Just Behave

Just Behave: Make That Ex-Boyfriend

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

BY November 7, 2017


I have a boyfriend I care for very much (Jeff). However, he continues to have lunch and some dinners with his ex-girlfriend “as a friend.” Jeff knows I don’t like this, but he does it behind my back. He lies to me and eventually I find out. I would think that the ex-girlfriend would put a stop to the visits, but she does not seem to think it is a problem. I am thinking of dumping this guy, as he is a liar. And who knows if he is cheating? What would you do? Write a letter to the ex and tell her how much it bothers you, or dump the boyfriend? Three is a crowd and disrespectful.  — Jennifer, Naples

Dear Jennifer,

You had me screaming at “he does it behind my back.” Don’t you watch Scandal? Meeting up with an ex always leads to trouble. Love is not blind. This is where you show him the ex-it. Drop him like a used-up sneaker (which is what he really seems to be). And don’t give his ex-girlfriend the thrill of knowing it bothers you. Let her eat her heart out—along with those lunches and dinners—with a guy who seems to know no boundaries. Move on to a man who is kind, considerate and respectful.



What do you think of people who call you by a nickname? My name is Michael, but people often call me Mike. I guess they think it’s less formal than Michael, but it drives me crazy. What should I say to them? Or should I just keep quiet and be happy that they call me anything at all? — Michael, Fort Myers

Dear Michael,

This happens to me all the time. I am called Sue, or Suzie, or Suzie-Q, or Susan, or even Sunshine (though I like being called Sunshine). Usually I just laugh. If it’s close family, I think it’s cute. Sometimes I feel it’s a term of endearment and it warms my heart. But there are times when I am furious because it seems lazy of co-workers or business associates to call me by a made-up nickname or just mispronounce my name. MY NAME IS SUZANNE. I usually laugh and say, “Call me anything you want, just don’t call me late for dinner—but I preferred to be called Suzanne.” Bottom line, Michael: It’s right and proper for you to correct people about your name. We can even mic you up and broadcast to the world, “Michael, Michael, Michael.”


I have a friend who is always late or sometimes doesn’t show up at all. She always has excuses, but I’m really getting tired of feeling like I’m not important. I’ve sat in restaurants all alone just waiting for her to arrive. Should I continue to endure her behavior or find a new friend? — Brenda, Fort Myers

Dear Brenda,

About the lateness—maybe you’re a Type A (punctual) and she’s a Type B (never on time). If you know your ABCs, you could cut her some slack here and maybe quote her an arrival time 15 minutes or so before yours. But if the excuses pile up—and don’t ring true—and there are no-shows, you have to question how much of a friend she really is. You’ve not only lost the get-togethers but a meeting of the minds, too. Time to put your time into other friendships, I’d say. 


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