Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle holding teacups properly, tying up boats, telling people they "look tired," and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle holding teacups properly, tying up boats, telling people they "look tired," 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
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Nick: Do you hold a teacup the wrong way? Do you tell people they look tired? Do you ask your coworkers for money? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out.
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: Let's get in it!
Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about teacups.
Leah: Mm. Mm, mm, mm.
Nick: Like, little cups, little handles to drink tea.
Leah: I mean, I feel like I've already failed at this one. So ... [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] I do recall there was some Instagram post in which I think you were doing it incorrectly, yes.
Nick: So the question today is: how do you hold a teacup? And where does your pinky go?
Leah: I mean, we know I don't know. So ... [laughs]
Nick: So let's start with the pinky. Does the pinky go in or out? What is actually proper?
Leah: I mean also, does one have control over one's pinky? My pinky goes out. I can't—I would have to physically put it in.
Nick: You have no control over your pinky?
Leah: No control.
Nick: Okay. Well, the answer is definitively in. Pinky goes in. Not proper to have the pinky out. But where does this idea that the pinky out is more posh, more fancy? Like, where does this come from? So to answer this question, we do need to go back in history a little bit. So one theory—which I like a lot—starts with the fact that tea drinking goes back thousands of years. And it started in Asia, and then it went global in the 1500s. And tea was very expensive when it hit Europe. Like, only wealthy people had it. Like, silver tea caddies, like, had locks on them. Like, tea was very expensive.
Nick: And so you have only wealthy people drinking tea. That's point one. You also had cups back then, originally did not have handles and they were very small. And so you had these little cups with very hot liquid, and they were so hot you really only could have two fingers holding on to it because it was very hot. And so because of that, your pinky would be out a little bit for balance. So we have all of these super wealthy people holding little cups of hot liquid with as few fingers as possible to avoid burning themselves. And so Miss Manners explains, quote, "The gesture became associated with the rich, and pretentiousness has always been associated with the rich. Although Miss Manners has also noticed examples elsewhere."
Nick: But then the price of tea came down, and then someone invented handles, and so then the pinkies were no longer necessary, and so they get tucked in. And there is one etiquette expert I saw on YouTube talking about this, and he calls it, quote, "A complete affectation. And if I see people do that, I generally go around and snap off their little fingers." So it definitely inspires violence among some etiquette experts.
Leah: Whoo! A finger snapping!
Nick: Yep. Snap it right off.
Leah: That's intense. That's really does the punishment fit the crime, you know what I mean?
Nick: I mean, some etiquette crimes, yes. So pinkies do not go out. We tuck them in. But then how do we hold the teacup with the rest of the fingers? What are we supposed to do?
Leah: I mean, I'm pretty sure that what I did last time, you asked me if I was holding a gun.
Nick: Right. So that is not correct. Yeah, we do not hold a teacup like you're pulling the trigger on something. That's not what we do. We don't hook our index finger through the loop like it's a coffee cup. No, what you do is you pinch your thumb and your index finger together like you're pulling a piece of Kleenex out of a box. And that's what you're gonna do to pinch the handle. You're actually gonna pinch the space between the handle inside the loop, and then you're gonna take your middle finger and rest it under the handle for support. So Leah's trying this now. Let's see what you're doing.
Leah: Is that under the handle?
Nick: No. No. You're pulling it like a gun. No.
Leah: Well, what's supposed to go in the—I don't even ...
Nick: [laughs] I will post a photo of this in the show notes so you can see what I'm talking about.
Leah: [laughs] This is probably why I don't drink tea. It gives me a panic attack.
Nick: Okay, so here's a tea cup.
Nick: And so there's the loop.
Nick: And I'm gonna pinch in between the loop like so. So we're not gonna cover the top of the handle with our thumb.
Leah: Oh, wow.
Nick: Right. Because our thumb is being pinched in the loop, and then the middle finger goes underneath the handle for support. And then you can see that my ring finger and my pinky are not attending the party, and they are just tucked against my palm.
Leah: You also have a significantly lighter cup than I do.
Nick: Yes. Yes, you cannot do this technique with a 12-ounce mug of coffee.
Nick: Correct. That may have been Leah's problem.
Leah: This is like a 16-ouncer right here. So ...
Leah: I mean, I wouldn't have done it right anyway, but I just want to give myself that out.
Nick: Right. No, if you have a Trenta from Starbucks it's probably not gonna work. But yeah, you just pinch it like that. And that's how that goes.
Leah: Okay, cool to know that. I get it now that I can see you do it.
Nick: And then a couple of other just important things to note as long as we're on the topic: the saucer stays on the table unless you are traveling with your tea for some reason. So if, like, you're at a tea party and someone's like, "Oh, you must see what I've done with the solarium, come!" And then you take your tea with you, then you take the saucer with your teacup. But if you are at the table, then the saucer stays firmly planted on the table. And then let's say you're gonna add milk or sugar to your tea and we have a teaspoon. So you will take the teaspoon, and the trick is to not make any noise. Do not touch the sides of the teacup with the spoon. So you're just gonna go in and you're gonna go north, south, 12 o'clock to six o'clock, back and forth a couple of times. You're not gonna swirl it. No whirlpools. And when you're done, you're just gonna give it a little flick over the cup. You are not gonna touch the side of the cup because it is very rude to chip someone's china, and you can definitely chip someone's cup if you whack the edge of it with a spoon. Also, it makes noise, which is rude. So you're just gonna do that and then you're gonna take the spoon, you're gonna put it behind the cup on the saucer. That's how you're gonna handle that.
Leah: I just visualize, like, a whole group of us just practicing our tea north-to southing, flicking and putting down.
Nick: There is a whole industry of etiquette experts who make a living teaching tea service to people. Yeah, if we gave classes, Leah, I mean, we could do that full time.
Leah: We could do classes. Leah is the what not to do, and then come over to Nick's table.
Nick: Yeah. And then do not leave the spoon in the cup. Don't drink tea with a spoon in it. I see this happen. It's not done. Please don't do it.
Nick: And then the last thing, which is varsity level, is when you take a sip of tea, if you want to be real British about it, you look into the teacup as it's happening. You don't look over the teacup. Now Leah's trying it now.
Leah: I can do—that one I can manage.
Nick: Yes. That looked very elegant, Leah.
Leah: [laughs] Too kind.
Nick: So that's a brief introduction to how to hold a teacup.
Leah: I love it!
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Deep and insulting. [laughs]
Nick: So Leah? You look tired.
Leah: Ooh! Ooh!
Nick: [laughs] So we did briefly touch upon this a hundred years ago in some episode in the context of, like, what not to say to women who are pregnant. And we just sort of briefly mentioned, like, oh, just don't say that.
Leah: Don't say that to anybody ever.
Nick: Ever. For any reason. And I think it's worth spending a little time going a little deeper and talking about why you shouldn't and why it's so insulting.
Leah: Yeah. And along with "Oh, you look tired," you know, this is sort of this whole—this encapsulates sort of any comments that may come across as caring, but they just sort of—it sort of veils this underlying insult of you not being good enough. [laughs]
Nick: Yeah. No, it's definitely an insult
Leah: Or you not looking good enough, or you somehow being off, or you making somebody feel insecure about the way they're presenting themselves.
Nick: Right. Because the benefit of the doubt answer for, like, why someone just asked me this is that they're concerned for me, they're concerned for my well-being.
Leah: Yes, "concerned" is the word. And when I said "You," I obviously didn't mean our listeners. I meant when a person says to us.
Nick: Yes, when it's said in the world, the person who says it has some vague sense of concern for you, hypothetically. That's the charitable read.
Leah: "You look stressed, you look blank, you look—" However, I then have to defend myself, whatever question that is.
Leah: But I do think you're right that the kind read, and I usually try to convince myself unless it's a very pointed thing that the person meant well, that they just were checking in with me.
Nick: Yes, and they were misguided.
Leah: And they did it incorrectly.
Nick: Correct. Yes, this was incorrect. Yeah, I guess it's just a way to say, "Is everything okay?"
Leah: Yeah, it is "Is everything okay," but do you realize that when you say that to somebody in a context of being in a social environment, you're just gonna make that person feel self-conscious.
Nick: Right. Because there's a couple different possibilities. One is that I am tired and I obviously know that, or I'm not tired.
Leah: And either way, I don't want to look tired. I'll often say, "This is just my face." [laughs]
Nick: Yeah. I mean, there aren't any YouTube makeup tutorials for how to get that tired look are there? I'm sure this exists. I'm sure there's somebody who's trying to be contrarian who's like, "How to do dark circles." But I do think that, like, most people are not interested in actively looking exhausted.
Leah: "You look weary."
Nick: [laughs] Yes, "You look weathered."
Leah: [laughs] "Have you not slept in 30 to 40 days? I'm just—because I care about you."
Nick: "You look like you've lived."
Nick: Right? Yeah, nobody wants that feedback. And I guess it's just the general idea of we don't comment on people's appearance in general.
Leah: I think no matter how you meant it, it comes across as commenting that somebody's appearance isn't up to what you think it should be when they're out in public.
Nick: Right. So I guess, what do we say? What do we do when we are told, "Oh, you look tired?"
Leah: I say, "Oh, this is just my face."
Nick: Miss Manners has a response that she recommends, which is, "Do I? Well actually, I got a great night of rest. I'm sorry that it doesn't show."
Leah: Ooh, that's nice.
Nick: Mm-hmm. Or in another book she writes, "Thank you. I'm fine."
Leah: Oh, that's also good.
Nick: [laughs] So she gives you two options.
Leah: I also think there's the what if you're the friend and your friend seems like something may be wrong.
Leah: And you want to check in. What is it that we say that isn't insulting?
Nick: Well, I think we're concerned for their actual well-being, not their physical appearance. So I think the question needs to be towards that. Which is like, "Hey, everything okay?"
Leah: And then they'll say, "Why?"
Nick: "Just wanted to check in." Oh yeah, what do you say? Hmm.
Leah: That's the—what is that? I guess we trust that our friend—or no, I think sometimes it is nice to say, "You look absolutely gorgeous, but I feel like you're something—"no, that's not right. I do like that we're workshopping this. Because sometimes you do want to check in with people and you don't want to be like, "Hey, were you up all night?"
Nick: Yeah, we don't want to ignore if our friends might be in trouble.
Nick: Like, we don't want to live in that world either.
Leah: Or if they're stressed and they need help with something.
Leah: But I don't know what that sentence is that ...
Nick: "I notice you don't have the usual spring in your step today. Is everything okay?"
Leah: "You seem to be lacking your joie de vivre."
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: "But you look great. I can see that your eyes are dead."
Nick: Okay. Hmm.
Leah: I'm gonna say that's a no. I'm already gonna take that off the whiteboard.
Nick: Maybe it's just, "I know you very well, and I know that maybe you're not yourself today, or something's a little off to my eye, and I just want to check in to make sure, like, everything's okay, or if everything's not okay, if there's anything I can do for you."
Nick: So I think you could even, like, say something in that world, and kind of just, like, leave it at that.
Nick: Because maybe your friend is feeling off but, like, that's just the day they want to have, and they're not interested in engaging with you on the topic, in which case that's also fine.
Leah: Yeah. And then just drop it and bounce.
Leah: Don't be like, "No, no. I'm sure. I can tell."
Nick: Yeah. "You look exhausted."
Leah: "I'm telling you, you look like you've been walking around outside for days."
Nick: "You look like you've been in a casino for 40 hours."
Leah: Have you been in a desert?"
Nick: "Moisturizer won't help you now."
Leah: "Have you not drank water for over a week?"
Nick: "You know, prunes? That."
Leah: [laughs] Because I do—you know, you don't want to make somebody self-conscious. That's what it is. When you say you look tired now, "Oh, great. I look tired and I'm gonna walk around all day and I know that everybody thinks I have dark circles under my eyes."
Nick: Right. Because if I am tired, I know I'm tired.
Leah: I know I'm tired.
Nick: And if I'm not tired, I don't want to hear that I look tired.
Leah: Also, we don't need to make it so our friend feels like they have to defend themselves. "Oh, I'm not tired." "No, I'm sure you are. Have you seen your face?"
Nick: [laughs] Can you imagine?
Leah: I feel like I've been on the end of that one where I'm convincing somebody that I'm fine.
Nick: Like, "No, no, no. You really look terrible!"
Leah: And you're like, "I'm actually fine. I was fine until this conversation."
Nick: Yeah, I think we've all had that conversation, which is like, "I was actually doing great with my self confidence until 30 seconds ago. And now you've given me this whole new thing to think about."
Leah: Yeah. It's like, "Now I think I'm actually gonna go home and restart."
Nick: Yeah. Like, "I didn't know this was a problem, but oh, I am defective."
Leah: Yes. [laughs]
Nick: "I was just going through life ignorant about how defective I was. Oh, my mistake!"
Leah: So I think before we say anything, ask ourselves, am I really checking in with somebody because I'm worried, or am I just saying something because it's coming out of my mouth without me realizing what I'm saying?
Nick: And I think that's always a good thing to do before you say anything.
Leah: Literally anything.
Nick: Literally anything. But yeah, I mean, how would you feel if the situation was reversed? And is your relationship with this person such that, like, you would want to hear it from them? And if it isn't, well then, that's a good sign that you should keep your mouth shut.
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 were visiting my mom and her new boyfriend, which is the first time we had met him. They live together in my mom's house on a lake, which is also the lake that I grew up on. One day, my husband and I took the pontoon boat out for a ride, and naturally tied it back up to the dock when we got back. Having been raised on the lake with lots of different watercraft through the years, I am well familiar in how to tie a boat to the dock properly, including this pontoon boat. While my husband and I were on the beach getting ready to go back to the house, my mother's boyfriend proceeded to go back to the pontoon boat and re-tie every line that he had just watched us tie up. This offended both of us greatly. Were we wrong to feel offended, particularly considering he tied the boat up the same way we did?"
Leah: Two things.
Leah: I mean, obviously, I would be insulted.
Nick: Yeah. No, I think you're totally allowed to be insulted here. Sure.
Leah: And then I think the kind read is that somebody has a nervous habit.
Nick: Yes. I definitely want to give the benefit of the doubt in this situation, and not an aggressive, malicious, patronizing act.
Nick: So I would like to lean to that side of the spectrum.
Leah: Because I often will go through the house and make sure all the locks are checked.
Nick: Oh, yeah. I'm constantly checking my stove to make sure the gas is off. Yeah.
Leah: So I'm gonna put this behavior into that category as the kind read. Obviously, it's weird because it's your mother's new boyfriend, and you're like, "I've been tying this boat up before you were here." So I absolutely get why it feels offensive.
Nick: Right. Yeah, "I was here first. Of course, I know how to do this." Sure. I guess one question is, was he super obvious about it? Like, was he doing it in a way that was trying to make the point that, like, you did it wrong? Like, very obvious about, like, re-tying it?
Leah: Or was it like a staking his claim re-tie? Do you know what I mean? Where he was like, "This is my boat now."
Leah: Sometimes I like to put things in my head, and I think is it easier for me to put it in a category where I think, "Oh, this is probably like a habit from, like, a nervous place? Or do I need to say something in order to move on?"
Nick: Right. Because I guess is this a signal that this person doesn't trust me? Do you not trust my judgment that I tied up the boat properly? And that, because you don't trust me, you needed to double check my work? Like, is that what it is? In which case we might have other issues in our relationship that will probably manifest in other ways throughout this whole little weekend. But if it's isolated just to the boat-tying event, then I'm prepared to let this one go.
Leah: If we can't let it go, if we can't feel like it was just like a nervous habit, that they like to re-tie and relock and check the stove—which many of us like to do—I think that we can say, "Hey, I noticed that you re tied the boat. You know, I've been taking that boat out for a long time. I'm very comfortable with it. Do you not feel comfortable with my tie?" You know, I think we can have a discussion about it if we—in a polite way, if we feel like we need to clear the air and bring it up.
Nick: Oh, yes. I think you could definitely have a direct yet polite conversation. I think you could maybe even phrase it less accusatory, which would just be like, "Were you concerned with the way I did it? Or are you just extra cautious and like just to always make sure it's tied up?"
Leah: Yes. And I think you can have that conversation if you can't let it go, because if you can't let it go, you're always gonna feel that towards them.
Nick: Right. Okay, so maybe that's just the conversation. It's like, "Oh, are you just, like, always double-checking everything and it wasn't personal? Or, like, did I do something wrong? Or were you concerned that I did it wrong?" And I think that could be a nice sort of neutral way to have that conversation.
Leah: Yes. And then if they said they're concerned you did it wrong ...
Nick: But I didn't.
Leah: But I didn't, and I've been living here longer than you, so you need to back it up. I mean, obviously we wouldn't say that.
Nick: Not in those words.
Leah: Not in those words.
Nick: But that could be the thrust. Sure. Okay. So our next question is quote, "My friend got married this past summer, in which I was the matron of honor. I did all the matron of honor duties, and truly tried to go above and beyond in every way I could: bachelorette party, bridal shower, gifts, help with wedding selections, wedding day set up. From the beginning, it was made clear that a second reception was going to happen this winter, where a large number of guests would be invited, and I've been told that my only responsibility is to rewear the bridesmaid dress at this winter reception. I'm concerned I'll feel awkward arriving at the reception empty handed. I feel like maybe I should just bring a card. But then when it's opened would the couple be like, "Why would she just give us an empty card?" I suppose I would have to come up with an amazing empty card note. Do you have any suggestions? And to be 100 percent honest, I feel like I've done enough celebrating of this life event for my friend and I'm ready to move on, which makes me think I'm terrible. What kind of person gets tired of celebrating a friend? That's probably why I feel so unsure about what to do. Thank you for your help."
Leah: I feel like it's that third paragraph that really makes this whole question.
Nick: Yeah, that little postscript is really the whole thing. Yeah, that's actually—they're trying to slip it in as like a "Oh, by the way," but, like, oh no, that's actually what we're talking about. Yeah.
Leah: "To just close it out, I'd like to say I'm exhausted by my friend."
Nick: [laughs] Yeah. I mean oh, I have so many thoughts.
Leah: I think it's so funny that we feel things and then we feel bad for what we feel.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. No, I get this because weddings are exhausting, especially if you're part of the wedding party and you're not just like a guest that shows up for 90 minutes.
Leah: And it seems like our letter-writer has really done more than her fair share. She really did all of her things.
Nick: Oh, yeah. No, there was the bachelorette party. There was the bridal shower.
Leah: She's helped with the wedding setup.
Nick: I mean, yeah. What more do you want from me?
Leah: And that's why I don't think you should feel terrible. You're like, "I did all of my responsibilities, and now you feel like it's coming around again."
Nick: And I think it is noted that she's not being asked to bring a gift to the reception. Like, this is on her end that she feels this.
Leah: And I think you just feel it because you also feel bad, so then you're overcompensating.
Leah: So I would just show up in your dress.
Nick: Yes. Definitely do what was asked for you, which is show up in the bridesmaid dress. And I think a card is nice. Very nice. And I think if you felt like you wanted to do something, then what I would suggest is go through your phone from the wedding, and all the photos that you took on your own phone at that ceremony, go to your local CVS and print them out as four by six prints and include those in the card. Because they are photos that these people probably don't have, and the candid photos that guests take at weddings are often more fun than the professional photos. And so I think they'll appreciate it and they'll think it's fun, and it's like a nice extra bonus thing to go with the card. And it's not very expensive, but it's very thoughtful. So that would be my suggestion if you feel like you want to do something beyond just an empty card.
Leah: That is a very nice suggestion. I wrote, "I think in the card you could say something like, 'It has been so amazing getting to celebrate your love with you.'"
Nick: That's very nice! Yeah, and you can leave out the part which is like, "Over the past two years."
Leah: "And what a journey it has been." You can—that's silent.
Nick: "So many events. My credit card company also thanks you."
Leah: "Thank goodness I'm getting points."
Leah: But I don't think a gift is expected.
Nick: Definitely not.
Leah: I think they just want you to be there and wear your dress.
Nick: Right. And as a reminder, you are not obligated to give somebody more than one wedding gift. So you gave them a wedding gift. You're good.
Leah: Well, and you also gave them your time, your love, your support.
Nick: All of these things are true, yeah.
Leah: Which ostensibly is even much more cherished and important than a gift.
Nick: And yes, should we feel guilty for being exhausted? Nah.
Leah: The thing is is that you feel it. You can't not feel it. That's what you feel. So you can feel exhausted and then be like, "I'm just gonna go wear my dress." Feeling it and then feeling bad for feeling it, you're feeling double.
Nick: And if the people getting married receive your card that's empty and are like, "They didn't give us another gift." Well, that's on them.
Leah: That is on them.
Nick: I think let them have that feeling. Like, what are you gonna do about that? No, you can't do anything about that.
Leah: No, you cannot.
Nick: Okay, great. Our next question is quote, "I have a coworker that I've only known a short time that has started asking me to borrow money. First, it was $20, then $50. It's always with a story of different reasons why she needs it. And she's eventually paid me back, but it's very awkward and I need to know how to handle this. I've started ignoring her calls and texts, but I have to come in contact with her at work."
Leah: You know who should feel uncomfortable here is the person constantly asking to borrow money from a coworker. It's inappropriate.
Nick: Yeah. The only thing I wrote down was, "Nope, shut it down."
Nick: Shut it down.
Leah: This one goes in the nope.
Nick: No. What other answer is there? No.
Leah: It's just so unbelievable. I feel like this is me. This is me. This is one that happens to me, you know?
Nick: Is it, though? I mean, I don't think this is you today.
Leah: Not today, but it's been me. Nobody's asking a comic to borrow money. [laughs]
Nick: Yeah. I mean, if you are, then you're really in dire straits.
Leah: I mean, you are in dire straits if you're going to your comic friends.
Nick: But I think it's important to remember that being polite does not mean being a pushover.
Nick: And so you could definitely just say no. Like, "Unfortunately, I'm not able to."
Leah: And I think you could even say—because they keep texting, you could say "This is making me uncomfortable. I'm not able to lend money."
Nick: Yeah, and I think you just leave it there. I don't think we need to give excuses for why it makes you uncomfortable.
Nick: Or explain anything beyond that. Just "I'm not able to do it. Unfortunately, this makes me uncomfortable. I'm sorry I won't be able to lend you money."
Leah: And they know it makes you uncomfortable. They're pushing boundaries here.
Nick: Right. And if they keep doing it, that makes you feel very guilt free about totally ignoring it.
Nick: Like, you've said your piece, and now you've set a boundary. And if they want to keep crossing that boundary, well then that's on them. You have made it very clear where the boundary is, and so you could ignore anything beyond that boundary.
Nick: And then what do you do when you see them in the office? I mean, I think you're just cordial. "Hey, Lisa, nice to see you. Mondays, am I right? See you later."
Leah: I think perfect. I think also you'll be able to be more cordial once you say "This makes me uncomfortable, I can't do it. Thank you."
Nick: Right. Yeah. So I think you just have to say it. Because, like, what are your other options? Give her the money? No.
Leah: As Nick would say, we don't live in a world where you just continue to give her the money.
Nick: No. But I mean, if you're just giving money away, like, I'll take it. I mean, if you're just giving money, like, send it my way.
Leah: It's so unfortunate that people put us in these situations. But they will. That's why you just have to just lay the boundary.
Nick: Yeah, yeah.
Leah: Let me just say, and I've brought this up before, but I do think that, for someone such as myself and our letter-writer, 30 seconds of being uncomfortable is going to save you a year of trying to hide from somebody.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah, and I think that's a good tradeoff. That's a good investment in your time.
Leah: And you're not being rude. They're being rude.
Nick: Correct. Yeah, that at the end of the day is the detail that you need to keep in mind: That you are not doing anything wrong and setting boundaries is not rude and them asking for money even after you say you're uncomfortable doing it is the super rude part here.
Leah: And them continuing to ask you for money is rude when they know you're just a coworker is rude already.
Nick: Yeah, setting boundaries. Very polite.
Leah: You have our 100% support. Because it's difficult.
Nick: I mean, it's not, though.
Leah: No, it isn't for you. But I think for a lot of people that 30 seconds of uncomfortability, because we feel so programmed to have to be nice to people and we have grown up being taught that having boundaries is rude. So it's a lot of unlearning.
Nick: Right, I am not programmed this way.
Leah: Yeah, but a lot of us are, so it's a lot of unlearning.
Nick: I see. Well, unlearn it!
Leah: We're working on it, Nick. We're working on it!
Nick: If only I could bottle this and sell it.
Leah: For real, for real.
Nick: Yeah, "No" is the answer. Sorry, nope.
Leah: And once you've said it, they'll stop doing it.
Nick: Yes, that's the goal, at least. And if they don't, then that's on them.
Leah: That's on them.
Nick: Because once you say it and make it very clear that this is where your boundary is, that's your boundary. And so you stick with it and that's it.
Leah: And it will become easier the more you do it.
Nick: Practice definitely makes perfect with this boundary setting. Correct. That's why I'm so good at it.
Nick: So do you have questions for us? Of course you do. You can send them to us 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: 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 think this is a vent, but it may have a teeny little repent in it.
Nick: Hmm. Okay. Tell me more.
Leah: So I've obviously been to many dog parks.
Leah: And there's different dog parks out here in California. They're significantly different than a New York City dog park, which is ...
Nick: Like how?
Leah: They're so much bigger. [laughs]
Nick: Oh, square footage. Yeah, okay.
Leah: You're like, "Is this a national forest?"
Nick: Okay. [laughs]
Leah: So Lacey loves other dogs, so we're at this dog park, new dog park. We've been to—we're trying out different ones. And, you know, I watch other people in the dog park. Obviously, there are certain rules.
Leah: So at this dog park we went to, it was ginormous—which is actually a measurement of space, ginormous. And there are small dog parks and big dog parks. You can bring a small dog into the big dog, but you can't bring a big dog into the small dog. Lacey goes into the big dog because she loves to play.
Leah: So we show up at this park, and it's obviously like a community. People are hanging out together. Their dogs are all playing ball together. We all go over. We introduce ourselves. Everybody's talking. People throw balls to our dogs. We throw balls. So this is the culture. This is what's happening here.
Nick: Yeah, sounds lovely. I'm just waiting for this to take a dark turn.
Leah: I just wanted you to see that this is why I assumed that this is what was happening. It was actually very much like, you know, how, like, you'll see men in New York sitting out on the sidewalk? It was like these guys in, like, lounge chairs. Like, they're clearly there every day. They all know each other.
Leah: So there's this one dog that's very into me. This dog was, like, up in my Kool-Aid, and it was one of those dogs that, you know, like, saves children from forests. Huge dog.
Nick: Okay. There was like a barrel of brandy attached to their collar.
Leah: One of those dogs. And this dog was just in my business. We had a thing. We were just—and so I'm throwing the ball to Lacey. This dog joins in. Great! We're playing with other people's dogs. It's a whole thing. So this dog is standing next to me. I was, like, getting the ball from the dog. And this woman who is on the other side of this ginormous dog park starts yelling at me!
Leah: I don't even realize she's yelling at me at first until it's pointed out, "I think that woman's yelling at you."
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: "Don't touch my dog. Don't play with my dog. I don't want my dog playing. I'm punishing my dog. I don't want my dog with other dogs." But it's being directed at me. And ...
Nick: What? What—okay.
Leah: And they're not—she's not even coming over to tell me this. She's just gonna stand at the other end of this dog park and yell at me. Whereas it's like, A) Everybody was playing with everybody's dog. This dog is over here. I don't know how I would have known.
Nick: Yeah. Wait, so recap. "I'm punishing my dog, but I brought my dog to a fun play place."
Nick: This is like, "Oh, I'm grounding my kid. We're gonna go to Disneyland today to really teach him a lesson."
Nick: Like, is that what's happening?
Leah: But then I'm just getting yelled at. Like, I felt like a child in class getting yelled at by a teacher because it was that kind of yelling.
Leah: You know what I mean? Like, "Stop it! Don't you touch my dog!" You know what I mean? And here I am, and me and the dog are like, "What?" And then she just keeps yelling. She doesn't come over. She just, like, yells. So then I, like, put my hands up in the air like it's the end of time on the British Bake Off, and I'm like, hands up, I just don't even—and she just keeps yelling. Like, it was like public shaming. But I was like, by all intents and purposes, you've come to something. You're participating in an event where dogs are off leash. All the dogs are playing with all the humans. And then now you're yelling at me for doing the thing that we're all doing here. People who don't want their dogs playing with us are keeping their dogs on leash on the other side of the park.
Nick: Wait, so this is really the explanation, that she is mad at you that you were playing ball with her dog in the dog park?
Nick: That's the whole thing?
Leah: Yeah, and she just continued to yell at me.
Nick: Did she ever come over?
Leah: I left. I can't get yelled at for that long without yelling back, so I just left.
Nick: How bonkers! What did other people around you think or do or say?
Leah: I think maybe they were familiar with this woman because I saw a lot of eye-rolling.
Nick: Oh, interesting. Oh, and they all know that you're not allowed to play with her dog, I guess.
Leah: How am I supposed to know that we're not allowed to play with the dog that's at the dog park that's hanging out with the dogs that we're all playing with because we're in the playing with dogs part of the dog park?
Nick: Yeah. I mean, when there's insanity, I don't know what we do with this.
Leah: But I mean, you have that moment of oops, I'm not supposed to touch other people's—but that's what everybody else was doing.
Nick: Yeah, I don't know what I would have done differently. I mean, I guess you ask for permission and try and figure out who owns what dog before you allow them to catch the ball you threw? Like, is that the answer? No.
Leah: I always ask people and the dog, "Oh, can I say, hi?" You know what I mean? Or "Can I—"and then I make sure the dog's cool with me. But this was sort of a situation where the dog came up to me, and they're all off leash.
Nick: Well, I'm sorry this happened to you. And for me, this week was like a death by a thousand cuts. Like, there were no major etiquette crimes, but it was just like this endless cavalcade of etiquette problems. And so I put a bunch of them in a bowl, and I was actually gonna get one of those spin-it-to-win-it things where we could, like, spin it to see which one we pick. But I was actually looking, and they're very expensive online. And then I was like, "Oh, where am I gonna put this thing in my apartment?" So I just wrote them on little slips, and we're gonna take one out of the bowl and we'll do that one. So that's what we're gonna do.
Leah: He's actually—for our listeners at home, Nick is actually pulling ...
Nick: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, even though it's a podcast, I'm method. Yes, absolutely. So okay, Starbucks. Okay, so here is what is happening in the world. You're about to enter some business, and someone's right behind you also about to enter. And so you hold the door open for them, and then they go ahead of you and then they go ahead of you in line as well.
Nick: And now they've taken your place in line. And it's like, that's not how this is supposed to work. This is what's supposed to happen, everybody: once you hold the door open for someone, they walk in, they say thank you, and then they make a gesture, which is, "Oh, now you please go ahead," so that everybody is still in the same order once we're inside of the business. That is what is supposed to happen. And why that is what is supposed to happen is that we don't want to live in a world in which we are slamming doors in people's faces. I think we can all agree that that's not a world we want to live in.
Nick: And so one of the ways we don't live in that world is that we hold doors open for people, but we don't want to live in a world in which we punish people for doing that. And you have now punished me for holding the door open for you because you just took my spot in line. And so etiquette rules usually come in pairs. And so the etiquette rule "I hold the door open for you" is paired with "You let me now go ahead of you once we're inside." That needs to go together. That's how we achieve harmony. That's how I'm incentivized to hold doors open for you, and how you are incentivized to not have a door slammed in your face. So I think we just need to remember that that's the rule: if somebody holds the door open for you, you let them go ahead of you once you're inside.
Leah: Yeah, that's so ...
Leah: So annoying.
Nick: It's so annoying because it's like, yes, it's another 30 seconds behind you. I won't die. It's fine. But just the principle of it.
Leah: I mean, you might.
Nick: Yeah, that's right. I need that Americano. I do. So I just find that very just aggravating because it's so easy to not have that happen. So I think we just want to remember, like, this is how this is supposed to work.
Leah: Absolutely agreed.
Nick: Thank you.
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: Well, I learned, because of your great visual aid ...
Leah: I finally get how I'm supposed to hold a teacup, and that obviously it's not been working for me because my cups are very large.
Nick: Yes. Size matters. And I learned that you have no control over your pinkies.
Leah: No control whatsoever.
Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you, Nick.
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd send you a hand-written thank-you note if I could.
Leah: He would!
Nick: So for your homework this week, we want you to follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter and visit our website, where you can click on "Monthly Membership" and see if that's something you'd like to do.
Leah: We'd so appreciate it!
Nick: We really would. 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 as we embark into this new year, I just wanted to say how incredibly, incredibly grateful I am for our amazingly kind and supportive and generous Were You Raised By Wolves family, because I never would have imagined the amazing letters and reviews. And I'm just—it's honestly carried me through, and I am just so grateful.
Nick: It is very nice. And speaking of one of those nice reviews, we got a great one which is quote, "My favorite questions begin with the words 'Would it be rude if ...?' Inevitably, if you have to ask the question, the answer is yes. Nick and Leah give such great takes on the many etiquette questions that come their way, and I enjoy that they sometimes have different responses. They also remind me to be more generous with my responses to people. Yes, the annoying people. Thanks for putting together one of my favorite podcasts."
Leah: So sweet!
Nick: That's very nice. So thank you. We really appreciate it.
Leah: So much!