Illustration by Edwin Fotheringham

Just Behave


Just Behave: Bottle Up Your Feelings

Am I being a snob? I have a great group of friends who host lovely dinner parties. The only issue is they serve mediocre wine. I always bring nice bottles, but they never open them. Is there a nice way to let them know that I want to drink my wine instead of theirs? — Adam, Fort Myers

Dear Adam,

As the owner of an extensive wine bible myself, I get your frustration. But a dinner party is about so much more than wine. And it is their prerogative to serve what they wish. If your friends haven’t picked up on your subtle hint, raise a glass to the food, the company, the setting—and sip the contents with a mannerly smile. Indulge your palate at home where you might wash away the bad taste in your mouth.

 

Our friends are getting a divorce, and there’s a group of us “couples” who always spent weekends, special events, etc., with them. My husband and I are so sad. We really like them as a couple and figured we’d continue to be friends with both of them outside the divorce. What’s weird and upsetting is that they’ve asked us to pick one or the other with whom to continue the friendship. They say that they don’t want to know what the other is doing/dating, so it’s just easiest if we select one to hang out with. How can we choose one over the other? — Mary (and Bruce), Sanibel Island

Dear Mary and Bruce,

It’s their split-up, not yours. I’ve never heard of such a custody battle like this. They shouldn’t make the rules for your friendship choices. Tell them you’re following your hearts, and be prepared to walk away from one or both of them if their childish requests spoil the relationships. 

 

I have a friend who doesn’t like confrontation. Instead of letting me know when I’ve done something to upset her, she simply turns cold. She stops liking my posts on Facebook and responding to my texts. It’s awkward. After some time, I guess she gets over whatever it was and starts acting normal again. This has happened more than a few times. Should I say something? It hurts my feelings, and I spend hours trying to figure out what I’ve done to upset her. — Carol, Naples

Dear Carol,

How do you know you’ve done something to upset her if you don’t ask? Maybe it’s not all about you. Perhaps she has something else going on and simply needs to “retreat” from normal behavior. As a friend, you should let her know you’ve noticed this pattern. If, on the other hand, it’s something you’ve done and continue to do, a conversation could straighten this out—or not. Clear the air and deal with the consequences. It could very well bring you a lot closer to each other.

 

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 justbehave@gulfshorelife.com.