March 6, 2023

Correcting People's Grammar, Declining Expensive Invitations, Sharing EV Charging Stations, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about correcting people's grammar, declining expensive invitations, sharing electric vehicle charging stations, and much more.

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about correcting people's grammar, declining expensive invitations, sharing electric vehicle charging stations, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

Have a question for us? Call or text (267) CALL-RBW or visit



  • When is it OK to correct someone's grammar or punctuation?
  • Are you obligated to share a taxi with someone when offered?
  • How do I decline expensive invitations because I don't have any income right now?
  • Is it OK to unplug someone else's electric vehicle and plug in my own if they're done charging?
  • How do I avoid side conversations at a group dinner?
  • Are you a manufacturer or distributor of smart toilets?







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 175


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

Leah: And it's Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And we had so many great questions from you all in the wilderness ...

Leah: [howls]

Nick: ... that we have a bonus episode. So here we go! Our first question is quote, "When is it okay to correct someone's grammar or punctuation?"

Leah: I have two—two times it's okay.

Nick: Okay. All right, let's hear it.

Leah: One ...

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: ... if somebody asks you.

Nick: Yes, I think that is definitely, definitely a requirement a lot of the times. Uh-huh.

Leah: And the other one is if somebody is making fun of you online and they, like, tweet at you like an insult or they write it on your Facebook, and they misspell something or they use the wrong punctuation, that's a great opportunity.

Nick: Oh, okay. Okay. That was not on my list.

Leah: To rebuttal with a grammar correction.

Nick: [laughs] I see.

Leah: Always funny.

Nick: On my list, one occasion when you can do it is if you're a parent or a teacher, or you are somehow part of the moral and spiritual guidance for somebody. So if you're like a trusted guardian or something like that, like, that is allowed. Like, the same rules apply when you are allowed to correct someone's etiquette, you're allowed to do that if you're a parent. So grammar, that is part of that, that is allowed.

Nick: Another occasion when I think it's allowed is if you are a boss and one of your employees is gonna send something externally that might have an error and you want to correct that before it gets sent out to a client. I think there is an occasion to maybe correct an error or a typo like that. And then if there's something that's being sent out and there's an occasion to fix it and you spot a typo, then you could. Like, if your best friend is gonna send the wedding invitations and sent you a copy, just to, like, "Oh, these are my wedding invitations," and if they haven't been sent out yet and you notice there's a grammar error, I think you can say something and be like, "Oh, this caught my eye." If there's an occasion to fix it. If it's already gone to the printers, then you just gotta let it go.

Leah: I think those three are great.

Nick: Right? And if you do correct someone's grammar, you gotta make sure you're correct. You have to make sure you're correct. 100 percent correct. [laughs]

Leah: I think I've told you this as a friend, but I don't think I've said it publicly on Were You Raised By Wolves?

Nick: Oh, I don't—what are we talking about?

Leah: One of the greatest moments of my life. I was at a holiday party, and I was having a conversation not involving this woman across the room, who then yelled across the room to correct something I said.

Nick: [gasps]

Leah: And then it upset my boyfriend so much that he Googled it.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. In real time.

Leah: In real time, to prove to her that I was right. And then yelled it back across the room. And it was glorious!

Nick: I mean, because the rule is if you're gonna be rude, you at least have to be correct. You are not allowed to be rude and incorrect. Like, that combination absolutely does not work. Definitely not. Yeah. So I mean, your fiancé is definitely handy for this sort of thing.

Leah: Oh, he was great at it. I was like, "They haven't seen one of you before." Because I would have just felt embarrassed. But he was like, "No, no, no, no." And then Googled it. And I was like, "Whoo!"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, is that good etiquette to add rudeness to rudeness? I—you know, it's debatable.

Leah: I don't think it was adding rudeness to rudeness. I think what was happening was like, "Oh, do we think this is incorrect? Let me just double check it."

Nick: Sure. I'm sure that's the tone that was used.

Leah: Let me just check it out for you. Let me check it out for you.

Nick: Okay. Yeah, we're all just learning. We're just learning.

Leah: Since we're learning, I'm just gonna look it up.

Nick: And we're gonna let you know what we learned.

Leah: What we learned. And what we learned is that when you shouted across the room at me, you were actually false.

Nick: So our next question is quote, "Years ago, I traveled home from a trip with my older half sister. I was in college and she was in her 40s. When we landed back in our home city, she asked if I wanted to split a cab with her. Being in college and frugal, I told her thanks, but I'm actually gonna take the train home. Admittedly, this was also my way of avoiding spending more time with her because she can be exhausting, and we also lived in totally different parts of the city. She got visibly upset and berated me, explaining that in life when people offer to split a cab with you, you do it. You don't take some alternate mode of transportation instead because that is rude. What's the deal? Was I wrong? Are people really obligated to share a cab with you if they have an alternate preferred way to travel?"

Leah: I underlined the line, "When people offer to split a cab with you, you do it." And then I wrote next to it, "She made that up."

Nick: Yeah. I wrote, "Uh, this is not a thing."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Yeah. I mean, this is not a thing. Like, what a bonkers thing. No, not a thing.

Leah: I mean, not even a little bit. It's not even a little bit of a thing.

Nick: Not even close, no. And our letter-writer did the absolute polite thing, which was just like, "Oh, no, thank you, I'm gonna do this other thing." There was no explanation, no excuses. It was just like, "Oh, thank you. But, like, no, I'm good. I'm gonna do this thing." I think this was handled very nicely. And to berate anyone, I mean, even if this was a thing, even if this was a thing in some alternative universe that we don't live in, like, you wouldn't berate someone. No.

Leah: Yeah, I think you were fantastic.

Nick: Yeah, I—actually, there's not much to talk about here because, like, it's not a thing. And you're fine.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is quote, "I was just laid off from my tech job and I've told my friends. However, I keep getting invited to pricey drinks, dinners and events. How do I say I'm not able to attend because I don't have any income right now? Do I pivot the conversation to something like, 'I won't be able to join, but I'd love to go on a hike or walk?' I'm sad I can't join and I feel pretty bad about it."

Leah: May I?

Nick: Please.

Leah: So I have two things. One of them, I think, saying the letter-writer's suggestion, "I won't be able to join, but I'd love to go for a hike," I think that's fantastic.

Nick: Very nice.

Leah: I think you can also—as a comic, I have had many times like these in my life—almost every other week—and I've gotten comfortable saying, "I'm currently not working and I'm on a tight budget, but I'd love to see you in some other way."

Nick: Yeah, I think what's nice here is that people do want to include you, and I think it's good to not make assumptions about whether or not someone can or can't do something and, like, decide the RSVP for them. Like, this happens a lot with people who have, like, due babies or are experiencing a loss in their life, they're mourning. And a lot of times people are like, "Oh, we're not gonna invite that person because, like, oh, their husband just died," or like, "Oh, they have new baby. They're not gonna want to come to our barbecue. So we're just not even gonna issue an invitation to them, and we're just gonna make that decision for them." And that's rude because maybe these people can come. You know, they can make arrangements, they can get a babysitter or they want to come and socialize. And so don't make assumptions for people about whether or not they can or can't attend. If you want them to attend, like, if it's a sincere invitation then, like, invite them and then let them decide.

Leah: Also, it's just nice to feel invited.

Nick: It's also nice just to be invited to things. Yeah, absolutely. Everybody wants to feel included.

Leah: And I think our letter-writer, I don't know if you're—I think what you said about not able to join but I'd love to go for a hike or a walk is great. But I also don't think you need to shy away from saying, "I'm on a budget right now. I'm not working."

Nick: Yeah. "Unfortunately, I can't. But thank you for the invitation. I really appreciate it."

Leah: I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that directly, so people understand I'd like to hang out. Can't drop a lot of cash.

Nick: Yeah, I think that's totally fair. So our next question is quote, "Is it okay to unplug someone else's electric vehicle if it's done charging, and then plug it into my vehicle if the cord can reach?"

Leah: This feels a lot to me like taking the clothes out of the dryer conversation.

Nick: Oh, my goodness. That is exactly what I had. Exactly.

Leah: Oh, same person. Same person.

Nick: This is a dryer. Because there is this temptation when there's, like, some new technology, it's like, "Oh, we need new etiquette rules. Oh, it's a whole new uncharted territory, we don't know what to do!" But it's like, no, we actually have a full toolbox available. And I think we can reach into this toolbox and, like, find something that's equivalent. And yeah, the clothes in the dryer.

Leah: Unfortunately, this toolbox is the murky one. This is the murky anxiety-producing toolbox.

Nick: [laughs] That was also on my list, which is like, society has not come to clear rules on this either. But yes, so what we're talking about is in a laundry room, if there's, like, laundry in the dryer and the cycle is done, how long do you wait until you're allowed to take out someone else's clothes?

Leah: And I just wish there was a sign, like for the charging and the laundry, "Things that have been sitting for more than 10 minutes," you know what I mean? "You can take the clothes out of the dryer. You can unplug the car."

Nick: Yes. I think if as a society we could agree on what that is, we would have so much more harmony. I think we would just be so much closer to world peace if we could just decide that after five minutes, if you're not back to get your laundry, I'm pulling it out.

Leah: Maybe this is our—what we were destined for is to get the world to make signs of what the time limit is so we can all be less anxious.

Nick: I mean, this should be it. Maybe this is our contribution. This is how we're gonna get a Nobel Prize.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: This is it!

Leah: People that have cured illnesses. And then we're like, "We did the signs for the laundry. The laundry room."

Nick: Yeah, laundry signs? That's us. Yeah, that's us.

Leah: Also, the electric cars charging? Also us.

Nick: Also us. Yeah. Two Nobel Prizes.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So yes, I think whatever it is, we just need to decide what it is. I think we can all agree we do not remove wet laundry before the cycle's done.

Leah: No!

Nick: And we do not unplug a car while it's still charging.

Leah: And I honestly would feel a little uncomfortable unplugging somebody's car. I'd feel like I would want to, like, go look for them.

Nick: Yes. I did look online to see what other people had to say about this. And a lot of people do feel like, oh, once it's done charging, it gets a little murky. But to even touch someone else's vehicle is really bold. And there are a lot of examples on YouTube of people in fistfights where this has happened. And so even if you feel like, oh, they didn't come back for their car and it's been two hours, even then there could be fistfights. So that is an etiquette crime.

Leah: I do feel—fistfights, etiquette crime.

Nick: Fistfights is considered poor etiquette.

Leah: I feel like if we had signs, you could do it. But I do feel like with no signs, I would just wait it out 'til they come back, because touching people's cars is uncomfortable.

Nick: Very uncomfortable. Now on the flip side, if you are charging your car, something that people do do is you leave a note on your dashboard letting other people know when it's okay to unplug it. So some people say, like, "Oh, when it's at some percentage of charging, then, like, you can unplug it." Or "You can plug it if it hit 100 percent." Or "You can unplug it if it's an emergency." So you can give instructions to other people to say, like, when it's okay. But yeah, absent instructions, right now, currently we have not as a society agreed on anything, in which case I think you don't really touch it.

Leah: Yeah, I think you don't touch it.

Nick: Although it's super rude to abandon your car after it's definitely done charging and just, like, take up a spot. Like, that's just super rude.

Leah: That's definitely super rude. But you could also even leave your phone number on the windshield and be like, "If you need to come in, call me."

Nick: Oh, I like that. Yeah. "Text me if you need me about the charger, and we can text about it." Yeah, I like that. And I think there is a whole world of apps that are now being used to, like, find charging stations and, like, communicate with other people at charging stations. So I feel like there is some mechanism of communication, but it would just be way easier to decide on the number of minutes. So Leah, let's just decide. Let's just decide.

Leah: I think it's 10.

Nick: Well, when we were talking about laundry—I went back and looked—I say five minutes and then I'm pulling your laundry out. You said—do you remember what you said?

Leah: Did I say 15?

Nick: You said 30 minutes.

Leah: Did I? Wow. Have I—have I grown since then, because now I whittle it down to 10.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Because 30 minutes is like—that is an insane ...

Leah: That's a whole other wash cycle.

Nick: That's an insane, insane amount of time. And apparently, you waited 30 minutes and the person still hadn't come back, and then you continued to wait longer because you were uncomfortable even at 30 minutes.

Leah: Oh, I'm saying this for other people. I'm gonna wait until they come and get it because I don't like touching people's stuff.

Nick: Oh, there is no time.

Leah: There is no time. If there's not a sign, I'm not touching it.

Nick: Wow! Oh, I feel totally fine after a certain number of minutes, which for me, five minutes. You know, we all have timers. We all have timers.

Leah: Yeah, we all do have timers. And I will judge them. I will judge them, but I'm still not touching it.

Nick: Fair enough. Okay, so I will have a sign in your laundry room which says "Five minutes." In which case you'll be fine.

Leah: Yes. I just need the sign. I've actually thought about could I message my building manager and be like, "Let's put a sign in there so we have, like, a hard and fast rule."

Nick: Oh, make your own sign. Just, like, put it up. Go guerilla.

Leah: I'll think about it.

Nick: Okay. So then with the car, I feel like a little more time than laundry. I feel like somehow we need more than five minutes. Five minutes feels, like, a little aggressive.

Leah: Because somebody walked somewhere.

Nick: So I feel like 10 also feels a little short, but in the zone. 15 feels good, right? 30 minutes feels like too long.

Leah: I think 15 is good.

Nick: Okay. So we are gonna decide that 15 minutes for an EV charging station. Once your car is charged, you got 15 minutes to come back.

Leah: But we're also saying that until those signs go live, we don't think that people should be pulling other people's cars because we don't want anybody to get ...

Nick: Hurt.

Leah: Hurt.

Nick: [laughs] Exactly. But no, we're gonna make—we're gonna make signs happen, Leah.

Leah: I really like this idea.

Nick: We're gonna make signs happen.

Leah: I even—and on a smaller level, you ever have somebody unplug your phone because you were using your own charger, and then they wanted—or a charger, and then they wanted to. And you're like, "I don't think you can unplug my phone."

Nick: Like, I'm in a coffee shop and I have my ...

Leah: No, like you're—you're at a friend—you're at your friend's, or maybe you're even home and somebody is over and you're charging. And they were like, "Oh, you were at 100 percent." And you're like, "You don't touch my phone."

Nick: Oh! Oh, isn't that an interesting question? In your own home, if somebody unplugs your phone at 100 percent, I guess the question is: is it a shared resource, or is it your charger, I guess is a question.

Leah: I think we just don't unplug other people's things.

Nick: I think we ask first. Like, "Hey, you're at 100 percent. Would you mind if I unplugged your phone?"

Leah: Yes.

Nick: That would be the polite way to do it. Yeah, that's true. Yeah, just to rip a phone out of a charging and just like, "Oh, I'm gonna plug in now." Yeah, I guess that's not done.

Leah: And that's sort of how I see the car thing. It's just a larger phone.

Nick: It is a bigger phone. That's true. [laughs]

Leah: So maybe we just walk through the streets yelling, "Hey, do you have a blankety-blank-blank? Can I unplug it?"

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Great. Really want to live in that society. Okay, so we have our work cut out for us.

Leah: But if I do—if I do see somebody doing that, I'm gonna go, "Raised By Wolves listener?" And then I'll help them on their journey. I'll go through the streets with them and be like, "Do you have ...?"

Nick: I guess that's the modern equivalent of, like, "Oh, is there a Hyundai with license plate, you know, 495? Because your lights are on."

Leah: [laughs] Yes, yes. Yes, yes.

Nick: Yeah, because that's where we've come now. Okay. So our next question is quote, "When my husband and I get together with a particular couple, the wife always wants to have a separate conversation with me. Within minutes, she's pulling out her phone to show me something irrelevant, such as a recent photoshoot she did with her dog. I'm not interested, nor do I want to see the photos she insists on sharing with me. I prefer the conversation to include the four of us as we start the evening. The husband has an interesting job and travels extensively, so he shares wonderful stories that only my husband gets to enjoy because she starts a conversation with me that could wait until later. How can I politely communicate that she holds off so I can hear what the husband is saying and so that we can chat as a group at the beginning of our evening?"

Leah: I was really interested to see how—the sentence that you would come up with.

Nick: Oh, okay! So interestingly, I don't think it's a sentence. I think the solution here is about geography. And so I think the trick here is we need to rearrange the space, and so we need to not be next to this person. We have to put someone else between us. Therefore, this person, in order to communicate with us, would have to cross the other conversation that's happening. So if you can position your body physically in the space between your husband and her husband so that she's across from you, I think that will solve this problem.

Leah: That seems like it would solve this problem.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Let's say it didn't solve this problem.

Nick: Well, but then that's all I got for you. [laughs]

Leah: I think that's the first line of defense. If we can't do that—maybe she physically grabs you and is like, "I want to show you these photos!"

Nick: And then you struggle to crawl back across the kitchen to get between everybody else?

Leah: Is there a sentence where you could be like, "I'd love to have a conversation with the four of us."

Nick: Well I mean, let's go to the toolbox. I think we would have a polite-yet-direct statement of some sort, which is, I guess, like, "Oh, I would love to see those photos of your burnt toast that look like Elvis. But can you show me at dessert? Because I would love to hear about Chad's recent trip to Sri Lanka."

Leah: I think that sounds great. The way you just said it is perfect.

Nick: Right? I mean, I think you just have to use a tone which is, like, upbeat and interested in your burnt toast but, like, let's put a pin in that for later in the evening.

Leah: And also some photoshoots of dogs are very exciting.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. True. That's true.

Leah: And by some I mean all.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I also want to say that I think it's also to look at this as, like, this woman enjoys your company. It's complimentary that she wants to share things with you. So there is a bit of a—this woman is just trying to be joyous with you. And if we could look at it in that way ...

Nick: Yeah. I think always when there's an etiquette problem to reframe the question, look at it through a different lens, can sometimes actually make things better.

Leah: So I think we could put that into how we feel about the whole thing.

Nick: Yeah, I think that's a good point. Another thing we can try is, you know, at the beginning of this evening, we are dividing the conversation in two. Well, instead of having two conversations, why don't we focus on the dog photos first as a group. Let's all talk about the dog photos. Let's get that out of everybody's system, and then we can talk about the trip.

Leah: Oh, that's nice. And we could even say to our husband, "Hey, look at these dog photos with me." Like, be a team effort. "I'd love to not divide up. I'd love to all have a group conversation. So why don't we look at these dog photos up top together?"

Nick: Right.

Leah: So this person gets to share what they want to share.

Nick: Right.

Leah: And then we'll move on to the other shares.

Nick: Yeah. So I think if we can actually keep the conversation as a group conversation throughout, that might be a thing to try.

Leah: I feel like we have, like, multiple options.

Nick: Nailed it.

Leah: Nailed it.

Nick: So our next thing is—it's an email we received, which I am so delighted by that I just wanted to share with everybody. And so longtime listeners of our show may know that I am particularly fond of the TOTO brand of toilet, specifically the NX1 model, which is the fanciest of the TOTO line. It's the one that has the heated seat, all the buttons. Like, it has the control panel. It's electronic.

Leah: Did you say "slightly fond?" Did you say "slightly fond?" Because I think we could use a stronger term than "slightly fond."

Nick: Did I say slightly fond?

Leah: I felt like that was the tone, and I think maybe the more the tone is ...

Nick: Very excited about it.

Leah: ... deeply interested in.

Nick: Yes. I mean, I love all things Japanese. And this is the ultimate expression of the Japanese toilet, the pinnacle of Japanese toilets. And I would love one in my home. So if anybody has $10,000 and would like to buy an NX1 toilet for me, delighted to have one show up at my door. So I've talked about the NX1 toilet from time to time. And so I think our Google search engine optimization is so good, is so good that we just got an email which is quote, "Hello, do you sell smart toilets? Are you a manufacturer or a distributor? Thank you."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And so here is somebody who is obviously confused, but thinks that we might actually be a place where they can buy a smart toilet such as the TOTO NX1 toilet. So I love that I've talked about it so much that Google thinks we might be a place you could buy them.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So I just wanted to share that because that really made my day when I saw that email come through.

Leah: I feel like that bodes well for the future.

Nick: I mean, maybe we should sell the toilet. I mean, that could be a whole separate business, Leah. Right? Yeah. You can buy some stationery from us, buy a mug, buy a toilet. Why not?

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So do you have questions for us about plumbing fixtures or anything else? Please let us know. You can let us know through our website, Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW. And we'll see you next time!

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!