Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle drinking Turkish coffee, behaving at the gym, returning holiday cards, and much more.
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle drinking Turkish coffee, behaving at the gym, returning holiday cards, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
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Nick: Do you stir your Turkish coffee? Do you text in the squat rack? Do you return holiday cards? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
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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: Here we go.
Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about Turkish coffee.
Nick: So have you ever had Turkish coffee?
Leah: I believe I have, yes.
Nick: Oh, okay. So explain what it is.
Leah: I think it's very thick coffee that comes in a little teeny tiny white cup.
Nick: Yeah, actually. That's kind of it, yeah. But first a little history. So it was probably introduced to modern day Turkey around the 16th century. Probably came from Yemen. And the aristocracy and the elites really liked it, and so it caught on. And now it's just a huge part of Turkish culture, and there's a lot of traditions around it. I read one thing where a mother-in-law will apparently use the coffee-making skills of a future daughter-in-law as a test of whether or not they're worthy.
Nick: [laughs] That's interesting.
Leah: That's a lot of pressure.
Nick: Although how universal is that, that a mother-in-law is using some detail to judge their future daughter-in-law? Like, oh actually, that feels like that's pretty global. And then there was another fun tradition which is when a woman is gonna get married, she will make coffee for her future husband. But instead of adding sugar, she will add salt. And if he can drink the coffee with salt without grimacing, then that will be a test of his worthiness to be a husband.
Nick: Right? And then Turkish coffee is actually so important that it's been added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. So it's, like, in the same category as, like, kabuki in Japan or sauna culture in Finland. So it's a big deal. So yes, it is very thick coffee, and it is often served in little cups. And the big thing to know about Turkish coffee is that it is not a type of bean, it's a brewing method. And the grind is very fine. It's finer than espresso. And it's unfiltered. So that's why there's gonna be some sediment in the bottom of the cup.
Nick: And it's made in a very special pot called a cezve—and excuse my Turkish pronunciation. And this is traditionally a copper little pot that has a very long handle. And you put this on the flame, or actually sometimes you actually see it cooked in hot sand, which is very cool. And the defining feature is that there's foam. There's very nice, luxurious dark foam on the top. And some would say that it's not Turkish coffee if it doesn't have this foam. And so when they make it, they're gonna add water and the coffee together in this little pot, and they're also gonna add the sugar at that time. So one thing to note if you're gonna be having Turkish coffee and if you want sweetened, that's the opportunity to let them know how sweet you want it. I personally prefer it unsweetened. Some people like it very sweet. Some people like it medium sweet. However you like it, it's fine, but you need to specify that when it's being made because the sugar gets added before the heat gets added.
Nick: Similarly, if you want a version that's made with milk, which is possible, the milk is substituted for the water. And again, that happens when it's being made. You do not add milk or sugar after it's already served to you.
Leah: Did not know that.
Nick: [laughs] Right? So then they make the coffee for you, and then they're gonna pour it in little cups, and they're gonna be very careful to get the foam in there, too. So actually, sometimes they'll take a spoon and they'll put the foam in first, and then they'll very carefully pour the coffee around the foam to maintain the foam texture as it's going in the cup. And the cup, yes, can be espresso cup-sized, or it could even be a more traditional type of cup that has a slightly wider base than top, and that actually reduces the surface area to maintain optimal foam.
Nick: And so now we have a gorgeous cup of Turkish coffee in front of you. And so how do we drink it?
Leah: I feel like I have a reference somewhere in my head. I don't even know if I want to say this because it's probably from a movie and it's, like, not even real. I don't think we stir it, but I feel like I have from somewhere that the spoon can stand straight up in the middle if it's correct Turkish coffee. [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Well, I don't think this is a scene from Pretty Woman, upon which much of your etiquette knowledge is based. But it is true: you do not stir it. And again, that's because of the importance of the foam. That's also why we don't add sugar or milk at this point, either. So the cup is in front of you, there's coffee in it, and we're actually gonna take a moment and let it settle, because it's unfiltered and we want to let some of the coffee grind sort of start sinking to the bottom before we take a sip.
Nick: And with this coffee, you will also traditionally be served a little cup of water and often something sweet. So that could be Turkish delight, or maybe just chocolate, or maybe some bonbon-type things. But often there'll be maybe something sweet with it. And so what you do is you will take water first to cleanse your palate, and then you will take a sip of the coffee. And you want to sip it so that you don't get too many grinds in it and disturb it, and you also want to savor it. It is sort of a different experience than just shooting espresso at Rome Termini on the way to jumping on a train. Like, it's not that. It's a slower, more deliberate experience. And so you're gonna take a sip of coffee, and then you can alternate between taking a little bite of Turkish delight or something sweet and going back to the coffee.
Leah: I really want this right now. The way this is being described, I want some right now, and I want to alternate with a Turkish delight.
Nick: Yeah. And for anybody who doesn't know what Turkish delight is, it's basically starch and sugar together. And often there is gonna be something in it like dates or pistachio, and it could be flavored with something like rosewater or lemon. And it's usually, like, in a little cube shape.
Leah: Sort of jelly.
Nick: Yeah, it's sort of a jelly. It's sort of like maybe a precursor to a jelly bean, almost.
Leah: A very thick, thick, square jelly bean.
Nick: Yes. Yes. I think if Jelly Belly were cubes, it could be in this world.
Leah: And slightly mushier.
Nick: Slightly mushier and then flavored with, like, rosewater.
Nick: So Jelly Belly, if you're listening, that's a good idea. But Turkish delight is great. So if you've never had it, definitely have it. So then you have enjoyed your coffee, and you just want to be mindful that it's not to be drunk to the bottom because there is gonna be some sediment and some grit down there, which you do not want. And then you would finish with water again to sort of cleanse the mouth. And then that's the Turkish coffee experience.
Leah: I really do want one right now.
Nick: I mean, if I could make that happen for you, I would.
Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Deep tissue.
Nick: [laughs] Oh!
Leah: [laughs] You know, I try to come up with something.
Nick: Yeah, that was a good one. So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about gym etiquette.
Leah: I think this is so amazing because one of our Patreon members wrote us a question about generalized gym etiquette, knowing that we answer questions the same week that I witnessed one of the most extravagant gym ruders—rudies? Rudesses?
Leah: For sure rudes—FSRs.
Leah: For sure rudes that I have seen.
Leah: Yeah. I'm gonna say ever.
Nick: Number one on the list?
Leah: I'm gonna put that number one.
Nick: Okay. Well, let's start there. What happened?
Leah: Okay, so it was a group fitness class.
Nick: Oh, well right there that was—that's the problem right there.
Leah: And then of course, somebody comes in and is like, "I should be in the front even though I'm late."
Leah: So ...
Nick: "Oh, excuse me. Can you make room? Oh, can you slide over? Oh yeah, please."
Leah: There was no "Excuse mes." There was just "I belong here." And then this woman takes a phone call.
Leah: In front of the class in the middle of the whole class.
Nick: I mean, why wouldn't you?
Leah: Why wouldn't you? Just stands there on the phone having a full conversation.
Leah: And then the instructor says no phones in class.
Leah: And she says to the instructor, "Says who?" So at this point, the class is about to start. But he turned around and said, You have to—"she says, "Says who?" And he was like, "Oh, it's—"very polite. "Oh, it's the rules of the gym." And then she turns around and gives all of us a lecture about her personal opinions on the situation.
Leah: I mean, this is when class was about to start. And then he just stood there, and we all stood there like, "Hey, we're waiting for class to start. We've already sat through your phone call, and now you're giving us all your dissertation." I mean, she just stood in front of us with her arms flailing, talking. So then she makes a big show of walking out, going to get a manager. But the fact that she said to the teacher, "Says who?"
Leah: He's the teacher? Just do—the idea that somebody thinks they can interrupt the whole class ...
Leah: And that their opinion is more important. The rest of us are just going along with the rules. Just go along with the rules. I can't even believe it.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I appreciate that there's a TED Talk to go with it. [laughs]
Leah: The TED Talk blew my mind. Blew my mind.
Leah: I literally—when people get that wild, it's hard for me not to laugh because A) I'm so uncomfortable, and B) I want to be like, "We already all know your personal life from your loud phone call where you came and stood in front of the class, and now we can't start dancing because you want to give us your college thesis on how you personally feel. Nobody cares."
Nick: Well, a lot goes down at the gym.
Leah: I can't imagine saying that to another person. The fact that the instructor didn't—he was so polite back to her. He didn't in any way escalate. Disrespectful to the room, and then disrespectful to talk to the instructor that way. "Says who?" Ahh!
Nick: So I think disrespect, that is a theme when it comes to gym etiquette. So this is one of those topics that we're not one and done here. We cannot possibly cover all gym circumstances in this chat, but we will get to a few of my top pet peeves. And hopefully this will just make people more mindful in their travels of these things. And when we're all in the gym in the future, we will try our best. That's all we want. Try our best.
Leah: Yeah, just try your best. Obviously, sometimes we do things that we didn't know we shouldn't do or didn't mean to do.
Leah: I think definitely starting a TED Talks—to borrow your term—in the middle of a class because you want to be on the phone, we should all know that we shouldn't do that.
Nick: Right. I think most of the etiquette crimes I experience in the gym are really coming from a place of being sort of mindless. It's not malicious. It's just I'm spaced out, I'm sort of in my zone. I'm sort of not mindful that I'm in public still and there's other people.
Nick: I think most of the crimes really do fall into that category. They don't make them less of a crime, but sometimes it feels less personal and it feels less outrageous.
Leah: Yes. And then sometimes you almost want to give somebody a round of applause and be like, "You know, you're obscene." [laughs]
Nick: Right, exactly. So there's a lot on my list, but one of the things that I really dislike is hogging equipment and not being mindful that other people may want to use the thing that you are currently using. And I think a lot of people's complaints are in this category.
Leah: Yeah, I'll definitely see people—obviously, you need to take rest between reps. You should take—you know, you should do your reps, but then they'll just sit there on the phone, texting or on Instagram and you're like, "There's sort of a line waiting for you to finish."
Nick: Yeah. And when you are on your phone, you're actually taking a much longer time than you otherwise would be because, you know, you get distracted. I actually made a T-shirt for a friend, which was "No squatting in the texting rack" as a joke because it's so common that just people are just texting in the squat rack. So I think if we could be more mindful of that, I think if nothing else, can we just all please just agree on that? And also, when we're doing circuit training, and that's when you're actually doing multiple exercises sort of in a circuit around and around, and that's when you're actually hogging up multiple things at one time. And that's also a problem in a crowded gym because, like, do I need to readjust the weights, or am I cleaning your bench every time and now you're coming back? Like, am I working in or I'm not? Like, it gets very confusing for the people around you if you're hogging, like, three or four different things at one time. So I think if it's a busy gym, circuit training is a bold move.
Leah: Also, obviously, we're wiping down our equipment after we use it.
Nick: I mean, that's not even on my list because this is like, don't we all know that one?
Leah: I don't think we all do. I really don't think we all do. I think all of our listeners do. I don't know.
Leah: I think we're just letting them know.
Nick: You're doing a good job if you're doing that.
Leah: You're doing a great job if you're wiping down your ...
Nick: And I think a lot of etiquette is about modeling good behavior. So maybe the idea is when we're all wiping down our benches and people see that, oh, that's the thing that we do here, maybe that will encourage more people to do it.
Nick: And then the other thing that is on my list that really just grinds my gears is when you're filling up a water bottle. and you fill up the entire water bottle. And it's a big water bottle, it's 32 ounces, it's 64 ounces. And it's like, you are not gonna drink a quart of water in the next 45 minutes. You just aren't. It's just not gonna happen. And I was at the gym recently, and a woman was filling up her 32 ounce bottle. And I was behind her with my little bottle ready to roll, and she gave me a look which was like, "Oh, I know that this is so annoying. Isn't it funny? This is, like, taking forever." And it's like, you acknowledging that this is inconvenient does not make it better. You actually make it worse because you know you're doing a bad thing right now. Somehow you think like a wink is gonna smooth this over? Like, no, this is still an etiquette crime. You're just aware of it now, which makes it worse.
Leah: Nick does not accept your wink.
Nick: I do not accept your wink. Wink rejected, returned to sender. No. Yeah, if you want to fill up water, like, get what you need for, like, the near future, or PS, just fill it up at home. Or return after I'm done. Let me jump in there. I'm gonna only get a couple drops in there that I need, and then I'm on my way.
Leah: I usually forget my water bottle, so this doesn't even ...
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Well then, problem solved.
Leah: Problem solved. Just forget your water bottle and dehydrate completely.
Nick: And these days, there's a lot of virtual training that's happening—which I do and I actually enjoy—where, like, you have a personal trainer on, like, your iPad or your phone. And this is great. I have seen people bring tripods into the gym, though, where your phone is mounted on, like, a big tripod so that, like, the trainer can see you through the camera. And I mean, I think that's fine as long as you're not inconveniencing other people. So I think you just need to be very mindful, like, where is this tripod? And I'm assuming we're using headphones so that other people cannot hear the phone.
Leah: I think phones are a whole topic. Like, people go to gyms for their time to, like, work on themselves, get away from what they're doing, and then people are taking, like, a lot of phone calls. I think not polite to everyone in the gym.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think you just want to be mindful of other people's psychic space as well as their physical space. And being on a phone, yeah, you can really pull people out of whatever vibe that they're having. And that's rude to do that unnecessarily.
Leah: Obviously, sometimes you have to take a phone call, but I don't think you need to ...
Nick: Yeah, this is not that.
Leah: Yeah, this is not that.
Nick: And then lastly, I think we do not correct people's form. We do not engage with strangers to give them tips or advice unsolicited. But I think this happens. It falls into the category of giving unsolicited advice. This is definitely a place where we don't want to do it.
Leah: That one is directed to the men in the audience. [laughs] If I may be so bold. If I may be so bold as to stereotype. I've never had a woman come up to me at the gym and be like, "You know," it's always—not saying that it's impossible. I'm just saying it's happened more than once.
Leah: That a man has come over and let me know how I could do it better.
Nick: So unless you are observing a actual safety issue, unless there's an actual safety problem that's happening right now, not just, say, "Oh their form's not great and maybe in 10 years they're gonna have some back problems," I think it's best to keep your mouth shut.
Leah: Yeah, because people are insecure at gyms and, like, just getting back. Or, you know, a lot of times people aren't—working out in a public space can make people feel insecure. And if somebody just comes over and is like, "Oh, I noticed that you're horrible," it doesn't feel good.
Nick: [laughs] No. And that feels so obvious, but I mean, this happens. This happens a lot.
Leah: It definitely happens.
Leah: I also don't like it when people walk by and go, "Keep it up!" That drives me crazy.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess any unsolicited comments in the gym, even if they're well-intended, they can come across the wrong way.
Leah: [laughs] Yeah, it makes me feel like you're like, "You have a lot of work to do." And then I also just don't want to keep it up anymore, because now I feel like you've told me to keep it up, so I'm not gonna keep it up.
Nick: Oh, you want to spite them?
Leah: I want to be like, "I don't do what I'm told to do here."
Nick: Right. Yeah, saying "Keep it up" to somebody makes it sound a little—it's a little patronizing.
Leah: It really is.
Nick: It's a little patronizing. It's like, "Oh, good for you!" Yeah. No, it has a little of that flavor.
Leah: Yeah, it really does.
Nick: Right. So I think we only scratched the surface of what goes on in gyms, but I think we'll revisit this from time to time. And if you out there have ideas for additional things that drive you mad at the gym that you would like us to share with others let us know.
Leah: Yes, definitely let us know. Obviously, we're polite when we come in and out when we're checking in.
Nick: No, we do all the other things that you're supposed to do in society.
Leah: I know, I just felt like throwing that in there in case that was a thing.
Nick: Yes, you should hold the door open for other people, and you should not litter in the gym. Like, yes. I mean, how many other things you want to list, Leah?
Leah: I mean, we're trying to hit them all, are we not?
Nick: No, we're not. We don't have time for that.
Leah: Well, but now you brought it up, when you wipe down your machine, don't drop the little piece of paper. Find the trash can.
Nick: Yeah. No, find the trash can. Yeah, okay.
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.
Nick: So our first question is quote, "My husband and I live in Tennessee, but we have family spread out all over the country. Each year, we send a family holiday card with a photo of ourselves and our two young children to our family and friends as a way to stay connected. Yesterday, we received a card from someone who received our card as a result of an incorrect address. Upon opening the card, which was not a return to sender of our original piece of mail, mind you, but a completely dedicated separate correspondence, we were shocked that the sender had taken the time to mail a note of complaint about how tired they were of receiving our families card for the past eight years by mistake. They wrote lines like, "I don't know where the people you are looking for have moved to, but you must not keep in close contact enough to know that they moved somewhere else." There were more exclamation points than I care to count in the note. What would possess someone to sit down and write a dedicated letter of complaint for what must obviously be an accidental oversight about the address change? And how should one handle the response, if any?
Nick: "To be honest, I wrote a letter back to the senders already letting them know that their actions had been unnecessarily hurtful. I know this is very possibly the wrong thing to do, but I'm not sorry. Still, I'd love to hear what you think is the right thing to do in our shoes, as well as what the recipient should have done differently to notify us of the address change with less judgment and vitriol."
Leah: Any time there's a "To be honest" at the end, I'm delighted.
Nick: [laughs] Yeah. No, that's always very good.
Leah: A "To be honest" coupled with a "And I'm not sorry," these are my ...
Nick: That's a fun couplet.
Nick: I mean, this isn't rude, this is just mean.
Leah: The person writing back?
Nick: Yes, absolutely.
Leah: But I mean, I also—it is shocking, like, the idea that you would ...
Nick: Take the time.
Leah: ... write a letter to somebody, and then take shots at them.
Nick: With so much venom!
Nick: I mean, that's what I think is so confusing to me: to have so much venom about a piece of mail. Like, you've received this one family card from some people you don't know in the mail and you just reach your breaking point? I mean, how do we get there?
Leah: There is the return to sender. I mean, that's the standard.
Leah: That would have notified our person sending the card that oh, they're not here anymore. That's why that exists.
Nick: Yeah, why are we opening mail that's not addressed to me?
Leah: Why are we opening the mail? And then I can't even imagine—I actually, you know when you're like, "I wish I could watch?" I want to watch the person opening this and being like, "I can't! I can't with the Christmas cards!"
Nick: Ugh. The Johnsons again?"
Leah: "I need to put pen to paper."
Nick: "I hate their faces!"
Nick: "And their well wishes for a new year!"
Leah: "I don't want well wishes for a new year."
Nick: "Oh, look. They have a dog now? Ugh!"
Leah: These people that wrote back, it's shocking.
Nick: It is. It's definitely shocking. And you know what? I think you could have just ignored it, but I think writing back, I actually don't think that is impolite, necessarily. As long as you weren't mean about it in your letter, but to just directly say that your actions were hurtful? That's polite. You can definitely be polite and direct at the same time in this letter. And being polite does not mean not calling people out when they do bad things.
Leah: It's also you've got to get it out somewhere. Obviously, the people on the other end didn't get it out, whatever bothered them in their life, and they took it out on you.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, it just feels like to go from zero to 60 on this is just so ...
Leah: I mean, I would say zero to 100.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, to take the effort. I mean, it's really—it's the effort that was required to take your letter and now write a new letter with it and put it in an envelope and a stamp.
Leah: A stamp.
Nick: And, like, it's so hard to get people to write thank-you notes in general, to take the effort to write hate mail? I mean, that takes even more effort.
Leah: Can you imagine what this—not our letter writer, the person who sent this letter back, what their daily life is like?
Nick: I feel like it involves a lot of gruel, and I'm picturing windows that have never been cleaned, so they're sort of like dirty. And then I'm picturing only 40-watt bulbs in this home, and the TV is just set to static.
Nick: That's what I'm picturing. And then this person receives this holiday card with too much joy, and it's too much for them. That's what I'm picturing. No?
Leah: I mean, I love the picture you painted.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. And picturing sort of a goldenrod shag carpeting, maybe? Architecturally, it's very distinct in my head.
Leah: [laughs] Well, to our letter writer ...
Nick: Sorry this happened to you. I don't think you did anything rude. I guess update your address book for next year.
Leah: Or send it again. [laughs]
Nick: Oh, actually, that's not a bad idea. And just actually send it to them directly, so it actually is deliberately to this family.
Leah: I mean, we're starting a war.
Nick: I mean, is that considered rude to send well-wishes to these people? It's probably—it's probably frowned upon.
Leah: Yeah, it's probably not ...
Nick: If we got a letter from somebody saying they did it, we'd probably tell them they shouldn't. But I do like that idea.
Leah: For some reason, in this moment it feels very fine.
Nick: It feels right right now.
Leah: For sure. For sure, it's not appropriate, but ...
Nick: No. But, you know, it would be fun. So our next question is quote, "How do you correctly flush the public bathroom flush paddle? I was taught from infancy that to not further sully your hands, you need to kick the flush paddle before exiting the stall. But when I was in college, I learned that most people did this with their hands. My husband thinks my kicking of the paddle is monstrous since one washes their hands anyway. So how does one flush a public toilet?"
Leah: I decided after reading this question that, no matter what the polite thing is on this, I'm sticking with my foot.
Nick: Okay, you're a foot person.
Leah: I'm a foot person. And even if somebody was like, "That's so rude," I'm gonna stick with my foot. I'm not bringing my hands into this situation. I've seen women's public restrooms. I'm already cleaning up. I already clean up when I go in there. It's always—it's always a danger zone. I'm then not—if you have to wash your hands anyway, then what does it matter if I use my foot?
Nick: I was actually reading a study that the toilet seat is actually the cleanest part of the bathroom stall.
Leah: I'm sure it is. It's getting wiped down constantly by people such as myself who are cleaning up after these people who can't clean up after themselves.
Nick: But a study was conducted by some manufacturer of these flush paddles, and they found that two-thirds of Americans actually use their foot. So in their study, a majority of people actually use their foot, and that the hand people are a minority. Whether or not this is true, I don't know if this was peer-reviewed, but this is at least some survey.
Leah: I think if they didn't want me to use my foot, it wouldn't be a flush paddle, it would be like a little baby button.
Nick: Although I do know people who use their feet to try and do those.
Leah: I mean, I would say they're gifted because it's right in the middle and it's a very small button.
Nick: I did look up to see what Emily Post had to say, and not surprising she has not weighed in on this topic. Her book goes from what to wear at a ball to how to begin a letter. She skips bathroom completely. There's like no bathroom section in the 1922 volume.
Leah: I don't really feel like this has to do with—I guess, because the next person coming in, but at a certain point, you have to be like, there are certain things I'm just not touching.
Nick: Well, here's I think, an etiquette way to think about it, which is etiquette doesn't care what you do alone and that doesn't affect other people. So the question is: does your using your foot or your hand affect other people? Like, what is the effect? Because I think we agree everybody should be washing their hands afterwards. That does affect other people. That's societally good for everybody to be washing their hands. But is there an etiquette effect from using feet or hands?
Leah: Well obviously, the bottom of your feet are more dirty.
Nick: Right. Are we actually negatively impacting other people by using our foot?
Leah: No, because they're washing their hands.
Nick: Right. So I kind of land on do whatever you want. Wash your hands.
Leah: Also, it's a really good stretch. You know, put your foot up there.
Nick: Oh, that's what it is? Get those hip flexors going. Oh, okay.
Leah: I feel like we might get a few disagreements on this, but I'm sticking with my foot.
Nick: Well, I think it's sort of like the toilet paper roll, how it's installed up or down? I feel like people who have strong feelings have very strong feelings.
Nick: And then everybody else is just sort of neutral.
Leah: Yes. I think that's how it's gonna be.
Nick: There's no middle ground. There's nobody who's like, slightly passionate about this. You're either, like, 100 percent in or you have no feelings on the topic.
Leah: I mean, I have feelings of using my foot, but I'm not gonna get in an argument about it.
Nick: Not yet. See you in the parking lot, Leah.
Nick: So our next question is quote, "I'm at a destination wedding, and one of the other guests was really drunk at one of the pre-wedding events and gave me a necklace that I complimented. I really don't like the necklace all that much, but was trying to keep the conversation moving. I know it has sentimental value to him and I really don't want it, and I'm thinking that if he wasn't so drunk, he probably wouldn't have given it to me. Should I give it back, or should I graciously keep it but not appreciate it?"
Leah: I would give it back. I would offer. I would say, "Hey, I really feel—I'm feeling bad. I feel like this has sentimental value to you. You know, I feel like you should keep it, but thank you so much." And then if they insist, then I'll keep it.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, in general, I don't think we want to give gifts back. But are there extenuating circumstances here?
Leah: There are, because the person's very drunk.
Nick: Yeah. And if you think that they would not have done this action had they not been drunk, then that's noted. That's noted.
Leah: And I think that's what our letter writer is saying.
Leah: That's why I think you could present it and not say, "Hey, you were really drunk. I don't think you would do this." You could say, "I've been thinking about it and I feel so bad. I think this has such sentimental value to you."
Nick: Right. Yeah, I would say—when he's not drunk and the dust has settled—have a polite yet direct conversation, which is just like, "Thank you so much. I really do appreciate this necklace, but I just want to make sure that it's okay because I know it has importance to you. And if you felt like you actually wanted it back, like, totally understand. No problem." And say it in a very neutral way to open that door in case he wanted to walk through it.
Leah: And then if they insist you keep it. Keep it.
Nick: Yeah. At that point, then it's yours. And you don't like it, so I guess do with it as you wish. Regift it or whatever.
Leah: I don't think you regifting it.
Nick: Why not? You can regift a necklace. Why not?
Leah: Maybe you subtly drop it in their things. They probably don't even remember they gave it to you.
Nick: They may not even remember they gave it to you. Yeah, they may think you actually stole it from them.
Leah: You could be like, "You dropped this."
Nick: [laughs] "Oh, is this yours?"
Leah: Be like, get it in their room when they're not paying attention.
Nick: Oh! I mean, now it's a caper.
Leah: Now you have to, you know, get the keys. That involves a lot of work.
Nick: Yeah. Oh, so now we have to bribe a bellhop to get the master key to the room, and then slide it into the room without getting detected.
Leah: But I do think we could offer it back and say, "I feel like it has sentimental value."
Nick: Yeah, I would offer. And then if it's not accepted, then that's the end of it.
Nick: So do you have questions for us about sentimental things?
Leah: Or unsentimental things?
Nick: Let us know. Let us know through our website WereYouRaisedByWolves.com. Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (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: [whispers] 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: I'm gonna repent, Nick.
Nick: Hmm. Okay. It's been a while.
Nick: What did you do?
Leah: Well, everything else I've been trying to handle quietly.
Nick: I see.
Leah: So a friend asked me for a favor.
Leah: And it was the kind of favor that it was a fine favor to ask, but I had to, you know, think about what would be the best thing. You know, it had layers for me to do.
Leah: And I said, sure. I was absolutely fine doing it. And I completely forgot, which I never do.
Nick: To do the thing at all?
Leah: Yes. I had all these things happen at once. I was sort of overwhelmed. I was scattered. I completely blanked it, which I don't know if I've ever had that happen that I just completely blanked. And I saw something on Instagram two days ago that reminded me of it, and it just hit me and I was like, "I never did that!" I was mortified! I, of course, immediately called my friend and apologized, but I've never just agreed to something, and then it just zipped out of my brain.
Nick: And is it too late to fix it or do the thing?
Leah: I can't fix it. The thing is past.
Nick: Oh, okay. Well, this happens.
Nick: This can happen, yeah.
Leah: I was mortified. So I just apologized immediately. I was like, "You just have to apologize. You can't fix it."
Nick: Yes. And I think one of the benefits of having a good reputation of somebody who doesn't do things like this is that you are given the benefit of the doubt that this is not a character flaw, this was a one off.
Leah: Oh, I hope it's a one off.
Nick: I mean, we'll see.
Leah: [laughs] You know when a lot of things come in at once and you're like, "I am flustered. I'm just losing stuff."
Nick: No, I don't. I don't know what that is.
Nick: But I hear it's a problem for some people.
Leah: Somebody here is very organized and somebody isn't.
Leah: We'll leave our listeners to guess who's who. [laughs]
Nick: So for me, I would like to vent. And this is very mild, but it's just sort of bothered me this week. And so I thought I would share because that is what this is for. So I would like to talk about people who write emails and they don't sign off, they use the signature that is automatically generated by their email software to be their name. So what you get is an email which is like "Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Best, comma," nothing. And then you are, like, assuming that the bottom footer that has their name and their company and all that, that's their name. And they do this, and I don't like it because it feels impersonal. It feels like their time is more valuable than mine, somehow. Like, "Oh, I'm too important to bother signing my name. You know who I am." And I don't—I don't care for this. I don't like the signal it sends.
Nick: Also, when you write an email and then you reply to an email, my software, and I think a lot of software, removes everybody's footer so you don't have all these footers throughout, like, the thread. And so in the email reply, it's just gonna say "Best," and then nothing. And so, like, that looks weird and also catches my eyes, like, "Oh, that's rude. You didn't even sign your name." So I think out there, if you do this, think about the signal you're sending by doing this. It's not necessary. You're not saving any time. And so don't do that.
Leah: [laughs] I wish we could get a clip of your face to our audience with the "Don't do that." Don't do that.
Nick: Don't do that. No. Yeah. No, I'm kind of scrunching my entire face up when I say that.
Nick: [laughs] But yeah, I just—I don't like it, and a lot of people are doing it. It's like a trend. And so I want to nip this in the bud before this becomes, like, a thing.
Nick: So out there? Evaluate. Look at your life. Look at your choices. If you do this, knock it off.
Leah: Just throw your name in there.
Nick: Yeah, just write your name. That's it. How hard is that? "Best wishes," comma, "Nick."
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned that Turkish coffee, much like myself, is unfiltered, and it needs a few minutes to settle.
Nick: Just a few. And I learned that you are gonna use your feet to flush.
Leah: I won't be ashamed.
Nick: Yeah. No. No shame in that.
Leah: Wash your hands!
Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you, Nick.
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery if I could.
Leah: He would!
Nick: So for your homework this week, we want you to write us a nice review and tell a few people about us, because the more people that learn about us, the more people are gonna be polite. And the more people that are gonna be polite, the closer we're gonna be to achieving world peace. And don't you want world peace? Yes, you do.
Leah: No pressure, no pressure.
Nick: No pressure. But you want world peace. And the best way to achieve world peace is to go to our website and click on monthly membership and see if that's something you'd like to do.
Leah: I love that that's world peace.
Nick: I mean, it's a linear progression between becoming a member on Patreon and achieving world peace.
Leah: And finding clean gyms everywhere.
Nick: That's on the path.
Nick: So please do that, and we'll see you next time.
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: So it's six months that we've had our little Lacey and I just wanted ...
Leah: Right? I wanted to do a huge Cordials of Kindness shout out to Eloise Rescue, which is where we got her. And I'm also going to do a Cordials of Kindness to Lacey, who is so sweet and cute. It must be such hard work for her to be this sweet and cute all the time and keep our moods elevated, and I'm so grateful to be able to adopt a dog.
Nick: That's very nice. And for me, I want to read a review we just got, which is quote, "This show is a true delight. I find myself cheering at Nick's impeccably good manners, watching my mood elevate via Leah's effervescent optimism, and marveling at both hosts' unique and incredibly helpful solutions to listeners' difficult conundrums. Add this show to your subscription list stat. Your new best friends"—that's us—"are here to guide you through the nebulous paths of life's sticky and unavoidable social interactions."
Leah: That is just the sweetest!
Nick: Isn't that nice? I mean, I'm happy to be your best friend.
Leah: I'm smiling so hard my ears feel warm.
Nick: So thank you. That's very nice.
Leah: So nice!
You can start with our first episode, our most recent episode, or jump in with one of these favorites in the middle:
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