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When you’re having a business lunch where do you put your knife and your fork when you’re taking a break from eating while discussing business? Sometimes it seems awkward resting them on the plate, but I’m never sure whether I can put them back on the table, or what?
–Harry, Philadelphia, PA
- They say that tables where people eat are germ breeders, so when you return your fork and knife to the table, instead of leaving them on your plate, you're not only leaving your germs but food that turns to bacteria on the table.
- Just as you wouldn't blow your nose into your napkin and leave the napkin on the table.
–FS, Penobscot, ME
- The French have twenty words and the Germans use over thirty words for a kiss.
- The physical act of kissing between two people consists of the combined sensitivity of touch, taste and smell.
- Kissing is not universally accepted; there are parts of the world where it is taboo to kiss in public.
- In some cultures lip-kissing is still banned.
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? My boyfriend actually thinks it’s just an excuse for having to take me out to dinner. He says because it is not a public holiday it is merely a trick, a commercial contrivance.
–Stephanie, Providence, RI
- Saint Valentine became a martyr during the Roman Empire for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry. While in prison, after apparently healing his jailer’s daughter, Bishop Valentine sent her a letter shortly before his execution, signed “Your Valentine,” as a farewell.
- In Chaucer’s “Parliament of Foules”, he wrote: “For this was on St Valentine’s Day when every bird cometh to choose his mate.” Leading a tradition of poets penning verses about Valentine’s.
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- Try holding hands when you're alone. Carry tissues and wipe your hands first. See how long you can gently hold his hand in a darkened movie theatre. Your fiancé will be less likely to feel paranoid when he knows nobody is watching.
- Should he pull away and say he really doesn't like holding hands, wouldn't that be a relief. Then you'd know for sure.
- Perhaps you may find he's happier putting his hand on your leg or putting his arm around you.
- Tease him about hand-holding being a portable hug.
- Many feel intimacy is in the elbow creases, so try linking arms.
- Work on finding a symbol of connectivity, your own private love language -- a sweet and small sign of intimacy -- a kiss on the hand, an arm hug,
- Our brain gives a disproportionate amount of attention to the fingers and hands, as compared to the rest of the body.
I’m miserable in my job. At first I was excited about having my first job after college, but the culture here is toxic. Guys who do the exact same job make a lot more money than we women, even though we were all hired around the same time. How do I find the best job for me? I can’t afford to quit before I know for sure that I have another one and job hunting seems like a full-time job in itself.
–TC, Jamaica Plain, MA
- Not only will you have access to millions of jobs and information about other companies, but the fact that you can integrate your resume into job applications is time saving.
- We like the checklist to use when researching a company and the idea that you can read reviews from people, like yourself, about the culture of the company.
–TG, Morristown, NJ
- In Russia and Japan business is almost always conducted over a meal.
- Tell your boss that recent studies exploring reasons why deciding vital issues while sharing a meal raises the level of productivity in discussions.
- Eating together affected negation outcomes.
- "The students who ate together while negotiating -- either at a restaurant or over food brought into a business conference room -- created significantly increased profits compared to those who negotiated without dining.
- Individuals who negotiated in restaurants created 12% greater profits than those who negotiated over food in a conference room where the fair is likely to be a sandwich and water rather than a full meal
- Other research shows that the unconscious mimicking behaviors of others leads to increased pro-social behaviors; apparently when individuals eat together they act out the same facial and hand motions.
- This unconscious mimicking of each other may induce positive feelings toward both the other party and the matter under discussion.
- What are your pet hidden expenditures?
- How much of that can you each commit to the wedding pot?
- How much of that can you spend on shared experiences such as date nights, vacations and entertaining friends?
- When friends and relatives learn your plan, they may even offer to pitch in to help pay for your wedding. Wouldn't that be helpful!
- You're not going into debt over her wedding.
- In all fairness to her siblings, they will be allotted the same amount for their weddings, and state that amount.
- Suggest that she get a grip on her values and think about having her bridal registry benefit her favorite charity or cause. Help her take the emphasis off of material goods by talking about how grateful she should be for even having a wedding, unlike most people in the world her age who can't afford one. She should show appreciation toward her family for what they can do for her by giving back.
- To show gratitude the wedding couple could designate a small amount of money, the cost of the wedding favor, to a charity in the wedding guest's name. For instance, Zankyou.com allows guests to choose the charity gift that they want to donate towards and part of that gift goes to UNICEF, Oxfam or Save the Children and the wedding couple donate for their guests, directly through Zankyou.com, as a party favor.
- Register their wedding present to benefit a designated charity.
- After all, wedded bliss isn't going to be determined by the fact that you can only afford a DJ, and not a seven-piece band.
- Do not encourage plus ones. Friends can't invite friends to your daughter's wedding.
- Eliminate leaving gift bags in guests' hotel rooms and party favors at each wedding reception place setting.
- Second hand wedding dresses are very chic.
- A seated dinner can be less expensive than a buffet.
- Use paperless post evites for all wedding festivities, the tracking system is helpful and you save a lot of money.
- Have numbered table cards, but eliminate place setting cards with individual guest names.
We invited my future in-laws for dinner. What is the procedure for a proper dinner party? They are very stiff and formal and coming from another culture, I need to know how to make a good impression. My fiancé says I have to relax, but I feel that everything I do will be scrutinized.
–Name Withheld, Jersey City, NJ
- Make a list of the ingredients you'll need for the evening.
- Figure out what china, flatware, glasses, serving utensils and linens you'll use to set the table.
- Don't forget candles and a centerpiece.
- Two days prior to the dinner, be sure you have all of your ingredients.
- Put your fiancé in charge of beverages, including wine other alcoholic beverages they might ask for.
- He can also be responsible for ice, filling ice cube trays, and making a playlist.
- Ahead of time, prepare as much as you can. A dip, dessert, soup can all be made the day before.
- He or you should double-check with his parents to make sure you know exactly what time they plan to arrive.
- It goes without saying that your fiancé would have given you the heads up about any dietary needs. For instance, if either of your future in-laws are watching their salt, sugar, or diary intake. If one is vegan, be sure to serve extra salad and vegetables.
- The day before the dinner party, tidy up the rooms that your in-laws will see. If they're putting their coats in your bedroom, tidy it up. Whatever bathroom they'll be using should be pristine with fresh soap and clean hand towels.
- Arrange the flowers for the centerpiece or in the living room.
- In the morning, set your table and lay out on the kitchen counter all the utensils and equipment that you'll be using to make dinner.
- Empty the dishwasher. Remove all garbage and anything in the wastebaskets.
- If your fiancé is cooking with you, go over who will do what when.
- Have your bar and snack area ready next. Cheeses should be room temperature, wine and beer chilled.
- Arrange the pots, pans and utensils needed for cooking.
- Take out previously prepared foods so you know where they are and don't forget to put them on the table.
- Place bottled water or a pitcher of water on the dining table.
- Take a twenty minute break to get ready for the evening leaving your fiancé to welcome your in-laws should they arrive early.
- Have him light the candles and start the playlist. Music will soothe your guests as they settle into the lovely scene you've created.
- Ahead of time, you'll have figured out what time you're seating the table and who sits where.
- Your fiancé can do the seating, pulling out the chair to your right for his mother and motioning for his father to sit between you and his son facing his wife. (You never seat spouses next to each other.)
- You would give the signal for everyone to start eating by picking up your utensil first after having placed your napkin in your lap.
- Having color on every plate is important visually because it's more inviting than staring at a plate of bland looking food. Parsley, herbs, fruit, even edible flowers will perk up any table.
- Working as a team, you'll be able to plan ahead as to who does what and when.
- Don't get into the routine of waiting on everyone. Decide ahead of time, he clears while you plate the next course, or vice versa.
- What was good and what could have been better.?
- Cast no aspirations.
- Don't take it personally, because the two of you are responsible for the evening.
- You might even make a list of utensils, linens, servicing pieces, etc. to add to your wedding registry.
- Of course, it could depend upon the age difference between you, as well as the nature of the relationship.
- The protocol is that you would wait until the older person asked you to call her or him by their first name.
- You've known your friend's parents since you were a small child and always called your friend's mom Charlotte and the dad Charles.
- If your friend calls them "mother" and "father," then you would probably call them Mrs. Brown or Mr. Brown, unless asked to do so otherwise.
- On the other hand, if your friend calls her/his parents Dick and Jane, no doubt you're already calling them Dick or Jane.
- Or if a fellow employee says, "It's alright to call the boss George. He likes us to call him by his first name."
- When you've known the older person a lengthy time, and you're not an employee, it is perfectly acceptable to ask, "May I call you Didi?"
- Or a future daughter-in-law might say to her mother-in-law, "What would you like me to call you?" Then the mother-in-law would say, "Please, call me, Louise."
What bridal gowns are trending in 2018? We’re trying to put together a couple of styles, options for me to wear at my wedding this summer in Newport?
–Alison, Providence, RI
–Name Withheld, Providence
- Made sure you've had an end to the 2017 job review. If you didn't get one, ask for one and for specific performance-review goals. Find out what is expected of you.
- Ask what's different about your work from that of the coworkers who did get a raise and what it would take to bring you to parity.
- If represented by a union and you work on a contract, find out where you are on the pay scale.
- Research salaries in your line of work at several online sources.
- Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics that oversees a thousand occupations.
- Now that you're ready to practice your sales pitch, start by reciting it, alone, in the mirror, before cajoling a colleague or friend to critique your pitch.
- Give examples of instances where you've shined to remind your boss that you are worthy of a raise.
- Remember you're not asking for a special present, only compensation for your work.
- Email your boss for an appointment to discuss your work.
- Set up a time to meet by suggesting two different days, and let her/him set the exact time of the meeting.
- Don't back down, stay firm.
- Be prepared to suggest other duties you are willing to perform to meet your salary requirements.
- Request that you and s/he revisit your request for a raise in six months.
- Ask for a bonus or stock options.
- Suggest training opportunities that would make you better skilled at your job.
- Worse comes to worst and it is obvious that you won't be getting a raise, ask for a different work schedule or more vacation time. If traveling is part of your job, ask for fewer trips.
My question is about how to help my girlfriend overcome her painful shyness.
–SF, Kenya, Africa
- Your girlfriend needs to feel safe about her feelings. Sex is performance based. She may not understand how to talk about sex or how to decide whether to consent or not.
- You and she need a more nuanced understanding of consent. Verbal and visual signs are significant indicators. Talk about sex openly.
- No subject should be off limits.
Talking about death is my subject.
My girlfriend has become radically dark. She talks about death even though she’s healthy and she’s only 24. I love her, but when she goes darkish, it scares me.
I don’t like to hear her talking about death all the time, What do I do?
–AG, Portland, OR
- Mostly in their twenties and thirties, they're breaking the taboo of talking about death.
- The reminders arrive "at random times and at any moment just like death," writes Bianca Bosker in The Atlantic.
- According to a survey by the research firm Discout, your girlfriend may be trying to get away from checking her phone 76 (the average) times a day (roughly about two and a half hours), in the hope of finding the here and now.
- Headpeace: which has been downloaded over 18 million times, provides mediation sessions led by a former Buddhist monk.
- Calm: this app is all about guided mediation with soothing soundtracks and has had over 14 million downloads.
Accepting A Compliment