Just Behave: Get the Picture?

Our etiquette maven weighs in on questions from our readers.

BY July 11, 2016

I have a friend who LOVES Facebook, and whenever we’re together she’s snapping away with her camera. I’m a very private person, and I’m always afraid she’s going to post my picture to Facebook. Without hurting her feelings, how do I tell this friend to stop taking my photo and putting it out there for the world to see? —Lisa C., Fort Myers Beach

Dear Lisa,

You bring up a very reasonable concern. I would assume that good friends would never post an unflattering picture of you (drinking too much wine, perhaps?). But you just never know with today’s smartphones what might happen in an instant. Because you don’t have a Facebook account, at least they can’t “tag” you, but I can understand your wish for privacy.

A couple of suggestions:

If you notice photos being snapped, try moving out of the camera’s view. Just don’t be near the camera. (That might not be possible, I know.)

Simply let that person know you don’t want to be in any photos going out on social media. Period. You could say, “I hate to be a bad sport, but you know I’m a very private person. Can we agree not to post any photos of me online?” I’d keep it light and say, “I’m still trying to hide from the authorities….” Ha!

Your good friends might be a little miffed at first, but they will come to realize that friendship is more important than a silly photo posted to Facebook.

Here’s one more: You could wear a mask or disguise to all future gatherings. Pick someone your friends may hate to be photographed with (politicians come to mind).


My boyfriend and I moved in together and his parents continue to give us home decorating gifts. While the thought is nice, the “art” is not. We’ve thanked them and asked them to stop being so generous, hoping they would get the hint. I don’t want our place decorated in their style, but I also don’t want to hurt their feelings. What should I do?—Kelly K., Naples

Dear Kelly,

While it’s always nice to receive a gift, I can understand why it’s hard to want to keep something that doesn’t fit your personal style. Could you possibly let them know that, instead of gifts, in the future you’d prefer to spend quality time with them? Perhaps simply going out to dinner or to a sporting event or even an art show? If they continue to give the hideous gift, I’d find a Salvation Army and donate it.


I enjoyed a lovely meal with some girlfriends at an upscale restaurant in Naples recently. At the end of the meal, I put lipstick on at the table. My friend gave me a glare and told me in the parking lot that I have no manners. Was it wrong to want to look right?—Sandy W., Naples

Dear Sandy,

It’s never wrong to want to look your best, but I’m not sure it was the best choice to do it at the table. You know it’s not OK to apply lipstick if it were a business meeting or with people you don’t know very well. Unless you’re with good friends (maybe your friend isn’t really a good friend?), it’s best to apply the lipstick in the bathroom. If it’s just a quick application of lipstick, that’s OK—but certainly don’t powder your cheeks at the dining table. My very tasteful grandmother always made sure to apply lipstick first thing in the morning and reapply frequently throughout the day.  


Suzanne Willis is a hospitality consultant and the founder/CEO (Chief Etiquette Officer) of Mimi’s Manners, specializing in dining etiquette for children, teens and adults.


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