Just Behave


Just Behave: A Nervy Parker

Our etiquette expert answers your questions

BY April 13, 2017

The other day I was held up on the road because someone was waiting for a car to pull out of a parking spot on the street. She had the traffic backed up for at least eight cars. People started going around her (dangerous), and she just waved them on. What is the rule for holding up traffic for a coveted parking spot? I thought she was rather rude, and I was furious.  —John, Fort Myers

Dear John,

Well, that parker might as well have sent out an invitation saying, “You’re cordially invited to a honk fest.” Yes, you can slow down from the fast lane of life to wait out a move for a desired parking spot. But come on. After a minute or two—and with eight cars behind you—it’s time to move on. It’s called common courtesy. Message to nervy parker: Maybe you park a little farther from your destination and walk. The exercise is good for you and can relieve tension from driving, and stopping, in traffic.

 

My neighbor recently asked me if we owned or leased our cars. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say, and I ended up telling her that I don’t know and that my husband handles all our finances. Now I feel like a fool and that she thinks I’m a “kept woman.” How do I tell her that I do know about our finances and that we own our cars?  —Rebecca, Naples

Dear Rebecca,

You probably need to be better-prepared for how you deal with people who ask questions that some might deem too personal. Maybe you can even turn the question back on your neighbor. I get that you’d like the world to have a positive view of you and your husband, but, really, why do you care this much about what your neighbor thinks? Surely your personalities and accomplishments speak for themselves to the rest of the community, and there are far more important issues in the world to be concerned about.

 

My friend always gets angry with me when I don’t respond to her text or Facebook messages immediately. She can see on Facebook when I’ve read her message, and if I don’t respond quickly she either calls me or texts a frantic message to ANSWER NOW! I want to unfriend her. What would you do?  —Jessica, Bonita Springs

Dear Jessica,

What your friend needs is a wake-up call about not being the center of the world for those she texts or messages on Facebook. We all have lives and things to do, and the most decent of us—you included—respond to messages in a fair amount of time. Your friend sounds obsessive. Tell her she can expect your responses after reasonable intervals and that’s it. If she doesn’t get that message, it’s time for her move on in search of fast responders. 

 

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.