Asked & Answered

Asked & Answered

Q: Some friends in your circle have received the coronavirus vaccine and want to get together. You haven’t received your vaccine yet, and your friends don’t think you’re still at risk around them. How should you handle it?

Chicago Tribune

March 2021

A: We always want to remember that good manners are about kindness, consideration and respect. It’s the wonderful way of putting other people before ourselves. In this scenario, I would phrase it about being in the interest of their health and safety, and not about you.

I might say, “Having received the shot, you probably want to ensure that you’re completely safe (as we know the vaccine isn’t yet 100% effective), so I’m going to decline.” Or, “In the interest of your health, I’m going to pass, since I’ve not yet been vaccinated.” What you’re really saying is, “I’m not comfortable. I’m not going,” but you’re phrasing it in such a way that you’re thinking about your friends and not yourself.

It’s completely OK to say “no,” and we often find ourselves doing the opposite in an effort to be nice. But we can say “no” and still be nice. It does take a bit of practice, but is well worth the effort. If you learn to say no in a firm, graceful and compassionate manner, you are not only respecting the other person, you are also sending a clear, polite message and will hopefully receive the same consideration in return.

Three polite ways to say no are: (a) “No, thank you,” (b) “I’m afraid I can’t make it” or (c) “this time doesn’t work for me” — always followed by, “but thank you for thinking of me.” Sometimes the more we elaborate, the more difficult and dishonest it can appear. Keep your message short, direct and kind.

How do I eat with chopsticks correctly?

March 2020

Is there a right or wrong way to eat with chopsticks?

Yes! Here are a few guidelines to help you out:

- Never point or gesture with chopsticks

- Don't hold chopsticks too closely to the tip, rather hold them a little higher

- Don't rub chopsticks together - it's considered rude and denotes that the chopsticks are cheap

- You may cut food with your chopsticks

- For the resting position, use the rests provided. Never leave them pointing up in your rice or place them over your rice in the 12:30 position. Both practices are considered unlucky.

- When finished, place them diagonally across the top edge of the rice bowl or side plate.

"Olive Etiquette"

March 2020

My son and I were having Greek salad for dinner yesterday and thought of you and your posts and have a question for you. When you are eating kalamata do you dispose of the olive pits. Thank you for your feedback.

I love this question! The rule of thumb is this: how something goes in, is how it comes out. In this case, I would use my fork and place the discards on the top left-hand side of the plate. If you are eating olives casually, as say part of a cocktail hour, you may then use two fingers (index and thumb).  

What time is it okay to text?

March 2020

Lately, I've been wondering what time I should stop texting people. Is there a rule?

Definitely! When it comes to texting and/or messaging other people, these are the allowable times: never before 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends. Sundays is even closer to 11:00 a.m. In the evening, stop by 9:00 p.m.