Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about going to neighbors' open houses, asking newlyweds for their entire wedding photo album, using hand lotion without asking, and much more.
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about going to neighbors' open houses, asking newlyweds for their entire wedding photo album, using hand lotion without asking, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
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Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And we had so many great questions from you all in the wilderness ...
Nick: ... that we have a bonus episode. So here we go. Our first question is quote, "Recently, I put my home on the market as I found my dream home in another town. I had two open houses this weekend, and was surprised to hear from my realtor that at least seven groups of neighbors showed up. No one notified me that they were going to do this, and I'm a bit miffed. Everyone has my phone number and email address, and it feels like since they weren't anonymous strangers, a heads up would have been nice before entering my house and looking at all my stuff. Am I overreacting, or is this rude?"
Leah: I read this over a bunch of times because I feel like I don't quite understand the situation.
Nick: Okay. So this is what I think is happening: I am selling my house, and I have a real estate agent who is now showing my house to people who may be interested. And among the people who show up to the open house are everybody that lives on the block. So all my neighbors are coming to check out my house when I'm not there.
Leah: But you don't think they are looking for houses?
Nick: Oh, no. It's very common to just have nosy neighbors who wanted to see what real estate is in the neighborhood. Like, this is very common, sure.
Leah: Okay, that's what I didn't get. I didn't know.
Nick: Yeah. These people are not looking to buy your house, no.
Leah: They're just looking at your stuff.
Nick: They're nosy neighbors. They're little looky-loos.
Nick: I'm assuming that's what's happening. Correct.
Leah: Because I feel like if they were looking to buy a house ...
Nick: Oh, have at it. Happy to sell my house to you, sure. But that's not this.
Leah: If they were looking to buy, I was thinking maybe they actually thought that it was more polite to just go through the realtor's open house so they don't bother you.
Nick: Oh, I see. Okay, yes. If that were the case, that would be the proper channel, correct. Okay. But no, these are just nosy neighbors.
Nick: I mean, people go to open houses for sport that have no intention of buying anything.
Nick: Very common in New York City just to, like, show up just to see what a building looks like or an apartment. Sure.
Leah: Okay. See, sometimes I need things reframed for me, because I don't even get—I don't know ...
Nick: You don't go to open houses for sport?
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Nick: I mean, I think are you allowed to be miffed? Sure. That feeling is valid. I would say that having nosy neighbors come to your house is not necessarily a bad thing when you're trying to sell your house, because you don't know who they know, and they're the best ambassadors for your neighborhood because they already have invested in your neighborhood. So they may know somebody else who wants to come to the neighborhood. So that's not a bad thing. And having people at an open house makes your house look more attractive. Like, you want to go to the restaurant that has the long line. You don't want to go to the restaurant that has reservations at any time. So if there's a lot of traffic to your open house, if I roll in from some other town and I see all these people here, I'd be like, "Oh, this might be a hot property." So it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Leah: And I can see how you would feel like, oh, I wish—because you know them, "Oh, I wish they'd texted me and said, 'Hey, I'm gonna come by for your open house.'"
Nick: Well, I think our letter-writer is annoyed that they went to the open house at all, rather than just like, "Oh, if you wanted to come over and, like, see my house, like, you could have just let me know, and it didn't have to be an open house." The problem with that is I want to come to your house and I want to see your bedroom, I want to see your closets. I want to see your master bath. I want to see areas of your house that you're not gonna show me if I'm a guest in your house.
Nick: That's the difference. Yeah. So yeah, are you miffed? Yeah. You're totally entitled to be miffed, sure. Is this the deal? Yes. Now you can avoid this by having open houses by appointment only. So you could tell your real estate agent and be like, "Hey, you can show the apartment or you can show the house but, like, it needs just to be by appointment only." You need to basically pre-qualify potential buyers.
Nick: And that'll cut out nosy neighbors. But I think if you reframe this and get over your annoyance, and I guess be thankful you're leaving this neighborhood of nosy people, then these people could actually really help you sell your house. So I would reframe it in that way, and actually look at it as a good thing.
Leah: I'm so glad you walked us through this, because I didn't even think that there were just people who just wanted to look at your stuff and weren't interested in buying. So ...
Nick: This did not occur to you that this type of person exists in the world?
Leah: [laughs] I just really am ...
Nick: Okay. Well, let me tell you, Leah, there's a lot of people that do this.
Nick: So our next question is, quote, "Is it rude for someone to ask for your wedding photos? We recently got married, and a few of my friends and family members are asking us for our entire album of wedding photos, which has over 6,000 pictures. We haven't even looked through them all or even showed them to our own parents yet. I did share an album with 1,400 photos with this person, but she's asking for more. I understand that they just wanted to see the moments and relive the day like we do, but we're not big sharers like that, and we think some of the pictures are intimate and personal, especially the ones of just us two. Is it rude for us to keep these pictures to ourselves?"
Nick: No, definitely not. [laughs] No, totally reasonable.
Leah: Also, if you send somebody 1,400 pictures and they're like, "No, we want all of them." I think you can very confidently say, "Oh, these are the ones we're sharing. Thank you so much for being interested."
Nick: I mean, 6,000 also is a lot of photos. Like, that's a number that you might get at a wedding with two shooters and, like, that's all the photos. But, like, 6,000 photos over an eight-hour wedding day? Like, that's a lot of photos.
Leah: Well, they're saying they haven't even gone through them. They haven't even shared them with their family, and this person is being like, "I want more!"
Nick: This sounds like it's the entire photo album. Like, the photographer is just like, "Here's the raw files, Here's the memory card."
Leah: Well, I think that's what it is. And I think you don't have to share that with everybody.
Nick: Definitely not, no. I think what you could say is something along the lines of like, "Thank you so much. We haven't gone through them yet. Is there a shot you're looking for? We're happy to be on the lookout for it."
Leah: Oh, perfect. I love that.
Nick: And kind of leave it there. And maybe you never come across the shot, but I feel like 1,400? I think we covered the highlights, didn't we? I mean, what are we missing from this day?
Leah: And for sure, it's your wedding, it's your photos, keep—certain ones feel private and intimate, and you want to keep for yourselves? Keep them for yourselves.
Nick: Yeah. I think set a nice, polite boundary. This is a great occasion for that. And yeah, you're definitely not under any obligation to share 6,000 photos. You can't even get through 6,000 photos.
Leah: And you're absolutely allowed to have things that are just for you.
Nick: Correct. So, yeah.
Leah: And congratulations!
Nick: And congratulations, yes! And best wishes to you both. So our next question is, quote, "Starting about 15 years ago, a group of us—three couples—decided to make Thursday night a regular dinner event. Recently, another couple has asked to join our group—let's call them Chad and Lisa. Lisa is best friends with one of the women in the existing group. This is a very delicate situation because Lisa always dominates the conversation and ruins the dynamic of the original six people. Also, Chad would like to eat earlier, and so he asked if we can meet a half hour earlier than usual. I know at least five of the six of us would like to keep the group the original size. What can we do?"
Leah: I think the Chad part is the easiest part of this.
Nick: Yeah, that's definitely easy. Although what I love about that is, "Oh, let me join your group and then let me have you accommodate my wishes."
Leah: Yeah, exactly. That's a hard no.
Nick: And then it's sort of like, we don't live in that world. No.
Nick: What? So—but we all know a Chad. We all know a Chad who, like, inconveniences us once, and then needs us to accommodate something else for him.
Nick: Like, I already just accommodated you, and now we need to bend to you further? Like, no.
Leah: [laughs] There's three couples here who've all agreed to meet at this time. This is when we meet. You're not—you're joining, you're like, "You guys should all change." That's just not happening.
Nick: Also, 30 minutes? It really makes a difference for Chad, these 30 minutes? What is he doing? What is he busy with? Is he day trading and the markets don't close? Like, what is happening?
Leah: [laughs] Chad can come when you're already eating dinner.
Nick: Well, I don't think we want to have Chad and Lisa join.
Leah: Oh, okay.
Nick: So I think we need a solution where Chad arriving late is not even a possibility, because Chad and Lisa are not invited.
Nick: I mean, that's the world our letter-writer would like to live in.
Leah: It is. Definitely.
Nick: Our letter-writer would like us to help this person not have Chad and Lisa around. I believe that is what we're being asked to provide.
Leah: I was dipping my toe in by saying we're not gonna change our time for Chad.
Leah: Let's just dive all the way into this lake.
Nick: Well, because Lisa dominates the conversation. We don't like Lisa.
Leah: I think the hard—the person that is the keystone, the centerpiece of this issue, is Lisa's best friend who's in the group.
Nick: Yes. She is key to solving this problem. I also imagine that she's the source of this problem.
Leah: Yeah, I imagine that.
Nick: Because this invitation to Chad and Lisa didn't come out of nowhere. So yeah. No, it's Barbara. Barbara's really the trouble.
Nick: Yeah. So Barb likes Lisa a lot. And so Barb was like, "Oh, Lisa, you should totally join for this Thursday night thing." So I think we need to have Barb solve this problem. So I think we need to have a polite, yet direct conversation with Barbara and be like, "Hey, love Chad and Lisa, but they're not the right fit for our Thursday night thing. And so let's keep that as it is. But maybe there's this other thing we can do with Chad and Lisa at other times." So we're not closing the door on Chad and Lisa. Happy to go curling with them, happy to go ziplining, happy to go whatever. But, like, Thursday night? That's just for the original six.
Leah: You know, I love it. It feels—I'm a little sweaty. Like, I feel a little nervous about it.
Nick: Well, let's role play it. Let's role play it.
Leah: No, because—just because I can feel like, oh, I would want to say that.
Nick: I'm Barb.
Leah: And then I'd be like—okay.
Nick: Let's have the dialog.
Leah: I think it's the right thing to do.
Nick: So practice.
Nick: Hey, letter-writer. I'm Barb.
Leah: Hey, Barb!
Nick: Which you know because we're friends and we go to dinner on Thursdays.
Leah: Yes, I'm so looking forward to Thursday.
Nick: I know. Isn't it great? Yeah.
Leah: It is.
Nick: Mm-hmm. Can't wait.
Leah: So I was thinking about Lisa and Chad.
Nick: Yeah. Don't you love them?
Leah: I feel like—they're so lovely, but I feel like it's not exactly a perfect fit with the six of us.
Leah: So why don't we keep it Thursdays just the six, how we've been doing it. And then we do a different thing another time with Lisa and Chad.
Leah: Mix it up a little. Do something—we could go to the movies or do a sushi night downtown.
Leah: Because I kind of just like the six of us. You know, I think it's been—it's very smooth. We all know each other at the same time.
Nick: Okay. I hear what you're saying. Thank you for having a polite yet direct conversation with me.
Leah: Oh, you know how much your friendship means.
Nick: I do. Thank you.
Leah: Thank you!
Nick: So that's exactly how this conversation is gonna go. Yeah, pretty much that, right? Also, Barb knows that probably Lisa's a little dominating in the conversation.
Leah: Yeah, it's quite possible that Lisa sort of pushed Barb into being like, "I can come."
Nick: Right. Yeah. I mean, this can't come out of left field for Barb. Barb knows on some level. So I think if you do phrase it in this way, then yeah.
Leah: And please keep us posted because ...
Nick: Please keep us posted.
Leah: This is the kind of situation where that's exactly what I think is the right thing to say, and it's perfect. And I think you have every right. There's this part of me that always feels like, oh, I have to have—we have to have them. We have to always be—but it's like, it's uncomfortable. And you've really enjoyed this thing, and you want to keep it this way. So you have every right to say that in a polite, direct way. And I can't wait to hear about it.
Nick: Polite yet direct. That's the way to go here.
Leah: I also know that feeling of just feeling so trapped because you feel like you have to invite everybody, and you're like, now Thursdays are ruined forever and we're stuck with it.
Nick: Yes. If this does not get solved, then that is the end of this Thursday night thing. And it will never be the same, and it'll really probably just peter out and be like, everybody will eventually just be busy that night and it just won't continue.
Leah: So I think do what Nick says.
Nick: I mean, if only everybody would.
Nick: So our next question is, quote, "I'm a captain of a team at work organized to walk in a charity walk-a-thon, and as such, I'm responsible for recruiting other members and donations. A close friend of mine has lost a family member to the health issue the walk-a-thon is raising money for, and I know she's walked in the event before—sometimes on her own and sometimes with her family. I know her family's not participating this year, so I asked her if she would like to join my team and walk with me at the event. She said she would, but that she's not paying. It turns out she's been walking in the event for years as basically a freeloader. She's not made any financial contribution to the cause, and she only shows up in the crowd in memory of her family member. She's bragging to everyone who will listen that she goes to the event every year to support her loved one, taking and posting picture after picture of herself at the event, but she's not actually supporting the cause to end the disease. Now I'm embarrassed for her to attend with me because my team will absolutely know she has not contributed anything. I could lie, but that adds to the dishonesty, and frankly, I don't want to give her even that false credit. How am I to discourage her without causing a giant rift in our friendship?"
Leah: I think there are definitely charities that you can support where you just show up, you talk about it, you post about it, you raise awareness, your presence there, you're honoring people in your family. And it's not about the money. But I think what the issue here is is that our letter-writer is the captain of this team who's there to raise money.
Nick: Right. So this is about, like, oh, we're actually fundraising. There is a transaction here.
Nick: Okay. So yes, I think we do want to just acknowledge that there's a lot of ways to support charities and be at walk-a-thons that don't necessarily involve raising money.
Nick: But yeah, I think this is not that.
Leah: And it's also different because our letter-writer is the captain of the team.
Leah: So he or she is then asking everybody else in the group to do this thing.
Nick: Right. Our letter-writer, their whole thing is about actually raising money. Like, that's the whole thing about being captain, I think, for our letter-writer.
Leah: So then I see why they're in a place where whatever they do, they feel bad.
Nick: And yeah, our letter writer is in a very awkward spot, because they assumed by joining the team you would do the normal things which is you either donate yourself or you, like, get people to pledge.
Nick: You know? Like, "Oh, give me money per mile I walk," or, like, however it is. And I guess what's curious is that this person does not even sound interested in having other people give money.
Nick: [laughs] So it's like, "I only want to do this and I want to have no financial contribution whatsoever." And it's like, okay. But, like, do you not know anybody on Facebook? You know, we all see those Facebook fundraisers. It's like, you have nobody who can give you some money for this walk-a-thon? Like, there's nobody? You don't even want to do that?
Leah: And then I feel like it's more complicated because we've already asked her and she's already told us.
Nick: Right. Well, I think we asked her not knowing that she doesn't pay to walk. [laughs]
Leah: No, we didn't know. And then when she told us, obviously, we were probably not ready for that.
Nick: Right. Because you're like, "What do you mean?"
Leah: Yeah, that's exactly what I can imagine thinking.
Nick: "You just walk? What?"
Leah: I feel like that would take me a few days to process, and then a few days later I'd be like, "Oh, okay."
Leah: We could say—because I think our letter-writer also feels like he or she is responsible for the work team, and she's asking all these other people to raise money, so then she has this other person who's not raising money, so she or he feels like they're being unfair in some way.
Nick: Right. Like, "Oh, I've asked all of my colleagues to chip in, and then there's this extra person who's my friend who's allowed to do all the fun things that we're gonna do, the pizza party we're gonna have, the swag bag that we get at the end, and is not gonna do any of those things."
Leah: Yeah. So I think there's also that because they're the captain where they feel this unfairness, and that's on their shoulders as the leader, the team leader.
Nick: Okay, all right. So here's where we are, what do we want to do about it? Our choices are to have a polite yet direct conversation with our friend about, like, oh, this is a little uncomfortable, or is there any other options?
Leah: I mean, I think we could say, "I feel super uncomfortable because everybody else on the team has to raise this money."
Nick: Hmm. And could we help our friend do that? Can we help them set up the Facebook fundraiser? Could we help them with the email template that they can send out?
Leah: Yeah, I think we could help them. I guess I feel like they're saying to us that this person has no interest in doing that.
Nick: Yeah, it feels like this person is actually proud that she gets away with it.
Leah: That's the vibe I'm getting.
Nick: Right? Like, "Oh, I'm so sneaky that, like, I'm getting all the benefit without any of the obligation."
Leah: I think a part of it we can handle is we don't cover it up for this person. We say, "So-and-so is in here for awareness raising."
Leah: They're doing the social media. We could tell people they're here, they lost this family member. They're walking in honor of them. They're doing the social media. And we could say to our friend, "You know, I feel—as the captain, I feel like everybody else here is raising money. I know this is important to you because you lost your family member. How would you feel if we designate you our social media person?"
Nick: Okay. So have them contribute in some way other than just showing up that's not monetary.
Leah: And then you're not saying you're not acting as if they're doing that. Because I feel like you don't want to have to act like they are a contributing member like everybody else. So now they're the social media person, they're awareness raising, they're posting about it.
Nick: Okay. Yeah, I guess that's a way out of it. And definitely not lying. We are not gonna lie for her or lie to anybody else.
Nick: And I guess for next year, now we know.
Leah: Don't ask.
Nick: So maybe we don't need this person on our team again.
Leah: The only other way to do it is to directly say to them, "Hey, I didn't realize you weren't into raising money. I'm doing this for work. Everybody here is raising money. It sort of puts me in this awkward position."
Nick: Yeah, I think that actually is also a fair way to go.
Leah: And I think that's totally fair.
Nick: Right. Because I think there is an obligation to the other people on the team.
Nick: In terms of etiquette. Like, we actually also have etiquette obligations to everybody else.
Nick: And I think everybody needs to be treated with the same amount of respect and mindfulness.
Nick: And so I think with that in mind, then I think the polite conversation with the friend? Yeah, the more I think about it, I think that may be a better path, even if it's a little uncomfortable. But I think you could also just be like, "Oh, this is a work thing for me. And so it's a work thing. So sorry."
Leah: Yeah, but it's definitely—I see why it's very uncomfortable.
Nick: Oh, sure.
Leah: Polite and direct.
Nick: Yeah, that's the way to go. It so often is. So our next thing is, quote, "I'm not sure if this was rude or I'm just mortified. I recently met with my city council representative about a resolution to protect our local pollinators. He began rummaging in his bag, and proceeded to slap a tube of lotion on the table. Without thinking, I took it and I used some lotion on my dry hands. The city councilman seemed nonplussed, but then I quickly realized that he wasn't offering me the lotion, he was pointing out that the product was made with beeswax and honey from the pollinators. I hope I didn't commit an etiquette crime, but I still feel embarrassed for assuming. I'm just gonna go think about this moment for the rest of my life."
Leah: I ...
Leah: ... love this person so much, because ...
Nick: I can see this scene. Oh, can I see this scene!
Leah: I was like, are we the same person? I for sure have done something akin to this and then been like, "Oh!" And then just the "I'm just gonna think about this moment for the rest of my life." Like, I'll wake up at 2:00 a.m. and be like, "I can't believe I did that!" [laughs]
Nick: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I could see this happening, and I could definitely see you doing it.
Leah: [laughs] And you're there—you're there trying to protect the pollinators, you know?
Nick: Yeah. What is there to say? I mean, is this an etiquette crime? I mean, is it rude to use other people's lotion without asking? Yeah, I guess it is. Okay. I guess, I don't think there was any major damage done.
Leah: There was no malintent.
Nick: Right. Oh, definitely no malintent here. Correct. Wasn't premeditated. Yeah, I mean, hopefully what we didn't hear in the story was, like, was there an apology? I'm gonna assume after the mortification phase we did get to the apology phase.
Leah: [laughs] I mean, I would be like, "Oh, you didn't mean—I can't believe I—I'm so sorry!"
Nick: Yeah. I mean, this is also sort of wonderful on some level. I really do love this.
Leah: Yeah, there's just something that's—we all do things like this. And it's so ...
Nick: Yeah, it happens. This totally happens.
Leah: It just happens. And then you—later, you're just walking through your day and then you remember it, and then sort of like a blush comes over your whole person and you're like, "Why?"
Nick: Because there's definitely those things that happen in life where we kind of just do them automatically.
Nick: Out of habit.
Nick: And I definitely think that this was not even conscious, that you just saw lotion being presented and you had dry hands and you're like, "Oh, lotion, hands. I'm gonna have a squeeze."
Nick: And that's just like what happened. And, like, there was no thought. And probably it only occurred to you that you had lotion on your hands after you realized, like, "Oh, that's not my lotion."
Leah: "They were just showing me the lotion."
Nick: "Where did that lotion come from? Oh, and now we're talking about the beeswax in it. Oh, because I'm here to talk about pollinators." Like, I imagine we just sort of, like, worked backwards.
Nick: From, like, "Why is there lotion on my hands?" So yeah, I mean, this is wonderful. I think you are absolved of any guilt. We will give you a pass. But yeah, I don't think this is gonna happen again.
Leah: And next time I do something like this, which I do things like this.
Nick: I mean, the day is young. What time is it in Los Angeles?
Leah: Yeah, exactly. I'm gonna think of you, and I'm gonna think ...
Leah: There's a whole group of us out there.
Leah: There's a whole group of us out there accidentally ...
Nick: Using other people's lotion without asking.
Leah: Using other people's lotion.
Nick: *[laughs] Of our elected officials. That's what's happening.
Leah: I mean, they're elected officials. You know, they should have lotion for everybody.
Nick: Actually, technically, that's your lotion. That's taxpayer-paid lotion.
Nick: So actually, have at it.
Leah: [laughs] That's a great way to think about it.
Nick: Yeah, exactly. So do you have any questions for us or great repents? We'd love to hear it. Please send it to us through our website WereYouRaisedByWolves.com, or you can leave us voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW. And we'll see you next time.