As you know, the Northeast has been struck with a record-breaking winter. It’s cold. It’s snowy. I haven’t formally signed up with the state volunteer group that provides help with snow removal for the elderly or financially strapped. Instead I’ve been shoveling out my neighbor, who would have reached out for help, if I weren’t providing it. Every busybody on my street has noticed, and mentioned my work to shovel them out. What can I say to save my neighbor’s face? How should I respond to their comments?
–The Good Snowmeritan, Providence, RI
Traditional conversation etiquette may no longer come into play in situations such as this when cynical neighbors are cranky about your generosity.
What you say to the busybody questioning your winter workout is this. “My neighbor thanked me and I responded by saying you’re welcome.” There is nothing wrong with performing a good deed — a favor — while getting a bit of exercise and a few rays of sunshine. Calling your benevolence your winter workout is as good of an answer as any.
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Accepting A Compliment