Just Behave

Just Behave: Banish the Boors

Our etiquette expert answers your questions.


How do I deal with men who simply laugh at #MeToo? Some blame it on silly high school/college antics, or make jokes about Bill Cosby. I find absolutely nothing humorous about anyone who has dealt with assault, harassment, etc. I also have single male friends who joke that they’ll never make a move on a woman again for fear they will be “framed.” I have one friend who continues to joke about it even after I’ve told him to stop. — Samantha, Naples

Dear Samantha,

Whatever happened to sensitivity? How can someone laugh at something that makes another person uncomfortable? How can someone make light of people who believe they have been victimized? And about that framing—don’t those guys have eyes and ears and feelings enough to tell red lights from green lights? If the guys in your circle can’t read your signals and understand where you’re coming from, leave them in the used-guy lot and find better models.


I have a friend who constantly asks me to meet her for happy hour. We’ve never been close friends, but we’re friends on social media. I can tell from her posts that she supports an opposing political candidate, and because of this, I have no interest in getting to know her better. Should I tell her the reason I keep ignoring her requests or making excuses for not meeting her? — Janet, Naples

Dear Janet,

I know of friendships that have fallen apart over political differences these days. It’s sad that we’ve come to this place in our relationships. But why not put the “happy” in happy hour and meet with her with the best of intentions? Surely, there’s more to life than politics. But if you can’t find common ground to enjoy together and the conversation turns to politics in a way that offends you, then vote with your feet with a polite excuse for leaving. And keep that distance, at least knowing you made a good faith effort at friendship.


My pre-teen granddaughter has gained a little weight, and I’m concerned about the way my son and daughter-in-law are reacting. They’ve signed her up for every imaginable fitness program and team sport. I don’t think my granddaughter likes them, and she doesn’t want to disappoint her parents. Should I say something to my son? I believe someone should speak on behalf of my granddaughter. — Mary, Fort Myers

Dear Mary,

What makes you think your granddaughter doesn’t like the activities? If she told you she doesn’t, then encourage her to speak up. As a pre-teen, she should be able to speak up for herself. You can, on your own, express your concerns to your son, but the mission here is for all to support your granddaughter with encouragement and compliments for her accomplishments with these activities. Let her know how proud you are of her, and be sure not to play the weighting game.


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.
Have a question for Suzanne? Email [email protected].