April 19, 2021

Being Late for Surprise Parties, Sending Provocative Selfies, Lighting Candles, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle being late for surprise parties, sending provocative selfies, lighting candles, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle being late for surprise parties, sending provocative selfies, lighting candles, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Blackening candle wicks
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Using Uber and Lyft
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: What is the best way to handle being late for a surprise party? What do I do about a neighbor who assumes I will always take care of her dog? How can I get my friend to stop sending me provocative selfies?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Long-distance moving companies, Holding up the line at supermarkets
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: A helpful neighbor, Adorable children







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



Nick: Do you burn candles at brunch? Do you not tip your Uber driver? Do you arrive late for surprise parties? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better

When we have to live together

We can all use a little help

So people don't ask themselves

Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: [singing] Let's get in it.

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about displaying candles in your home.

Leah: Mm!

Nick: Specifically, there's a very specific rule about this. And this is one of those rules that if you don't know the rule, it's not gonna bother you or hit your radar, but if you know this rule, it will always bother you. So I want to just let everybody know. So that we're all on the same page.

Leah: So that we can all be bothered. [laughs]

Nick: Right! So the rule is that you can never have fresh candles on display. You always have to blacken the wicks first. So if you buy new candles and you put it in a candelabra and you set it on the side table, you have to light them for, you know, a hot second just to get the wicks black.

Leah: What is the reasoning?

Nick: So Miss Manners explains it as, like, the rule is to, quote, "Indicate that the candles are not being used for show only." Which anytime you kind of have something that's just for show, I guess that's kind of considered bad etiquette. Like guest soap? You know, like the decorative soap in the guest bathroom that you're not allowed to use. I think that's technically considered improper because, like, why are you offering something to guests that they can't actually use? So I think there's that similar idea with the wicks. Also, I was looking deeper into this, though, and there's this etiquette school in Charleston, and they say that when electricity was new, not everyone had it, and only wealthy people could have it. And so if you went to a wealthy person's house, they would blacken the wicks on the candles so you wouldn't necessarily know if they had electricity or not. It was to sort of be more "of the people," and not, like, show off or be ostentatious.

Nick: So that's one explanation that I read about, which I guess makes sense, sort of, I guess. Although wouldn't you know who in town has electricity or not?

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I think you would know.

Leah: You're like, "I saw the lines coming in."

Nick: "And what's that cord?" But as long as we're talking about candles, all of the etiquette greats have had something to say about candles. And so everybody agrees that if you're gonna do candles at a dinner party, you light them before the guests enter the dining room. Like, that's very important. And you never light candles during the day. So you never have candles on the table for a brunch or a lunch. Letitia Baldrige says that they quote, "Serve no purpose, except to make guests feel that the host doesn't know what they're doing."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So okay. And Emily, of course, she has some ideas about candles. And she says that you need one candle per person if you're only lighting the room with candles. So if you have a dinner party for 12, then you need 12 candles. And she specifically says you need two five-arm candelabras plus two candlesticks. So that's how that's done if you're Emily Post.

Leah: So—but that's if you're only lighting the room with candles.

Nick: Correct, yes. She does not necessarily specify how many candles you need if you're also adding in artificial light, but if you're only doing candlelight, that's what she says. And then Vanderbilt, she says that for color, quote, "White is always right." And she says if you put the candles on a sideboard, you don't have to light them, but she really would rather you did. So she has some thoughts there. Llewellyn Miller, she says that you shouldn't light a cigarette from one of the candles on the table, which I guess is good advice.

Leah: I mean, that feels like very—like if you were at a bar and you were in the 1920s, you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. Leaning over to a votive, yeah.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I can picture it. And then I came across this insane question that Miss Manners got. It's quote, "Dear Miss Manners, because of these perilous times, older people no longer have the option of traveling freely about the cities at night. So therefore, we must do all our entertaining during daylight hours." And then they go on to ask whether or not they can pretty please use candles during the day, even though it's not proper. And it's like, when is this happening? When are old people not allowed to leave the house at night? Like, is this 1975? Like, when was this?

Leah: What's going on right now?

Nick: Right? And so Miss Manners is like, "Are you going to wear evening clothes to breakfast?" But she's like, "Fine, you can light your candles, but just let everybody know that you're doing it and you know it's wrong, but that you are just letting people know that you're still doing it."

Leah: That's how I love to do it, too. "Hey, guys, I know this is wrong, but I love candles and they're on right now, so enjoy."

Nick: So she says you should say, quote, "I thought we could enjoy candlelight, even though it's daytime." And this apparently will reassure your guests that you're breaking a rule for a reason. So I guess that's good advice.

Leah: Just like E.E. Cummings.

Nick: Just like E.E. Cummings. Mm-hmm. That's it. So point being, blacken your wicks, and then if you have that one friend come over who knows this rule, you won't bother them.

Leah: Now we're all going to be people who walk into people's houses and go, "Are these wicks blackened?"

Nick: Yeah. Were you raised by wolves? Hmm, interesting. Yeah. No, this is definitely one of those rules that now that I've said it, like, you cannot unknow this knowledge.

Leah: We'll just all have to walk into people's homes with our own lighters and just light their wicks really quickly and be like, "I just didn't want you to be on the wrong side of history with this."

Nick: Yeah. No, this is similar to, like, going into somebody's house and flipping over the toilet paper roll that's installed incorrectly. Same idea.

Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Deep and far and wide.

Nick: [laughs] So for today's question of etiquette, we got a great question from somebody in the wilderness, which was, quote, "What is an easy etiquette guide for Uber drivers? I just got approved to be an Uber driver for my side hustle, and I want to make sure that my riders are happy. I live in the boonies and drive myself to the city, so I don't have a ton of experience riding in Ubers myself, and I'm hoping that you two can share some etiquette, insight and personal preferences."

Leah: A) congratulations on your Uber approval.

Nick: Yeah. And I love that this is actually asking us from a passenger perspective what we feel, because so often I think these etiquette guides are like what passengers shouldn't do. And this is asking, like, what would you like your driver to do?

Leah: Yeah, that's so fun.

Nick: So I think that's interesting.

Leah: It's very fun.

Nick: So all right. Do you have some thoughts?

Leah: I have noticed, because I've been taking a bunch of Lyfts, that it's so nice when somebody understands sort of emotively how much you want to talk, you know what I mean? Like ...

Nick: Yeah, I have that actually as my first item, and it's bold and it's underlined and I added some italics.

Leah: [laughs] I think it is the major one, except for not having a car that smells crazy, and that is obviously, I think, say hello. I've gotten into a car where people didn't acknowledge that I got into the car.

Nick: That's weird.

Leah: And you're just like, "Are you angry with me?"

Nick: That's a kidnapping.

Leah: Yeah, it feels nefarious. But, like, a "Hello, hi, hi." You know, just a nice greeting, and then I think sometimes people want to talk a little.

Nick: Oh, sure, yes. No, my experience is that most of Uber drivers want to get chatty, yeah.

Leah: So I think it's knowing whether or not the person in the back feels like being chatty, or if they need quiet time.

Nick: Yeah, it's definitely about reading the room, as it were.

Leah: As it were.

Nick: I think of it as like when you're on an airplane and you're sitting next to somebody you don't know and there's that momentary like, "Hello, how are you?" "How are you?" "Fine, thanks." And then we don't talk for eight hours. I think it's that same vibe at the top. Like, it's polite, I'm acknowledging you exist, and then I'm acknowledging that this will be the end of our relationship. So I think that can be fine if that's what you want in the Uber. I think some people love to chat. Drivers love to chat, passengers love to chat. I mean, I know people that they actually look forward to chatting with their Uber driver, in which case, that's wonderful. You should do that if that's what you want and if that's what the driver wants. But I think knowing what everybody wants, I think is key up top, and respecting that.

Leah: Yeah, I've definitely been in cars where I had work that I had to do, and then people kept talking. And then I felt rude and I was like, "I got to—I'm sorry, I have to get some work done." You know what I mean? And then—so I think if your passenger is, like, trying to do something, maybe just let them be.

Nick: Yes. And I will say I have been in Ubers where I was not in the mood to chat—which is always—and the driver was in the mood, and I basically just said, like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I actually have to write this important email, I'll get back to you." Or whatever I said. But I just basically said, like, "Oh, I can't engage with you at the moment. I'm doing something on my phone." Whether or not that's true or not, who can say? But I think that's a nice way to sort of politely decline to engage further. But I think if you're having a conversation and you're getting one-word answers, you know, that the other person is not super interested in engaging.

Leah: Yeah, the one word answers, I think, are a great sign.

Nick: Yeah. But at the end, you should also, like, say thank you and then, like, leave graciously.

Leah: Yes, definitely. It's so weird when you leave and people don't say anything.

Nick: Right, that's also weird. So other things that I think passengers don't like about drivers is when you cancel on us. So I don't know how that works in the Uber system, but I do find that annoying when I'm canceled on after, like, you know, waiting for you for 10 minutes.

Leah: Yeah, I don't understand. I always assume it's like some weird technical thing, but I don't like it either.

Nick: I also don't like when a driver says that they've arrived when they're, like, still five blocks away.

Leah: Yes. I mean, all of these things I think are just wrong, they're not even etiquette, they're, like, that seems like it's, like, slightly dishonest, you know what I mean? Or they're like, "I'm here and you're not here." And you're like, "I'm absolutely here."

Nick: Yes. No, I know where I exist in time and space.

Leah: I live here, and I'm standing in front of the house.

Nick: Also with, like, the waters and candies that some drivers offer, I don't feel like I need those things, I feel like those aren't required for my happiness.

Leah: Oh, no, not at all.

Nick: Do you like those things?

Leah: No.

Nick: They also make me a little nervous. I have the same reaction as I do when I'm in a bathroom and there's a bathroom attendant, like, who has those sort of things as well, and you would feel kind of awkward taking them. I always feel a little awkward in that situation.

Leah: Oh, me too. I'm always like, "No, thank you." Although I don't mind when people have an extra phone charger.

Nick: I do like the phone charger thing, I do. I like that. Now let's just talk about what passengers do, because I think the etiquette crimes are more prevalent on the passenger side of the equation here.

Leah: I also—really quick addition, I like to crack a window. If I'm not driving, I tend to get carsick, so I like to crack a window. And I do notice that some drivers will explain to me why I shouldn't be. They'll be like, "Oh, but I have the air conditioner on." And then I'll be like, "That's actually not the same thing as ..."

Nick: Yeah, I guess in that circumstance, you should ask for permission first. And then, you know, they should give it to you.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I don't think they should be like "No!"

Leah: It is weird when people are like, "Well, let's not." And you're like, "I'm opening the window."

Nick: Yeah, it actually wasn't a question, I was just being polite. [laughs] So for passengers, definitely drivers hate when passengers are late for the pickup. I definitely know that.

Leah: You order the Uber or Lyft, you should be ready.

Nick: And I think drivers hate when passengers ask to make stops, like, to go through a drive-through. It would never occur to me to make my Uber driver go to Taco Bell.

Leah: Are people doing that?

Nick: That is a thing, that is absolutely a thing, yes.

Leah: That is super rude.

Nick: Like, can you imagine?

Leah: Well, it's also in your phone. If you want to add a stop, you got to add the stop in the phone so they get paid for their time.

Nick: But I mean still, now I'm eating Nacho Supreme in the back of your car?

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So now that's two etiquette crimes: I'm eating in your car—which you shouldn't do—and we also, like, stopped at Taco Bell drive-through. So ...

Leah: Let's not eat people's cars.

Nick: I think if you do that, you should offer to, like, buy your driver or something. I think if we're gonna do a stop at a drive-through, I think you should offer.

Leah: Oh, definitely. I didn't know this was happening, so now that I know that it's happening ...

Nick: Now it's an option. Yeah!

Leah: Now it's like, you should definitely offer to buy them something.

Nick: I imagine this probably happens late at night after the clubs when you're like, "I need a gordita before home."

Leah: Right. But I think you could also not eat it in their car. You could bring it home and then eat it.

Nick: I think that would be nice.

Leah: Because it also will leave a smell for the next people.

Nick: Yeah, and smells, smells, this is a thing. I do not like, though, when there's the air freshener that is trying to overpower everything else that's happening in the car.

Leah: It can really knock a person out. Some of those air fresheners are just overwhelming.

Nick: Yeah, powerful. So let's talk about tipping. This is really what everybody wants to know about. This is actually probably one of the number one questions that we get: tipping.

Leah: Tipping in Lyfts and Ubers is the number one question we get?

Nick: Yeah, yeah. I guess the answer is you should tip like it was a taxi. So whatever the taxi rules are in your community, that's what the tip should be. So I think it's 15 to 25 percent. I think that's the zone.

Leah: I don't think it's—I think it's like 15 to 20.

Nick: Yeah, 25 percent is definitely like, they helped with your luggage, they waited for you in the rain, they offered you mints and a water and a plug. Like, that's definitely the high end. But I think the minimum, I think, is 15 percent. Or if it's like an Uber pool and it was only $4, like, I think you round up to the nearest dollar. I don't think we're doing, like, an 80 cent tip.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So I think that's what it is. But I think you should tip. I think you should tip. I think you should not not tip.

Leah: I do—I have heard a lot of people who just use Lyft and Uber as, like, their—you know, they take it all the time, they're like, "Oh, I just throw a couple bucks." I think they're doing, like, 10 percent.

Nick: 10 percent? I don't know. That feels a little light.

Leah: It does feel light. I'm just saying that I've heard that multiple times from people, especially out here, where they're just like, "I just threw a couple of bucks on top."

Nick: Okay, I wasn't there, so I don't know, but ...

Leah: I was. I mean, I was there for the conversation.

Nick: Right.

Leah: It just has been said to me multiple times that I thought, oh, maybe that's the thing here, where people just take so many Lyfts that it's more standard.

Nick: Yeah, I don't know if that's true, but okay.

Leah: I'm just repeating what's been told to me more than once. If it's been said more than once, then ...

Nick: Okay. I mean, I wonder if you just are surrounded by people that are rude. [laughs]

Leah: That's entirely possible.

Nick: Yeah, it's on the table. And then now let's talk about ratings. It's like that Black Mirror episode. You ever see that one with Bryce Dallas Howard?

Leah: I can't watch Black Mirror. It's too close to, like, what my nightmares are. And it just feels like my nightmare is thrown back in my face, and I just can't do it.

Nick: So there's this episode of Black Mirror called “Nosedive,” and Bryce Dallas Howard is in it, and basically she lives in a world in which we're always rating everybody's interactions with us.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: But, like, every interaction: at the coffee shop, with the doorman, like, with the colleagues at work, like, every interaction is rated. And so things don't go well. And so, you know, we live in this world now, yeah. Basically. I think that, in an Uber context, unless the ride was horrible, it should just be five stars. Like, a four-star rating is a bad rating in an Uber.

Leah: And particularly if they make you feel unsafe in any way.

Nick: Oh, if there's that, then yeah, you absolutely should report a safety issue, sure.

Leah: Report, and don't feel like you have to give a good rating because you are nervous.

Nick: Right, yeah. But four stars I think it is considered a bad rating for an Uber because, like, if they get, like, below 4.7, I think, which too many four-star reviews could do that, then they're at risk of, like, actually being booted off the platform.

Leah: Yeah, I don't—actually, well, one person I rode with, I was like—two people I rode with, I was like, this is a danger. And I think—I don't remember what I did, but I was like, "Oh, no, what do I do if I really feel like I can't give five stars?" But otherwise I just give five stars.

Nick: Well, yeah. If you feel like you can't get five stars, then give the rating you think is appropriate, and then obviously explain why in whatever, you know, feedback thing that they have so they can follow up if necessary. Sure.

Leah: This guy just kept talking about how much he liked my hair to the point where I was like, I felt like we were gonna pull over and he was gonna, like, shave my head. You know what I mean? I was like, oh, this is ...

Nick: Yeah, I think that's notable.

Leah: This is, like, insanity, and ...

Nick: That's a courtesy to the next passenger with nice hair to not have this person on the road. Yeah, so there's that.

Leah: I always—I also like to write—and when people are, like, really nice and they read the room well or, you know, I feel perfectly safe and friendly, and I always like to write a nice note.

Nick: That's good, yeah. No, I think people so often hear negative feedback that, you know, when you actually have something nice to say, it's actually nice to hear. It's like, "Oh, actually, I'm still doing a good job. Thank you."

Leah: Oh, and as the driver, I do like it when people ask me if I want music or not.

Nick: Oh, music. Yeah. I think definitely being asked if I want music is good, although I always feel weird when I say yes or no because it's like, I clearly know what answer you want. And then if I do say yes, and then you play your music, like, am I gonna like your music?

Leah: Oh, I've usually had people ask me what kind of music. They'll be like, "Do you have a playlist you want to listen to?"

Nick: Oh, but then I would worry that they don't like my music.

Leah: Oh, I kind of get the idea that they wouldn't ask if they didn't—weren't into sharing different music, it would just be quiet. That's how I feel.

Nick: Oh, I see. Okay. They would look at you and be like, this woman probably isn't into, like, death metal.

Leah: And they would be wrong, they would be so wrong. I am enjoying—I have had some very friendly, lovely conversations where I've learned—you know, I'm learning about Los Angeles. So I do enjoy when people share some fun things with me. I very much enjoy it.

Nick: Yeah, I don't enjoy that.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] But you do you.

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick: So our first question is, quote, "What is the best way to handle being late for a surprise party?"

Leah: This seemed very straightforward to me, and then I was like, "I wonder what Nick's gonna say?"

Nick: Hmm, okay. I mean, my first thought was, can you not? Can you just not?

Leah: Second to that ...

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: My thought was, if you know you're gonna be late for a surprise party, you should know in advance. You should contact the host and say, "I'm gonna be late." Because you have to come after the surprise if you're gonna be late.

Nick: Yes. Under no circumstances are you to ruin the surprise by arriving with the person that we're surprising, correct.

Leah: Or near the person, or just in front of them, so they're like—you now have to be late.

Nick: Very late.

Leah: And you have to tell your host, "I'm not gonna make it for the surprise. So sorry. I'd still love to be there. Can I come after the surprise?

Nick: Although the problem is, if I'm hosting a surprise party, I am probably busy with my guests who were on time. I may not be able to get to my phone. I may not see your text.

Leah: No, I'm saying you should know, like, three days early or four days. Whenever you got the surprise party.

Nick: I mean, the person that's gonna be late to a surprise party is not gonna know they're gonna be late three days in advance.

Leah: Oh, I read this as, like, somebody who wants to go to this party but know that they can't get there on time.

Nick: Oh, no, this is a "I'm running late because of traffic."

Leah: Oh, then you need to run very late.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Because, yes, what Nick said: they're busy, and you can't text them because they're probably with the person.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: They don't need a text coming up on their phone that also ruins the surprise.

Nick: So then the question is, okay, surprise party is at 8:00, and we're expecting the surprisee at 8:30, how much buffer time am I giving to arrive after that? 30 minutes?

Leah: Well, what I would probably do actually, is text somebody. You have to know someone at the party. I'm sure you have a friend in common.

Nick: Oh, that's a good point. Yeah, that's true.

Leah: I would ask somebody at the party to text you once they got there.

Nick: That's good, yes. But let's say it's a work thing, you're new to the company and you don't know anybody else for some reason.

Leah: I would give it at least 30 minutes.

Nick: It's definitely at least 30 minutes. Yeah, that's it.

Leah: And then I would sneak, I would tip toe until I was absolutely sure.

Nick: Yeah, you definitely have to be real ninja-like. Or we can just be on time. That is also an option. Yes, we can do that.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Our next question is, quote, "My partner and I have a dog, and are friends with other dog owners. We have dog-sat for one such friend—let's call her Lisa—and her dog—let's call him Spot. And we've dog-sat for them a few times for two or three nights at a time. Spot is a great dog, and we are happy to help a friend. Recently, a few weeks before a holiday weekend, Lisa asked if I would, quote, 'Like to take care of her dog as she was planning to fly out of town for the entire week.' I was a little amused by the phrasing, because it sounded more like she was doing me a favor rather than the other way around. I told her that this time it wouldn't work out as we were planning to take a road trip for the long weekend ourselves. I also gave her a recommendation for a trusted dog sitter. Instead of taking the hint, she responded by asking if we could take Spot with us on our trip since we were already taking our own dog. She said, 'Spot is small, and it would be so much nicer after all, because he's already familiar with you.'

Nick: "Again, I said that I thought it would be best if she found someone else. She then asked if I would, quote, 'Like to care for Spot for the first part of the week and then bring him to the dogsitter the day I left on my trip.' I tried to politely let her know that that was more coordination than I wanted to take on, and she eventually accepted my answer. It should be noted that although we've taken care of Spot in the past, we've never asked Lisa to take care of our dog, as she's made it very clear she wouldn't be able to, since our dog is, quote, 'too large for her.' So here are my questions: is it rude to phrase a request as an invitation? Am I a monster for not taking Spot? Or was it rude for Lisa to try and negotiate the situation when I had already said no? And finally, how would you have handled such a situation? We love Spot and are happy to help out from time to time, but it's feeling a little one-sided now that we seem to be her go-to dogsitter, but she cannot do the same for us. Is there an expectation of reciprocation between friends with similar needs?"

Leah: I mean, A) you are not a monster.

Nick: No, definitely not. Uh-huh.

Leah: I was gonna start making dog puns, but I'm gonna restrain myself.

Nick: I appreciate your restraint, yes. So it's totally fine to decline this, yeah. And you don't owe this person anything because they've never done you any favors. They've never done anything for you. You're under no obligation to return any favors.

Leah: Also, the fact that they just kept asking is very rude.

Nick: Take a hint, lady.

Leah: It's very disrespectful of a person. "Oh, can you take my dog on vacation with you? Oh, then can you keep him for the first week and then take him to—"I've already said no.

Nick: Yeah, this is not a negotiation. And I get that there is some type of person that feels like, oh, if you don't ask, you don't get. And those people tend to be a little more bold in their requests, just in life. You know, we all know these people who are just very bold. She's definitely one of those people.

Leah: Well, and then on top of that, she also doesn't take care of their dog. Not only is she bold and pushing boundaries and being like, "Here's such a gift. Don't you want to take care of my dog this week?" And you're like, "I can't." You're like, "Oh, but you could work that out." On top of that, she's not taking care of their dog.

Nick: Right. Now I guess the dog is too large, but I mean still, point being, there's no reciprocation here.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And it also sounds like there's no reciprocation in other ways. It's one thing to not be able to take care of their dog because it's too large. Okay, that might be true. But, like, are you doing anything for us? Like, are you doing anything nice? Bottle of wine? Like, is there anything nice you're doing? Or you just assume that we will just do this thing for you?

Leah: Forever.

Nick: Because it sounds like that.

Leah: It really feels like that. It feels like this person is like—I mean, the idea that you would be like, "Well, why won't you take my dog on vacation with you?"

Nick: Right? Because it's my vacation.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: And I don't have to.

Leah: Yeah, why would they? I just don't even ...

Nick: Yeah. Now as for the phrasing of the request, I am prepared to give this a pass because I think if you actually like this person, you wouldn't be bothered by the way she asked. Like, I think we're only particularly bothered because we actually don't like this person to begin with. So I don't know how I feel about that.

Leah: Yeah, but once you don't like a person, the way they phrase things is so irksome.

Nick: Oh, yeah. All bets are off then.

Leah: Had I not immediately gotten the vibe about how we felt about this person, and just say we put the question—how the question was phrased at the end after she'd said no three different times, three different ways, and then I got the way the question was phrased? I would also be irritated by the phrasing of the question.

Nick: Yeah, "Would you like to take care of my dog?"

Leah: Oh, may I? Is there anything else I could do for you? Could I—can I take care of your dog for half the week and then take your dog to somewhere else for you? I mean, it's just too much.

Nick: Yeah, it's a lot. So I am sorry that our letter writer feels bad about the situation, because I don't think you have anything to feel bad about.

Leah: I think that's what happens a lot. We notice that people, instead of feeling angry—and I know that I do this. Instead of feeling angry, I think should I for some reason feel guilty?

Nick: Hmm.

Leah: Because I'm not comfortable just feeling angry.

Nick: And this is one of those situations where it's okay to say no, and one of those situations where it's hard to say no sometimes. And you actually had to say no 90 times to this person because they didn't take no the first 89 times.

Leah: I don't like it.

Nick: Yeah. So point being, this is fine. You didn't commit any etiquette crimes. Lisa is a bad person.

Leah: And then how would you have handled the situation?

Nick: I would have said no with a smile and just be apologetic about it. Like, "I'm so sorry, it's just not gonna be convenient, but I hope you have a great time. And, like, here's a list of all these resources that can take care of you." And then I think that would be kind of the end of my dogsitting relationship with Lisa. I don't think I would necessarily want to do it in the future, even when it was convenient for me.

Leah: Yeah, I think it would definitely sour my wanting to do it in the future.

Nick: Yeah, so I think I would just keep a little more cordial distance with her, and that's the end of that.

Leah: Sounds good to me.

Nick: So our next question is, quote, "I have a friend who sends me provocative selfies with sultry poses showing off, quote, 'this new top I got.' I really don't think she's flirting or coming on to me, and I feel uncomfortable every time I get one of these randomly. Is there a way I can say, 'You look really nice, but please share only PG photos with me.' What's the purpose of sending me these sultry images? I feel so prudish, but it's just how I feel. How do I make it stop?"

Leah: I was really excited to hear your answer to this question.

Nick: Why?

Leah: Because you know that I'm too much of a—I wouldn't know how to make it stop. You know what I mean? I also did underline this one thing where the person wrote, "What's the purpose of sending me these sultry images?" I wrote underneath it, "We can never know." Because I find so much of my—I'll get texts from people or people behave and I get stuck in this "Why would they?" place. And it's just we have no idea why people are doing things.

Nick: Yeah, some things in the universe are unknowable. Yes, it is true.

Leah: And then here we are trying to figure it out so we could handle it correctly, and if we can—as if we could negotiate, or is there some way we could be a good person? And it's like, ah, we don't know why they're doing it.

Nick: [laughs] Well, I think the first issue here is that what is considered "acceptable," quote unquote, is very different for a lot of different people. You know, on one of the spectrum, you know, showing any collarbone? Scandalous. On the other end of the spectrum, full nudity? Have at it! So, you know, everybody's definition is, like, somewhere on the spectrum and it's a little different. So your definition, letter writer, is not aligned with your friend. Like, you have very different definitions of what's considered appropriate. So I think that's something to note. And there is a movement of people who do send just sort of provocative photos of themselves to their friends. That's a thing that is happening in the world. This is a thing that happens. So, you know, your friend might just be a participant in this movement.

Leah: And then so what would you say to them?

Nick: Oh, I think, like, you would say, anytime somebody's doing something you don't like, you just set a boundary. You know, "You look great, but I would appreciate if you just keep your photos to me more PG." And you don't have to make it a value judgment on them or a criticism. You can just state it plainly.

Leah: Hmm, you're so good.

Nick: Or you could just send a Valerie Cherish animated gif. I don't need to see that.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Send. Either way, you have two options.

Leah: I would love to hear if our letter writer does that, because I feel like our letter writer is like me and, you know, I'm just guessing that just being—saying we worry about hurting someone's feelings.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think somebody who feels comfortable in their body and how they look and is happy to share it, I think they are maybe not gonna worry about you not wanting to see it. I feel like they're probably comfortable in their skin.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Is, like, my sense.

Leah: And I'm not saying our letter writer shouldn't say that. I very much want her to, and I want to hear about how it felt and that she feels great.

Nick: Yeah. But yeah, if you don't want to see inappropriate photos of people, like, that's fine, you should say that. Like, I don't think we need to live in a world in which you have to accept inappropriate photos from people. Like, we don't live in that world. So you could just stop it by saying that you would rather not receive this type of content.

Leah: I absolutely agree and I love it. I'm not saying that she should say them, I'm just—I'm excited for her to text this to this person because I know that's something that I personally would struggle with.

Nick: Okay, so you want our letter writer to please do this and then report back.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I think it's great. If you feel uncomfortable getting something, as Nick said, you shouldn't have to get it.

Nick: And I think this also applies to all uncomfortable texts you may receive. So you can block the person, although if this is a friend, you probably want to block them. And then you basically just set the boundary of, like, "Oh, please don't send this type of thing to me again." And do it in a nice, value-neutral, non-judgmental way, and harmony will be restored to the universe.

Leah: I absolutely love it. I'm so excited for it.

Nick: So we are excited for you to send us questions, so please send us your questions. You can send them to us through our website, Wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can leave a voicemail or send us a text— appropriate, please— to (267) CALL-RBW.

Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: [singing] Vent or Repent!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: Um ...

Nick: Oh, Leah.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: What have you done?

Leah: I'm gonna vent.

Nick: Oh, okay. Good. [laughs]

Leah: You're like, "Thank goodness!"

Nick: Oh!

Leah: "I was not ready for you to have mortified yourself already on the West Coast."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Which I have, but ...

Nick: What has happened?

Leah: So I'm just gonna vent about long-distance moving companies.

Nick: Okay, sure.

Leah: I've talked to many friends and recent acquaintances who have also used long-distance moving companies. I would like—I'm not gonna use the name of the long-distance moving company we used, but we did our research. You know, they're in the Better Business Bureau. They had fine reviews. If you've ever used long-distance movers, it's all horror stories on the Internet. It's all horror stories.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: So what it is, is that there was a broker, and then there's multiple moving companies.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So the issue is, I don't know if you've ever bought tickets for a comedy show in Times Square, but the ticket sellers actually aren't associated with the comedy clubs. They're just like, "Hey, Richard Pryor is playing tonight." And you're like, "Richard Pryor!" And then you buy the tickets and you get to the club and the club's like, "Oh, Richard Pryor is, like, not even alive anymore." And you're like, "What just happened to me?" And that is exactly what this experience is like. The person you talk to on the phone, I don't even think they use their real names. They're just telling you what you want to hear. And it's not that the money changes, it's that when it's supposed to be there.

Nick: Mm, the details.

Leah: Yeah. Like, they told us ...

Nick: Is Richard Pryor alive?

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: They told us it took them at least 10 days, so we said our move-in date's the 15th. So they were like, "We'll come the 5th. That way it'll come the 15th or after." So that was in the—you know, that's—we get a call on the 12th and they're like, "We're outside your apartment."

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And we're like, "Well, we're still in New York. That was—you know, we talked to this guy." They were like, "We don't even know who that guy is."

Nick: Yeah. "What guy? There is no such guy."

Leah: And you're like, "What?" And they were like, "This was your dates. You gave us these dates." And then they're like, "We're just gonna take it." So then they just gave our stuff to somebody who was, like, going north because there was nobody there. And then when we got ...

Nick: So wait, just to recap. You had an agreement in writing that they were gonna arrive on or after the 15th.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: They show up at your door at your new house, you're not there. Three days early.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: And they're like, "That's cool. We're just gonna unload your stuff and put it on a different truck that's gonna make a couple other stops. And we'll see you in a week."

Leah: Yeah. They don't tell us that they're putting it on another truck. We figured it out later when it was an entirely different moving company.

Nick: I see. Oh, they gave it to an entirely different moving company?

Leah: Yeah, because they're done.

Nick: I see.

Leah: And then so we're talking to this person on the phone who may or may not be a real person. I imagine them, they just have, like, lots of different outfits and they pretend they're different people. And then they keep saying, "Tomorrow, tomorrow," which I think they think we want to hear. But then we're stuck in the house. Like, just give us kind of a date, you know what I mean? Like, kind of a date. When we're on an air mattress, we're not sleeping. We're now on the floor, because ...

Nick: It's an air mattress.

Leah: An air mattress.

Nick: [laughs] Right.

Leah: There's two of us. So we're being—you know, it's a mess. It's a mess. Just give us some kind of a real timeline. But the actual movers were lovely. It's just the people—ah!

Nick: Okay. So let's put this in an etiquette context. The etiquette crime here is lying?

Leah: It's lying!

Nick: Deceit.

Leah: It's deceit.

Nick: It's deceit.

Leah: It's deceit. And then they make you feel like you're crazy, which I guess we would call gaslighting.

Nick: Okay. And gaslighting is rude, yes.

Leah: Gaslighting is just so rude. Just give me what the details are.

Nick: Yeah. I can handle the truth, just let me know what that is.

Leah: I can handle it. Just tell me it's Friday, you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. So I can just, like, know whether or not I should blow up the air mattress again.

Leah: Yeah. I would buy a whole new bed. And then you really are like, "Am I ever going to see my stuff again," you know?

Nick: [laughs] Right.

Leah: But then all of our stuff arrived. None of it was broken.

Nick: Amazing!

Leah: Which I think is why they have such good reviews, because everybody expects your stuff to be just in the middle of America for an odd amount of time, but the fact that we got all of our stuff ...

Nick: That is good news.

Leah: It is very good news. And the people that were actually moving were lovely.

Nick: Okay. It's just the gaslighting in the middle that you don't care for.

Leah: And the just sheer lying of them being like, "We don't even know what you're talking about, about the 15th." And you're like, "I'm pulling up the email right now."

Nick: I got receipts.

Leah: Ugh.

Nick: Well, for me, I would also like to vent. And so a nice new supermarket just opened up near me. And if you've ever been to a New York City supermarket, I mean, these are special places. But this is a nice one. Nice lighting. The floor actually is, like, a color that looks like it can be cleaned. Like, it's great. And so I'm about to check out and I'm waiting in line, and there's actually self-checkout, which actually I'm really kind of into because I'm very efficient with it. And there's five stations. And traditionally at this point in the supermarket experience, there's a couple of etiquette crimes that can come up. There's the cutting in line, there's the paying with a personal check. There's the trying to use coupons that aren't working. There's the trying to pay with exact change. None of that's happening. I'm like, this is great. We're just cooking along with our day.

Nick: But then there's this other etiquette crime, which might be the worst of all. So somebody is at the self-checkout, and then they run off. And then the person who's, like, sort of supervising, who worked for the store is like, "Oh, can I help you?" And they're like, "Oh, no, no. I'm just gonna go grab one more thing." And it's like, oh, I'm sorry. That's not how this works. This is a 60,000-square-foot store that is bigger than a football field. You are not gonna be zigzagging from end zone to end zone looking for hummus while the rest of us wait. You're tying up 20 percent of all the checkouts. Like, no, no, that is not what happens. And this is sort of related to the big New York City sin. There's the walking on a sidewalk two by two—which we all hate—but there's also the stepping up to a counter and not being ready sin.

Leah: Mm!

Nick: Like, we hate that. Like, tourists in New York City? Don't do that. If you step up to a counter, you got to be ready. That's not when you ask questions. That's not when you clarify things. That is when you order immediately. That's when that happens. If you don't do that, we all hate you. So I think this is related, that when you step up to the counter, when you step up to check out, you're ready to roll. It's like an airplane. You don't board an airplane and are like, "Oh, wait. I would like to run out to the terminal again to grab another bottle of Fiji Water from Hudson News." No, once you board, you have boarded. That process begins, that is a one-way street. Once you get in the checkout, you have checked out. So if you are missing an item, you cannot run off and get it. You must complete the checkout, go into the store, buy whatever you need to buy, again in line at the end. That's how that should work. And if you're shopping with somebody else, similar rules. If they run off and get something, if you're at the front of the line and they're not back, time's up. You have lost your opportunity. That's it. So that's what I have to say. [laughs]

Leah: That is—I can imagine it happening.

Nick: Because now it's like, now we're waiting? Now we're waiting for you? You're tying up a whole register? Like, you're halfway through, so we can't even, like, void your thing, apparently.

Leah: Yeah, they just took it over.

Nick: [sighs] So that's how I feel about that. So I would just really rather that that not happen.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned about blackening wicks.

Nick: Oh, right? And you can never unknow it.

Leah: Yeah, I feel like I'm just gonna walk into people's homes and, like, look at the top of their candles, real aggressive.

Nick: Yes! And then you'll judge them. Isn't that wonderful? And I learned that you like death metal.

Leah: Of course. Who doesn't?

Nick: I mean, I don't. Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.

Leah: He will.

Nick: I will. So for your homework this week, I want you to sign up for our newsletter because we have very fun things cooking up, and you will find out about it first in our newsletter. And fun fact, did you know you can go to WYRBW.com instead of typing the whole thing out? Yes, we bought a special domain name just for your convenience. Are we not thoughtful? We thought of everything. So please go to our website, sign up for our newsletter, and we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!

Leah: In line with the moving, so the mover came very late.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And our couch didn't fit. And one of the reasons we decided to use movers is because our couch was like our first real furniture that we bought together. And so it would be like the one thing—and it didn't fit because it couldn't make the turn into the first floor. And so I thought if we could open our neighbor's door, we could go into the neighbor's door. And I felt very nervous about knocking. We'd already met our neighbor, of course, because I was like, "Hey!" So I kind of was a little nervous. I knocked and she was right there. She has a cat, which is lovely. We love cats. So we had that—we'd already had cat fun times.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And I was like, "Could we possibly just back into your apartment, like, real quick with our couch?" And she was like, "Yes, of course! Come on in!" And so she threw her door open, and we moved in to her and then we backed right into our apartment. And we could get our couch. And I was so happy about it that I cried. And—because it had been such a week. And ...

Nick: I was gonna say that's not really something that one cries over, but cumulatively, I can see how this was overwhelming.

Leah: It was cumulatively, because we were like, "I guess we're gonna leave the couch in the pool," you know what I mean? Because they don't take the furniture back. I didn't know what to do with it.

Nick: Yeah. No, that's one way.

Leah: And so she was like, "Of course, not a problem!" And I honestly cried. That's how backed up we were emotionally. And it was just like it felt like the most wonderful thing a person has ever done in my whole life.

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: And I was like, "Thank you so much!" Of course, I wrote her a thank-you note. And I'm just so thankful to have, like, a lovely neighbor who didn't get upset with me and let me have my couch.

Nick: Oh, very nice. And as a reminder, you can send in your Cordials of Kindness to us, CordialsofKindness.com. So we got a great one, which was, quote, "Thanks to both of you and your fun, educational podcast, enjoyed by all ages. My kids were in the kitchen and my 12 year old told my 10 year old, quote, 'Let's have a toast—to me!' To which my nine year old replied, 'You can't do that. It's illegal.' And then my 12 year old said, 'I mean, I won't raise my glass. We weren't raised by wolves.' They view bad etiquette as a crime. And I love it."

Leah: That's so great.

Nick: Is that not adorable?

Leah: So adorable.

Nick: So these kids are definitely not being raised by wolves. So thank you for that, really appreciate it.