I get very uncomfortable when I’m standing in a line and the person behind me is standing too close. When I try to put a little distance between me and the other person, the person always seem to move closer. How close should you stand next to someone in a line?
When a person is within arm’s reach, or even worse, close enough to feel their breath, they are in your personal space.
Anytime someone steps across that invisible line, it’s natural to feel uneasy and uncomfortable.
Dear Jacquelyn, The other day, I went to a big retailer and crossed paths with a salesperson who was pushy. After the first couple of tries to excuse myself, I started to feel uncomfortable. I was not interested in the product he was selling and he would not take “No” for an answer. How do you politely tell a persistent salesperson you are not interested?
Dear Jacquelyn, I was out to dinner with my husband and after we were seated, I quickly realized I was seated next to a blazing heater and right under a sound speaker. I asked our server if we could switch to a different table. She moved us to another table but seemed annoyed. Is it bad manners to ask for a different table when you’ve already been seated?
Dear Reader, Sometimes it’s OK. Sometimes, it’s not. The most common restaurant protocol calls for a server to check with the host or hostess to see if tables are reserved.
I was shocked to see a guest arrive at a dinner party with her own food. The person did so because of being a picky-eater, not because of a dietary restriction or allergy. The host was gracious and did not say anything. What are your thoughts about bringing your own food to a dinner party?
Dear Reader, Being invited to a dinner party is a wonderful gift and a host will go through a lot of trouble planning and preparing a meal. Not mentioning ahead of time that you are bringing a casserole will seem like an insult.
Dear Jacquelyn, The one thing that sets me apart from my friends is I do not drink alcohol. A big part of my problem is feeling awkward in social situations. Is there a casual, polite response I could say when someone asks why I’m not drinking?
Dear Reader, Not everyone chooses to include drinking in their lifestyle and it is possible to say no to alcohol in a polite way.
There’s absolutely no reason to feel awkward. Not everyone drinks alcohol.
Dear Jacquelyn, I know that you’re supposed to send thank-you notes for birthday and other gifts throughout the year. I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding whether you should send thank-you notes for every single gift you receive at Christmastime.
Dear Reader, It’s a grand and gracious act to consider sending each individual a thank-you note for a Christmas gift.
I was engaged in a friendly debate recently on what is the right etiquette for eating pizza. When, if ever, is it OK for someone to eat pizza with a fork and knife? I say eating pizza with your hands is totally acceptable. Am I right?
Dear Reader, This answer depends entirely on your location and who you are eating with. Many foods are meant to be eaten with your hands.
Wraps with fillings may fall out, tacos, crispy bacon, and corn on the cob should be eaten with your hands.
I recently met up with a friend I haven’t seen in months. We were catching up and she mentioned that she just lost her job. I was at a loss for the right thing to say and said nothing at all. What do you say when someone shares an unhappy life event?
Finding the right words when someone is struggling is not easy. We find that words seem trivial and fail us.
This is especially true when we are caught off-guard. We immediately find ourselves searching for the right thing to say.
Dear Jacquelyn, I’m not trying to take the easy way out, but I have received several gifts over the years that I have no intention of using. I am considering re-gifting them this year. When I ask around, I get mixed answers about this. What’s your opinion on re-gifting?
Dear Reader, At one time it was considered poor taste to re-gift. Today, however, it has become widely acceptable.
There’s nothing wrong with thoughtfully passing along an item that you yourself won’t use to someone who will appreciate it.
Dear Jacquelyn, My mother has always handled sending out the holiday cards. Now that I’ve moved away from home, I’m sending cards for the first time. What is the basic etiquette on sending out holiday cards? And, if someone I overlooked sends me a card, do I need to send one back?
Dear Reader, The ins and outs of holiday-card etiquette is one of those little things in life that can seem overwhelming.