Just Behave

Just Behave: Cutting Remarks

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

BY October 20, 2017


What to do when your friend is considering another plastic surgery and you think she’s already had too much? Should I say something or keep my mouth shut? — Kathy, Naples

Dear Kathy,

Well, you’re probably not going to start humming that Carly Simon song You’re So Vain. Rather, you need to do what you can to make your friend feel better about herself. Praise how she looks now and enumerate the wonderful qualities she has that add to who she is as a person. Maybe she just needs to hear the compliments.

If not, you may have to raise the stakes and gently point to celebrities who have gone so far with enhancements that they look more like Batman’s Joker than Charlie’s Angels. She may like to laugh, but surely doesn’t want to be laughed at. Let’s hope your one-two punch leaves her smiling and happy to be who she is.


Recently I noticed that a good friend of mine had “unfriended” me on Facebook. We’ve been close for more than 20 years, so I thought it MUST have been an accident. She blamed it on a colleague’s son, saying he thought it would be funny to pull this prank and unfriend me (and others). She quickly “re-friended” me. I noticed a week later that I was unfriended again. Since then, she hasn’t returned my calls, texts or emails. What should I do? — Stephanie, Naples

Dear Stephanie,

Come on; we’re not buying the story of a child unfriending you. How could your pal of 20 years make up such tales and then not return your attempts to communicate with her? Is she trapped under a heavy object and not able to reach her phone? No, she’s just being childish and rude. I’d say “pranks” for the memories, and let’s take a long rest from each other. Perhaps, in time, she’ll realize how she’s spoiled the value of your friendship and will reach out to you. Then it’s your call to push the friend button—or not.


My father and I have completely different political views. I know that’s not uncommon in today’s highly charged political environment, but what should I do when he continues to send emails to a group of his friends and family with erroneous information? He’s definitely been influenced (or brainwashed) by what I consider the enemy. Do I confront him? Should I send out the correct information to his friends? — Brad, Fort Myers

Dear Brad,

You share the same blood but not the same convictions. Political sniping seems to be the national pastime these days, but it strikes closer to home when you’re airing it out with relatives and close friends. I wonder what you’d accomplish by embarrassing your father, and I bet his friends share his views anyway. You can certainly tell your dad to take you off the list for his emails. Or, in a quieter act of diplomacy, just delete the messages without reading them. That’s taking a high road rarely traveled these days.  


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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