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Modern Manners + Etiquette: Racy Facebook Photos + More

Thursday, January 17, 2013


What to do when your wife sees a racy photo on your FB Home page and when you don't get that year-end bonus? Teaching the etiquette of empathy to children and whether Mom should host a Fifth Anniversary-Housewarming Party were all questions at Didi Lorillard's Modern Manners this week.

Dear Didi,

My wife walked in while I was on Facebook and saw a post by one of my guy friends of a photo with two women in black underwear sitting on an orange car and one of them was touching her private parts. It looked sexually perverse. So I got some noise over it and I am not sure why my friend is doing this. I sent him a private email asking him to tone down his posts. I raised two daughters and taught them dignity and self-respect and, in my opinion, that kind of post debases women and puts them in a position of inferiority. Now I'm getting flack on Facebook from our mutual friends that I'm uptight. These are my old friends, but I don't want racy posts appearing again. What do I do?  Paul, Brooklyn, NY

Dear Paul,

You have two choices. Either cut bait and Unfriend this guy from your Facebook News Feed or wait to see if he posts another suggestive post before Unfriend-ing him—and possibly your mutual friends as well, because they could share his News Feed. I'm all for ignoring bad behavior. Ask your wife what she thinks you should do, but make your own decision.  ~Didi


Dear Didi,

There are children in our son's class who are not so lucky. They either come from a dysfunctional family, the parents are unemployed, there is some other hardship—even all three. Our child lacks for nothing, but he needs to become more sympathetic toward those that aren't as fortunate as he. How do we instill the sort of etiquette that will make him more compassionate toward others? Don't get me wrong, he's a fantastic kid!  G.L., Dover, MA

Dear K.L.,

Most children are aware of sympathy before they even know there's a word for it. No doubt, he's already learned through your modeling that sympathy, kindness, compassion, empathy and charity begin very early at home. Explain how another child might feel about, say, not being invited to a birthday party, not having such-and-such game, a nice car, or a warm coat or boots. Then help him feel how that boy might feel. Left out? Cold? Should your son say something negative, tell him clearly but gently that it would hurt Jake's feelings, if Jake knew he had said that.  ~Didi


Dear Didi,

For the five years I've been working at my current job I have always gotten a generous Christmas bonus. This year I didn't get one. The company is doing better than ever. I was embarrassed to ask around, but my sense from what I overheard was that everyone else had gotten a bonus. I overhear them talking about being able to pay bills, relieved they could still take their kids skiing, and pricing new electronics and cars. I'm worried I'm about to be fired. My boss is a cold dude, but I don't think I've done anything wrong and yet I'm afraid to ask. What's the best way to get some answers here?  J.C., Providence

Dear J.C.,

Don't be afraid of hearing bad feedback. This is going to gnaw at you like bed bugs until you get an answer. It's easier for your boss to give you no feedback than bad feedback. When there is a communication or performance problem, a smart boss offers training when he thinks the employee is capable of improving. Your boss could feel queasy about getting into a conversation that creates tension, especially if he doesn't know how to solve the problem. Ask him directly. Tell him you want a performance review. Because you didn't get an end of the year bonus, you want to know why. You may be surprised to find he's thankful that you brought it up first. Even if you don't like what he says, at least he should give you the option to improve or defend yourself. Without sounding like a braggart, try to come up with a quote from one of your colleagues complimenting you on something you did well. 

Cheer up, 70% of the time the problem gets resolved when you talk about it. When you're doing what you've always done at your job but you're not appreciated, perhaps you're ready for a change. Maybe it's time to broaden your prospects and do some online job searching. ~Didi


Dear Didi

I am giving my daughter a fifth wedding anniversary party. She and her husband have moved to a much smaller place so it's also a housewarming party. How can I ask guests to bring gift cards or money without it sounding bad? They do not have room for anything else. Kathy, Ipswich, MA

Dear Kathy,

To be blunt—you can't. Young people don't like being asked to bring money or a gift card for an anniversary party. In my opinion, you wouldn't ask for gifts for a fifth anniversary party. If people want to bring a gift, let it be spontaneous. People are hip to push present parties. 

If it's a housewarming for their new much smaller-tight-on-space-place, then stagger the times—but make it happen in their new home. That's what a housewarming party is, to see the new home—not yours. By word of mouth, you can get the word out about the gift card and cash. You can still pay for the party at their new digs, but have 1/3 asked to come between 5-7, 1/3 invited to come between 5:30-7:30, and 1/3 asked from 6-8pm. They won't all show up at once and staggering the times will help the party flow. it's also an easy and fun conversation starter. "This place is so small, they don't need anything more so a gift card would be great." Small isn't necessarily bad. Think of a really fun, cozy, crowded bar.

Traditionally, unless the couple is in dire straights and need cash to forestall foreclosure, you wouldn't solicit cash or gift cards for family. If guests want to give a present, they will find out what you want them to give. Don't get me wrong, I think you're sweet for hosting. I just don't want you coming off as tacky. If you really, really have to have the party at your house, don't ask for any gifts.  ~Didi


Didi Lorillard researches shifting etiquette at NewportManners.com by answering questions on relationship dilemmas, codes of behavior, wedding etiquette, business etiquette, entertaining, dress codes and manners. Or find Didi on Facebook,TwitterLinkedIn, or Pinterest after reading her earlier GoLocalWorcester.com columns, some of which are listed below.



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