Just Behave


Just Behave: Hello, What’s-his-name

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

 

I’ve met someone many times over the years, and yet he never remembers me. He’s a prominent lawyer in town, so it makes me think he’s just a bigshot and can’t be bothered, but at the same time, I’m pretty well-known, too, so I think he should remember me. Should I confront him?  —Raymond, Naples

Dear Raymond,

Is this all about the ego? If so, let it go. The ego is not your amigo (or so my yoga instructor tells me). Don’t automatically judge this lawyer guilty of ID negligence. Maybe he’s just a whole lot better at cross examining than at face examining. Don’t take it so personally or dwell on it for more than a passing second. Every time you see him, just approach and say, “Nice to meet you again,” and repeat your name for him. Be the classy one and hope it’ll rub off on him eventually.

 

Every social season for the past eight years, I’ve been invited to a couple’s home for an annual party. I don’t entertain in my home, so I’ve never invited them over and I really don’t see this couple that often. I also haven’t been very good about writing a thank-you note. (I know. I should write them.) This year, I’ve heard their party is coming up, but I haven’t received my invite. I don’t want to call and ask if my invitation was lost in the mail. Should I just go to the party? — Mary Kate, Fort Myers

Dear Mary Kate,

I believe you have a traffic problem with friendships: They are not a one-way street. This couple has invited you to their home for eight straight years and what have you done in return? Not sent thank-you notes, not invited them to your home. Could you have at least asked them out for drinks on you or treated them to some event around town? I think it would be a bit presumptuous of you to crash a party of theirs until you’ve created a two-way street that establishes how friendship is meant to work.

Read more of Suzanne Willis’s Just Behave columns here.

We have guests coming to stay with us, and we’re concerned they may try to extend their stay longer than we’re willing to be their host. Is there anything we can do to avoid this? — Ed and Barbara, Fort Myers

Dear Ed and Barbara,

You could try telling them up front with a smile that your hosting stamina runs down after three days. Or you could quote the old Benjamin Franklin line: “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” Guffaw as if this is one big joke, and then wonder  aloud if this might even apply to the hosts of such visitors. Then hope they get the point, fish, line and stinker. If not, stay the course one time only and never invite them back. 

 

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.