Just Behave

Just Behave: No Weigh

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.

BY October 16, 2018


I’ve recently lost more than 80 pounds, and friends want to know my secret. I had surgery but I don’t want to tell them that. Is it better to make up a story about a diet and exercise plan? Or should I just tell them the truth?—Paul, Naples

Dear Paul,

Congratulations on the weight loss. We want to keep your spirits here in good shape, too. Your friends, I’m sure, will wish to congratulate you on your achievement, and it’s understandable that they’d want to know how you did it. They may want or need to lose some pounds themselves. But it’s your secret, and if you’re not wanting to reveal it, just go vague. Tell them it’s something you’re continuing to deal with as you make positive changes in your life, and then change the subject. That should keep you feeling as in charge of your feelings as you are of your body.


I’m going to be out of town for a few months, and a friend keeps hinting that she’d like to stay in my condo while I’m not there. I am very uncomfortable with this, and I don’t know what to do or say. She has a roommate and I know she would enjoy living alone in my place. Am I a bad friend for not offering her my home?​—Denise, Naples

Dear Denise,

Sounds to me like you’re a good friend for even considering her hints and taking the time to ask. You’re not running a hotel, nor particularly wishing, I’d guess, to have your things disturbed. Plus, you’d be liable for anything that might happen in your home while you are away. What if she—or anyone she invited over—were injured? Now, if your friend didn’t have a place to live, your answer might have been different. But in this case, your response is a lock: Just say no.


I am worried about my granddaughters. They both recently received cellphones, and their lives are so focused on what is happening online. I know this can’t be healthy, not only for their minds but also for their hands/fingers/necks/eyes. I know from my limited time on my cellphone that it strains my eyes, hurts my hands and usually upsets me from what I read. Do I tell my son to limit their time on their phones? I think they are on their phones during all their spare time! I have proof that it’s not good for them, and I only want what is best for them. What should I do?—Maggie, Fort Myers

Dear Maggie,

These are certainly legitimate concerns. Overuse of smartphones may not be so smart. On the one hand, you don’t want to dictate to your son how he should raise his children. Did you want your mom to tell you how to handle your kids? But, as his mother, you can certainly lay out the facts for him and let him know that you love him. I’d respect his role as a parent and think of ways to engage with the family that won’t allow much time for the devices. That could bring LOL moments for all.

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