Just Behave


Just Behave: Past the Tipping Point?

Our etiquette maven weighs in on questions from our readers.

 

My girlfriend and I just returned from a terrific vacation at a luxury resort. The only time we had a disagreement was over whether I should tip the staff who put the towels on the chairs for us each day. I said it wasn’t necessary; she thought I should tip every day. Which is right?—Bob, Bonita Springs

 

Dear Bob,

It really depends upon the resort and your generosity. Some resorts include this service in a daily “resort fee.” The fine print of your reservation will show what is included. Does it mean you shouldn’t tip them if it’s included? You tell me. Some believe that giving is better than receiving. Would you miss a couple dollars here and there? Probably not. Would it mean a lot to the person receiving it? You betcha. But it’s your choice. That’s what tipping is always about. Just don’t forget to leave something for the housekeeper. Cleaning up after you deserves a little gratitude, don’t you think?

 

 

I have a dear friend of more than 20 years who lost her husband to cancer four years ago. She was so lonely and didn’t think she could ever find love again. Well, she did, and I am really struggling as her friend to keep my thoughts about him to myself. My husband and I are not fond of the new boyfriend at all. He is very possessive and doesn’t let her go anywhere without him. If she does, he is constantly calling her and making her feel guilty. I feel as if I have lost my best friend to someone who wants her all to himself.  Do I dare share my feelings about her new man with her and risk losing my friendship altogether?—Mona, Bonita Springs

 

Dear Mona,

It’s  tricky to just stand by and watch a friend in a relationship that you find harmful.

The foundations of good manners are: honesty, respect and consideration. Take a look at this situation from these three angles. In other words, be honest, respectful and considerate with her. Tell her you miss her and you are concerned. You want her to be happy. Is she really happy? 

Maybe you can even pull the boyfriend aside and be honest with him. Tell him you want your friend to be happy but that he needs to allow her a little freedom. Sometimes men need a good lesson in manners of the heart.

Or perhaps you need to be a little honest with yourself. Are you jealous of the new boyfriend, or genuinely concerned? I think I read an honest concern for your friend, so be a good friend and have an open conversation with her. What do you have to lose? Seems like you’ve already lost the friendship you enjoyed.

 

 

I invited some friends over for dinner and invited their children, too. My friend asked what I’d be serving and when I told her, she insinuated that I should make something different for her children because they don’t like to try new things. I was furious. I was raised to eat what was served to me. I might not always like it, but that’s the way it was. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to do other than ask what I could prepare for them. I ended up making two different meals. What should I have done better? How can I stop this from happening again?—Samantha, Naples

 

Dear Samantha,

Wow. That was a little rude. Did the children have allergies? It doesn’t sound as if they did. Allergies would be the only reason to bring up a concern about a meal.

Seems to me that this “friend” is raising spoiled children. Your house is not a restaurant with menu choices. They were coming as guests and should have been delighted to eat what you served. And swallow any thoughts otherwise.

In the future, if you invite this family over again, you could tell the mom to feed her kids before she brings them over; or don’t bring them at all. Her fussy eaters may be happier at home. And you’ll  be happier, too. 

 

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.