Q: At Christmas dinner with my family one of my brother-in-laws started talking about New Year’s resolutions. Fine, until he asked me if my resolution was going to be to join Weight Watchers so I could wear a bikini by the time we all went to our family time-share condo in May. I fluffed it off, but before I left to go home, I confronted him in the kitchen and told him he owed me an apology. He said he was only kidding and I “shouldn’t be so sensitive.” Was I or was he being a total rude jerk?
A: He was being a “total rude jerk” and yes, he should have apologized. He should have added the following resolution to his list: Don’t say hurtful things to other people under the guise of “just kidding.”
Q: My husband and I regretted to a New Year’s Eve party invitation because this couple wanted us to bring our 5- and 7-year-old children with us to stay up with their similarly-aged children until midnight. They said they had two other couples going to bring their small children as well. She couldn’t understand why I said we don’t allow our children to stay up that late, even for New Year’s Eve. Am I out of tune?
A: No, you are not “out of tune.” You just have common sense! Let them have their fun dealing with two little cranky children on New Year’s Day because they didn’t get enough sleep.
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Q: How do you politely tell a 12-year old granddaughter that you are not going to take her shopping after Christmas to return a sweater she said she “loved” on Christmas Eve but two days later decided she didn’t? But, now wants “a couple of other things which are probably on sale by now.” Is she ill-mannered or what? I don’t think she even told her mother.
A: Yes, I would say ill-mannered and unabashed as well. My response to her would be: “So sorry you decided you don’t like the lovely sweater I gave you. I will give the receipt to your mother and maybe she will be able to take you to the store to return it and find something else.”
Q: One of my sisters suggested we (me, her and my other sister) go together to get a joint gift for our mother for Christmas. She said she had an idea of something our Mom would really like to have but it was too expensive for her to buy by herself. She said if we all put in $75, she would get it. I gave her the money that day and so did my other sister. Christmas Day Mom opens the joint present and loved it, but later in the day I get cornered by my sister who bought it and she tells me she needs another $25 because she couldn’t get the gift on sale. I paid her but I told her it would have been nice if she had called when she was shopping to check to see if my other sister and I were in agreement about spending the additional money, before she bought the gift. She called me a cheapskate. I told her it wasn’t about the extra money, but the way she handled it could have been better. She just turned around and left the room. Was I unreasonable to think she could have checked with us before spending the extra money?
A: No, you were not being unreasonable at all. She should have called you and your sister before purchasing the gift. It is a matter of being forthright and considerate.
Happy 2018 to everyone! May it be a year full of treating others with respect, kindness, and consideration.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to email@example.com.