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I need to apologize to someone and I just can’t bring myself around to making the actual apology by saying that I’m sorry. It doesn’t help that I’m being pressured by others to apologize. The walls are closing in. Any advice?
- Nor does an honest apology mean telling the person that you're "sorry that they feel that way," or that you're "sorry that you've chosen to take offense," because, of course, that puts the blame on the other person.
- Saying you're sorry is only the first step. Next you've got to make it alright by rectifying the mistake.
- Don't procrastinate a moment longer, because bad feelings fester.
- Ask if you can meet in person. When that's not possible, pick up the phone. Remember that a voicemail, text, or email saying that you're sorry won't have the backbone of a one-on-one conversation.
- Make sure that the apology takes places in private.
- No matter how awful you feel, do NOT turn the blame around onto the other person.
- Reiterate with a follow up message. Sending a gift shouldn't be necessary unless you've inadvertently destroyed something irreplaceable.
In preparing to make a speech, what should I be anticipating? I’ve made the speech before, but afterward I wondered if I would be as lucky next time. My sympathies are with British Prime Minister Theresa May, who certainly hadn’t planned on having an allergy attack while making a speech recently.
- Don't freeze up or panic.
- Accept whatever interruption happens.
- Don't think about how you look, your audience really does want you to succeed.
- Throw your shoulders back and keep them that way while smiling.
- Acknowledge the interruption and when your audience is ready continue.
- Find out who you would turn to if something did go wrong, such as the sound system and remember their first name. Publicly thank them for their help.
- Never blame anyone for the distraction. Just be polite. Grace under stress is an endearing quality.
- At the end of the day, you want to roll with the punches and go with the flow. Look at interruptions as distractions for an opportunity for levity and a blessing in disguise to show adaptability, humor, and most of all, that you're human.
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–MC, Washington, DC
- While playing golf Trump criticizes the mayor of a city underwater from a catastrophic hurricane for "poor leadership." The rest of the world refers to it as a "Medical Crisis," because "The Whole Island Is Critical."
- To make it worse, without compassion Trump adds insult to injury by complaining that the victims of the hurricane "want everything to be done for them."
- Further to the insult, after throwing paper towels at the victims, he tells them they should be "very proud" that only 16 victims died already.
- Whether he's attacking a senator battling cancer or making reference to a supreme court justice as a "judicial prostitute," his behavior is despicable.
- He stoops so low as to call transgender children part of "Satan's plan." Come on...
- What's presidential about calling the White House "a real dump"? And inviting to the Oval Office a friend who threatened to assassinate President Obama and called him a "subhuman mongrel"? Don't forget, Trump called his opponent a "worthless bitch?" Really, who talks like that? Certainly not the president? Even if he is calling for an investigation of his opponent seven months after winning the election.
- At tax payers' expense, Trump spends one day in three promoting his properties where a photo of him on the cover of Time magazine applauding his business successes is hung on the walls. How tacky is that?
- He shows no respect whatsoever for the survivors of victims of 9/11 and the 20 school children who were massacred in Newtown, CT., by awarding press credentials to a website that claims both incidents were "a hoax."
- Mocking the mayor of London for his cautious, serious reaction to a terrorist attack, doesn't win us friends abroad.
- Nor does hogging a photo opportunity with another head of state by shoving him aside during a NATO meeting in Brussels.
- Did you know that it is a known fact that Trump is caught in a lie on an average of more that five times a day?
Should vegans date meat-eaters? Is it too much of an issue in a relationship? I’m actually afraid to include the fact that I’m vegan on my dating web site profile, out of fear that I will be perceived as being too finicky. But when I find out after falling in love with some guy online that he’s a real meat-eater, I can’t imagine what life with him would be like?
–Annie, Brooklyn, NY
- Communication is key: In an un-preachy way, people need to know how important veganism is to you. It's about others being able to understand where you're coming from. If you're going to live together you totally need to be clear about what you are and are not OK with.
- For instance, would you mind having any non-vegan products in the house? If that's potentially going to be a huge issue, he should know that because it won't make sense buying two of everything.
- Would you ever cook meat for him?
- If he doesn't understand why you're a vegan or disses you for it, then you're wasting your time on him.
- In that case, you might want to look into Grazer, a dating app for herbivores.
How do you react to rudeness? Do you respond by being rude back? Do you call the person out about their rude behavior? Or do you simply ignore the person?
–Arlene, Philadelphia, PA
- Respond with rudeness: What do you do when someone is rude to you? Fight fire with fire? Tweet with an even more offensive retort? No, social media tweets are not an artform, but simply a way to let off steam. Don't bother with sarcasm or aggression as it won't help you professionally. If the person is habitually rude, at another time when you've simmered down, talk to him/her about texting during meetings, or being perpetually late for dates.
- Call him/her out on their rudeness: If you confront the person about their rudeness, do it humorously or politely. Use tact. "How are doing?" "What's up with you?" It goes without saying that you wouldn't confront the person in front of colleagues or socially.
- Ignore the rudeness: Especially if it is a single incident, thoughtlessness, or sheer ignorance, such as picking their nose. Exception would be if it was an ongoing problem that needed to be addressed. In that case the issue will only fester and get progressively worse if ignored. So, it would be better to have a polite conversation.
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I’m someone who is always making faux pas.
Nobody is a bigger klutz than I am. When I can’t remember a person’s name at a conference, fall-over an antique end table at a holiday party, or arrive home to find food on my new tie that hadn’t been there when I left, I’m mortified that I may have been walking around with this unseemly splotch. What do you say after “I’m sorry”?
- When you've forgotten someone's name: In a group setting socially or in business, bring someone else into the conversation and the two other people will introduce themselves to each other when you say, "Do you two know each other?" Or ask for her/his business card or to enter their contact info into your phone. Lastly, admit that you're having a "senior moment."
- When you've taken a fall in public: As quickly as possible stand up and shake it off with a laugh. Humor and humility go hand in hand. Before wearing new shoes to an event, scuff up the soles by wearing them outside the house first.
- When you spill a drink or food: We're all human and we all make mistakes. Make a fast recovery by offering to clean up or pay for the dry cleaning, if you happen to have spilled red wine on your colleague's skirt-suit. A bit of humor goes a long way in relieving the sense of embarrassment that you feel. The same goes for those witnesses who feel for you.
- When you've forgotten a birthday, social event or left a good friend off your guest list: With great sincerity say, "Please, forgive me." Even with the best of intensions sometimes we find ourselves so busy that we forget an important milestone, occasion or good friend.
- When you discover anything you wouldn't want a boss or lover to see: Check your privacy settings on all social media outlets and delete, delete any post, photo or video that could be potentially embarrassing whether it involves alcohol, drugs, too much flesh, sex, or is too religious or too politically left or right wing.
- When you've mistakenly responded to Reply All: In a group email, if you make a misstate send a follow-up email apologizing or make it more personal with a phone call or a short notecard.
- When you falsely assume someone is pregnant: Never assume anyone is pregnant, has been pregnant, and will be pregnant. Furthermore refrain from asking about children unless a man or woman has hinted at the fact that they have children. It's a huge faux pas. So don't say, "Do you have children?"
- When you have a wardrobe mishap: A broken high heel, store tag hanging off the back of that new sweater, or that the décolleté of your dress is too deep when you're seated, take it as a reminder to do a serious wardrobe check and make sure any fallen hem or shredded pant cuff is mended before worn again.
My question is about wine glass etiquette.
What is the correct way to hold a glass of wine? It’s confusing because I was taught to hold a wine glass by it’s stem, because holding the glass by the bowl warms the wine, but everywhere I look, whether in a pub, fancy restaurant or party, most people are holding on to that bowl of wine and not the stem. What is the modern etiquette for holding a wine glass?
–AG, Providence, RI
- Wine experts say that holding the bowl of the wine glass warms the wine - and especially with chilled white wine, rosé, or champagne - should simply NOT be done.
- I, on the other hand, say the exception should be that when you're on your feet in a crowded space and you don't want to dribble your wine on someone or have someone bump into your glass - cup the bowl from underneath.
Our son is unhappy about his sullen roommate. Our first impressions when we moved him into his dorm and met his roommate, were not cheerful. My husband and I tried to dissuade Jake from judging him to quickly. We probably overdid it when Jake complained about his disposition. He says they don’t talk and stay out of each other’s way.
How do we handle this problem politely?
- According to Alexander Todorov, in his new book FACE VALUE: THE IRRESISTIBLE INFLUENCE OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS, it only takes 30 milliseconds (or one-tenth of a second), for our brain to form snap character judgements from a first impression. In particular the person's level of attractiveness, politeness, trustworthiness, and powerfulness. "These impressions," Todorov writes, "are closer to perception than to thinking. We don't need to think, we see." He says that impressions register on our senses. Senses are based on past experiences.
- University life is largely about having new experiences and learning not to base a person's character on a first impression.
- In some cultures, making eye contact is a breach of etiquette, but a simple smile is universally accepted.
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What about etiquette for newly matriculated students who don’t have a clue as to what college is really all about when you have to live for the first time with strangers?
–GB, Alberta, Canada
- Pace yourself because there's plenty of time over the next four years to party.
- Eat nutritiously to stay healthy and alert.
- Phone your family once in a while.
- Keep up good personal hygiene.
- Be kind to anyone who looks and behaves as though they are homesick or feeling left out.
- Report sexual assault.
- Get drawn into competitive hangover-ing.
- Blow your budget the first month.
- Assume your roommates will clean up after you.
- Become overwhelmed by your vast new surroundings and intimidated by the academic backgrounds of your fellow students, because everyone else is feeling insignificant too.
- Become upset if you do or say something silly. Quickly laugh it off to show you're human.
- Forget to deal with your laundry on a weekly basis because it can smell up your room.
- Cook or store food that leaves a lingering odor.
- Traditionally, not next to the person who escorted you, but between someone you know and someone you don't know at all, or as well.
- However, when the numbers swell for a dinner of more that eight - and possibly as many as two hundred, plus - organizing individual place card seating can be an organizational nightmare.
- Guests drop in and drop out, so you don't want to waste time by drawing up a seating plan too far in advance.
- Formal: At a Formal White or Black Tie Wedding where the dinner is plated and served, the formality of having individual place cards at each place setting follows the formal style.
- Semi-Formal: When guests plate their dinner themselves from a buffet, the guests probably are not formally dressed and there wouldn't be individual place cards for each guest, but guests would be given a table number.
- This is appropriate when you're mixing generations because you don't want people wandering around forlornly looking for an empty seat (or two empty seats, if you're not flying solo), so you give every guest a table number where they'll find guests with similar interests.
- Informal: The least formal dress code would be a family-style wedding with a buffet, and open seating where guests can sit wherever they like. But don't raise an eyelid. Such weddings are often over-the-top in other ways, such as quality of food, entertainment, decorations, location, and live music -- and can be the totally the most fun.
- When possible, every guest should be flanked by a person of the opposite sex, which of course is becoming more common with the profusion of all-gender wedding guests and same-sex couples.
- A lively person or couple should be at each and every table.
- Aside from their spouse, every guest should be able to recognize at least one guest at his or her table.
- Married couples are never seated side by side.
- Tables are more successful when they are comprised of guests of the same generation with similar interests.
- By the way, tables of twelve or more in particular should probably have place cards.
- So, respecting your intelligence the host was leaving it up to all of you to NOT sit next to your spouse, but adhere to tradition by sitting between people of the opposite sex.
- It was left to the guests to fall into place and figure the seating out amicably without one person taking charge.
About romanticizing a secret crush from long ago.
What if you’re nearing death’s door, more or less, and you still have a crush on someone and you’ve totally haven’t stayed in touch, but you don’t want to go to your grave in silence….
–Name Withheld, San Francisco, CA
My question is about finding a polite way to ask for money owed.
My college student daughter babysat for a family this summer and never really got paid. There were many perks that included afternoons at their swell beach club, meals in expensive restaurants, and there was always adequate money given to her to take the two children shopping for clothing, toys and ice-cream, snacks and meals, as well as for tickets to the movies or amusement parks.
And when she returned the change at the end of her shift, the father said to keep it, but the change never covered the cost per hour nor the use of her car to chauffeur the children around.
The family live in a mansion and servants were in evidence, but they never actually paid her! How should she go about asking them to pay her for her time?
–EL, Bridgehampton, NY
- Then she'll have to decide what to charge (if that amount had not been agreed upon), which could be anywhere from $12 to $18 an hour. It should list the cost per week: July 3-7, 25 hours, July 10-16, 37 hours.
- Plus tack on the cost of a tank of gas for every four weeks.
- Have your daughter submit her bill as soon as possible, so that the memory of her helpfulness is fresh. The stingiest people are often the richest.
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This question is about how to overcome painful shyness.
Our ward who lives with my family, and who comes from Tibet, is excruciatingly shy. When we take this sweet 25-year-old to social events she hides behind my husband or me. She’s attractive, but her social skills are so awkwardly timid that she doesn’t have any friends.
I should add that my husband and I are professors and our Tibetan guest is very-well educated. She came to us through the college where I teach.
How do we assist this graduate student in having polite conversational skills?
–RW, Charleston, NC
- Ahead of time, prepare to have an opening gambit. A tidbit of information you read about or saw on the news whether it be the riots in St. Louis or the latest freaky fact on climate change.
- After you've been introduced to someone don't wait for an awkward silence. Ask questions. Where are you from? What do you do? How do you know the host? How are you connected to the event? Do you go to school or teach here?
- Never be afraid of sounding boring. At first the other person will be relieved that you're carrying the small talk. For a while, that is.
- Eye contact and a friendly smile go a long way in encouraging the other person to speak up.
- Once a conversation gets going give the other person a turn to talk: take turns listening and talking.
- During a one on one conversation, do not look over the other person's shoulder because that's a sign that you're bored with what the person is saying.
- It is better to escape than stay in a boring conversation. Say that you're going off to get something to drink (or eat) and ask if they would like to come. If they tag along, introduce them so someone else. Or simply say, "I'm going off to talk to someone I had hoped would be here."
- Role play a simple handshake no longer that three seconds. both of your respective vertically positioned right hands come at each other, thumbs pointed up toward the ceiling, pinky down. With palms facing they come together for a gentle squeeze and quickly release.
- It's polite to always shake hands and introduce yourself even if there is one person who knows you in a group. The act of shaking hands is a conversation starter.
- It's always good manners to stand when someone comes into the room for the first time. She wouldn't do so at home with you, but if you take her with you out for dinner, she would stand when an older person came on the scene and introduce herself if someone hasn't already done so.
- All introductions should be made while standing. It would be rude to shake hands with someone if she was seated at the time. Of course the exception would be if the person was elderly or disabled.
- It is correct to stand when someone leaves the room and says good night.
- A host in particular should always stand to greet guests, so when you entertain at home she would participate in the hosting by standing when each new person arrived, and presumably introducing herself, if she didn't know them.
- Making an entrance: Avoid turning your back on anyone in the room, so you would close the door behind you while remaining face-on and moving forwards into the room.
- Exiting a room: Try to exit through the door so that the last impression people have of you is NOT your rump.
- Seated, for instance, at a table she would talk to her neighbors on her right and left for equal amounts of time, but she would never fully turn her back to either of them. The cue to turn to talk to the other person would be with the change of courses.
As a white-shoe lawyer, I’ve gone from never having been to a therapist to recently taking on two very different therapists and I’m wondering if this is proper etiquette?
Neither knows about the other.
Originally I had three referrals. Didn’t like the first one and very much liked the second and third ones equally. I can’t decide who I prefer. So I go once a week to both and discuss the same issues.
One therapist is a straight intellectual. The other is a gay man like myself and consequently we have similar lifestyles. I feel that these two male psychotherapists are a good balance.
I would never play one against the other or divulge to one what the other said in response to a question or issue.
Do I have a moral obligation to tell the two men about the other?
- The therapist you tell first about the other will feel morally responsible and tell you that the confidentiality exception needs to exist for him to talk to the second therapist.
Accepting A Compliment