Just Behave

Just Behave: Don’t Bug Me

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

BY August 8, 2018


My neighbor asked me to stop using pesticides on my lawn because she’s allergic to the chemicals (or so she told me). My husband and I did as she asked, and now we have a mess of a yard. The bugs have taken a liking to our grass and plants. I want to go back to using the pesticides, but I don’t want to upset my neighbor. What should we do?—Kathy, Bonita Springs

Dear Kathy,

It’s a jungle out there (mostly in your yard), and there’s one pest (your neighbor) perhaps harder to control than the bugs eating up your grass and plants. You were most gracious in trying to accommodate her allergy problem, but, really, how much time does she spend on your lawn? Sure, you could try to find other options to ward off the insects. But in the end, it’s your lawn and your homeowner joys that matter. May lawn and order prevail in this jungle warfare.


I have a group of friends with whom I occasionally swap or give away clothes we no longer want. About a year ago, one neighbor sent a large bag of clothes over to allow me and my daughter to select items we wanted. We then forwarded the remaining items to another neighbor. Recently, the one who gave away the clothes sent me a message asking if I had a dress that was in the bag because she gave it away by mistake and wanted it back. (She included a photo of the dress—on Meghan Markle.) I don’t have the dress, and the other neighbor doesn’t have it, either. Is it my fault that I can’t return it?—Jessica, Fort Myers

Dear Jessica,

Ha! I think she simply wanted you to know that she owned a dress like Ms. Markle’s. Why suddenly ask for a dress back she gave away a year ago? There was no understanding that this was a loaner. No happy returns here. Feel no guilt about her royal illusions.


I have a close friend who is on social media all the time. I see her posts and I always “like” them. She rarely “likes” my posts. I know she must see them. I know this is very trivial, but I do notice, and it makes me think that she only wants attention. Am I wrong for thinking this?—Kristine, Naples

Dear Kristine,

Your “close friend” seems to like nothing but herself and her activities. But social media platforms are not meant to be bragging posts. Proper etiquette suggests interactivity and reciprocating “likes” with one other. If she can’t manage that, distance yourself from this person who can’t really be considered close to you anymore. I’m sure there’s so much about you to like and many others to exchange good feelings with.


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