updates his social media photos.
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