June 29, 2020

Meddling Neighbors, Pre-approving Gifts, Flying the American Flag, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle flying the flag, pre-approving children's gifts, dealing with nosy neighbors, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Etiquette for the American Flag
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Etiquette with very close friends
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Is it normal to have parents require pre-approval for children's birthday gifts? I received a gift addressed to both me and my now ex-husband...should I tell the gift-giver that I'm now divorced? What should I do about my nosy neighbors?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Impolite emails, a shot across the bow
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Healthcare workers, borrowing gym equipment




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you hang the flag the wrong way? Do you require prior authorization for gifts? Do you get nosy with your neighbors? Were you raised by wolves?! Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?

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

Leah: I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: We're in New York today, and let's just get right down to it.

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: For today's amuse-bouche, I wanna talk about the flag.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: The flag of the United States of America. So, a little history. There's a lotta history, but-

Leah: There's a lotta history.

Nick: Briefly, prior to 1923, there were no organized rules about how we deal with the flag. Then, organizations got together, like the American Legion, and they created the National Flag Code, which were basically the rules and guidelines for how we treat the flag with respect. Here are some things to know about the flag. When you're looking at the American flag, the blue square with the stars, that is called the canton, or the union. In general, you always want that to be at the top left of the viewer. Wherever you're hanging it, it should be at the top left.

If it's hanging up, the flag goes the normal way ñ the blue on the left side. If you rotate the flag, if the flag is going vertically, the blue square also goes to the top left, which looks strange because you haven't just rotated the flag; but the blue field always goes to the top left when it's vertical. That, actually, I see quite a bit, out and about in the real world, where flags are hung incorrectly. If you take nothing away from this conversation, it's that!

There is an exception to this, which is if you put the flag on a moving vehicle, the flag always goes in the way that it would look as if it was hoisted on the vehicle. If you put it on, like, the space shuttle, the flag, on one side, will have the blue facing the front of the space shuttle. It looks like the flag is waving in the air as the space shuttle is being launched.

Leah: Hm!

Nick: You got me?

Leah: I got you.

Nick: Yeah ... That goes with subways; that goes with cars; that goes with airplanes. You do see the flag, "reversed," but the blue is always to the nose of the vehicle because it's as if it were moving. The Flag Code also says that you never drape a flag on a vehicle. You always have to have it on a mast of some sort. Don't drape the flag on the hood of your car.

Then, when to display it? It is customary to do it from sunrise to sunset. If you do it at night, it should be illuminated, and you shouldn't display the flag in inclement weather. You never want to have it touching anything below it. You don't want to have it touch water, or merchandise in a store, or trees, or anything like that. It should always be allowed to flow freely; that's very important.

Then, of course, there's an exception to that, which is, on the moon, where there's no atmosphere, they did actually put a little metal bar at the bottom so the flag could be square because a flag floating free on the moon doesn't look great. Then, one that I didn't know is that when you fly a flag over a street, there is a very specific way you do it, which is on an east-west street, the union, the blue part, faces north. On a north-south street, the union faces east.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: So, there are even rules about that, right? How interesting!

Leah: Very interesting!

Nick: Now, let's say you have a flag that is at the end of its life. It's tattered. It has served its purpose well, but now, it is no longer fitting to really be the emblem of our country. In that instance, you want to dispose of it in a way that is ceremonious and dignified, preferably by burning. You can also just take it to American Legion. They'll often take this from you, or Boy Scouts, very often, will take this from you. Oftentimes, like on Flag Day, June 14, they will have a ceremony to burn the flags in a dignified way. So, that's a way you can dispose of a flag properly.

Leah: I did not know that.

Nick: Right? Very interesting. Another fun thing our Disney-lovers may know is that on Main Street, U.S.A. in most Disneylands, basically, there are all these American flags everywhere. Keen Disney observers know that most of those flags only have 45 stars on them. They're not correct current U.S. flags. There's all these theories about why this is, and one of the most popular is that on Main Street, U.S.A., they don't take the flags down every night; they're just permanent. So, because they're not real flags, they don't have to really come down every night-

Leah: Oh!

Nick: -because they're not really U.S. flags. There is a real U.S. flag on the train station, and at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A., which they do bring up and down, but all the rest of them, all the "incorrect" flags, they just leave up. Because they're incorrect, that's fine.

Leah: Oh! Very interesting!

Nick: I don't know if that's correct, though. Another theory that I really like is that Main Street, U.S.A. is supposed to feel like 1900; that's the period that we're living in. 1900 is basically when Utah had just become the 45th state, before Oklahoma became a state. In that year, around 1900, there were only 45 states and there were only 45 stars required for the flag. On some level, the flags that are over Main Street, U.S.A. are period-accurate, which would be a very Disney thing to do, so-

Leah: It could be both things.

Nick: It could also be both things, yeah. That is some basic flag etiquette.

Leah: I love it!

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: Very deep.

Nick: Today, I wanted to talk about the idea of etiquette with friends, because, so often, the etiquette that we talk about is a little formal. It's like we're at a dinner party, or it's with your boss, or it's with that stranger at the supermarket. But close, very close friends, is the etiquette the same? Is it different? How is it different?

Leah: Such a great question.

Nick: Right? Yeah, and I don't know if we're actually going to come to any answers at this - just fair warning. This will just be a bit of an exploration. We got a great question that got me thinking on this, which was: "Three friends and I started a legacy game back in January. A legacy game is a game that goes on 10 rounds before completing." Sounds like a long game."We break up each round into a game night, and we have rotated hosting among the three of us. One of them lives an hour away from the rest of us. Two of us have always treated the others to snacks and dinner, as I think hosts should do, but one of my friends keeps asking us to all chip in for the food, when he hosts. We've all been friends for many years now and know each other very well. This friend has a nice job and, to my knowledge, he's not hurting for money. Is it rude that he asks us to split the food when he hosts? Is it rude that I'm bothered by this? What should I do?" I thought this was interesting because it's like, yeah, what are the rules of etiquette when you are so close with a friend, or friend group? Are they different?

Leah: I think they are different. One thing I didn't catch on the first read-through of this question ... Out of curiosity, not that it matters, but I wonder if the person who lives the hour away is also the person who wants people to throw in money?

Nick: Oh ... I would say it is possible. Does that change your thinking?

Leah: Because I don't know why that was brought up, otherwise.

Nick: Yeah, why are you throwing that in there? Yeah.

Leah: I don't know if that necessarily makes a difference, but maybe there is also some- I feel like, a lot of times, there's some other underlying issue that isn't being addressed, which is why it really is rubbing a person wrong more.

Nick: Because if this friend is making me a drive an hour to their house and is then making me chip in for dinner ...? Okay, I can see. I could see how that could be an extra salt in the wound.

Leah: I also feel that one of our goals has been to have polite, upfront, open, nonjudgmental conversations with the people that we're having these events with.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: I think you could just be like-

Nick: "Dude ..."

Leah: -"Oh, should we all ... What are we doing? Are we all chipping in, or are we each buying ...? Let's set up what the framework is."

Nick: Okay. I mean, it sounds like our letter-writer wants to be a host and thinks that being a host is what's expected here. He wants to keep doing that.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But, yeah, he just has a feeling that that's not being reciprocated.

Leah: I don't know how - without having that conversation - you can say that.

Nick: Yeah, because you are modeling the behavior that you want your friend to exhibit, so-

Leah: Yeah, you're already doing the nice thing, but now, you're starting to feel unappreciated.

Nick: Right, and the subtle hint that you have been placing, which is like, "Oh, no, no, I'll take care of dinner because I'm hosting ..." Yeah, your friend is not getting it, and it's not sinking in. Right. So, I guess a polite, value-neutral conversation about this topic is required.

Leah: Yeah. The only other thing would be to A) stop doing it, if it bothers you, or B) not let it bother you, which it clearly is. So, I see no other option.

Nick: Well, but we all have these friends where we've been friends with them for long that certain behaviors that you probably would not accept from anybody else, you just kind of let go. You're like, "Oh, yeah, that's ..."

Leah: Absolutely, but this person's not letting it go. I have friends that are like this, but they've always been like that, you know?

Nick: Right.

Leah: You know what mean? But I also- it doesn't stick with me.

Nick: But I don't think this is new. I don't think this is new for this particular friend that's not paying for dinner.

Leah: No, but they're bothered. I think if you're being bothered, then there needs to be a change made in one way or the other.

Nick: Yeah, but the broader topic is, is there a level of formality that is still required with all friends? Like, if I come to your house, and we watch Temptation Island, I'm not going to send you a thank you note afterwards. I'm probably not gonna do that, right?

Leah: No, but I always ... I think with your close friends, you're like, "Thanks so much for having me!" You sent them a text: "Had a great time."

Nick: Yeah, I guess that's the level of formality that's required.

Leah: Yeah, and we mentioned this on another episode - once you start keeping score-

Nick: Yeah ...

Leah: I think it's a flag-

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: -that ... Because you shouldn't be keeping score in a friendship.

Nick: Yeah, a healthy friendship does not allow for scorekeeping.

Leah: That's why I think it's time to have a dialog. If you can't let it go, then it's time to have a dialog, or make a change because you don't want to be- your friends are not for keeping score.

Nick: Right.

Leah: These are for people that you can hang out 0and watch Temptation Island; just have a good time, and then shoot them a text and say, "I really appreciate you. That was so fun." Then, next time, maybe you go to their house for Temptation Island ... You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: It's not a place for needing to remember who owed who what. Once that starts happening, you gotta address it.

Nick: Yeah, check yourself. All right, back to this letter-writer's questions. "Is it rude that he asked us to split the food when he hosts?" I guess it's not rude, per se, it's just not what everybody is expecting. I guess that's what we need to clarify.

Leah: Yeah, and my guess is that if you're bothered by it, it's not the only thing that the person is doing.

Nick: Yeah, I think we do want to read between the lines here.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: There must be more here, yes.

Leah: I want to mention this, not because ... I'm going to mention it, and then we'll see-

Nick: Okay [Giggling]

Leah: -because this has come up in two questions-

Nick: All right.

Leah: -where people have said, "This person has money."

Nick: Yes, that's true. That somehow is being thrown in as a, "They have money, so that's not an excuse."

Leah: I think that's a dangerous ... I'll be like, "Oh, they live great. I'm paying for this. I live less well ..." Sometimes, we don't know what's happening with people's money. So, that's, I feel like, sometimes just not a thing to throw into the ... Do you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, said another way- when we say, "Oh, they have money, so that's not an excuse for why they're being cheap ..."

Leah: Right.

Nick: That's one interpretation. The other flipside of that is, "They have money, so they should be doing X, Y, and Z for me." That they should be paying for it, and it's like, somehow, the money thing is excusing a behavior, or is creating some obligation, which also doesn't exist. The idea with friendships is just like- it's about showing appreciation, and showing reciprocation, which is not always about dollar amount.

Leah: Right.

Nick: If somebody does something nice for you, and you bake some cookies, the dollar amounts of these two events don't have to be the same thing. It's just like, "Oh, you did something very nice for me. I did something very nice for you." That is now equal. It's about sentiment, not about dollars.

Leah: Yeah, I agree.

Nick: So, the money thing ... Yeah, we have had questions that have slipped this in, and [crosstalk]

Leah: I always think it's a dangerous thing to think about somebody else's money.

Nick: Yes, for sure. Well, let's put a pin in that because we'll definitely make that a deep-dive conversation for another day. So, for you out there at home, I guess a good question to think about ... In your relationships, is it always reciprocal? Are you reciprocating? Is there anybody in your life that's carrying more than their fair share of the weight in the relationship? Is there anything you can do about that to correct that?

Leah: You're allowed to correct it. If you feel like you're putting in more in the relationship, my guess is that you don't feel like it's just money. It's a part of the relationship that you feel.

Nick: Yeah, this has nothing to do with money. This has to do about not feeling appreciated.

Leah: Yep, so, if you're not feeling appreciated, I think you want to be in a friendship where you feel appreciated-

Nick: Right.

Leah: -and that needs to be addressed.

Nick: Yeah. So, I guess everybody has some homework to do. Take stock of your relationships. Reevaluate. Report back. Let us know how it goes.

Leah: Make sure your friends feel appreciated. You may be doing something that you aren't realizing you're doing.

Nick: Oh, that's good homework for everybody - do one nice thing for all of your friends to make them feel appreciated.

Leah: Wow! People with less friends are gonna have easier homework [Laughing]

Nick: Okay ... I'm already done.

Leah: [Laughing]

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now, it's time to take some questions from the wilderness.

Leah: [Howling]

Nick: Our first question is: "Recently, I have been told, not once, but twice, for upcoming baby showers, or birthdays, that gifts were not necessary, but if I do bring a gift, I must run it first by the couple before coming to the party. I do not have children, so maybe I'm not understanding how children's birthday parties work. I want to be polite and bring a gift. I now feel pressured to go shopping early to make sure I have enough time to contact the couple to get my gift pre-approved." [Evil giggling] Oh ...

Leah: I love that laugh. We need it on a ringtone,

Nick: Oh ... [Giggling] I mean ...

Leah: I mean!

Nick: Our poor letter-writers! Once again, our letter-writers are made to feel like they're the ones doing something wrong. No.

Leah: Benefit of the doubt on the parents-

Nick: What?!

Leah: -maybe somebody brought-

Nick: A bag of cut glass mixed with lead paint chips!

Leah: -like some really violent videogame.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: The kid opened it in front-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: -and then was like, "I want my video game! You can't take it away from me!"

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It became ...

Nick: It's a whole thing.

Leah: That is the only reason I can think of, but then, in which case, I would just say, "No gifts. If you want to give a gift, we're trying to keep our house less digital," or ...

Nick: Sure. I mean, parents definitely have certain rules for the types of toys they want their kids to have-

Leah: Yeah, and I understand that.

Nick: -so, no problem. I think parents that feel that way typically have a registry created and probably broadcast their feelings relatively widely. But, yeah, unless you have a history of buying inappropriate gifts for children, I donít think [crosstalk] should be asked to have your gifts pre-authorized.

Leah: Pre-approved! I mean, I would, at that point, be like ... Well, I would, of course, because I worry so much ... I think I'd be like, "I guess I've gotta go shopping early." But what I really think our letter-writer should do is bring some cupcakes because you want to show up with something because it's a party-

Nick: Right.

Leah: They said no gifts.

Nick: Right.

Leah: If you want to get a gift, you have to fill out a form in advance and get it approved by three offices.

Nick: Uh-huh, yeah, carbon-copied.

Leah: It's the kid's party. This kid is not gonna ... You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. I think it's nice if you don't know the kid to ask the parents, like, "Oh, what are they into? Are we into dinosaurs, or trucks, or what is the current thing?"

Leah: Yeah, of course!

Nick: Get a sense of interests, sure.

Leah: I don't think that's what this is.

Nick: NO! Definitely not!

Leah: Obviously, if you just have to ask what the kid's into, or say, "Well, what are they into?" Then, they answer it. But it seems like you're gonna have to go through an approval process.

Nick: Yeah, but what I find interesting about this question is that this is not just one instance. This is two instances where this poor person has been asked to have their gifts pre-approved. there is something about our letter-writer that is giving off the vibe that she's really into giving inappropriate gifts to children. I don't know how this has happened to the same person twice. This is very interesting-

Leah: It's very interesting, the idea that it would only be happening to her.

Nick: Yes, yes! It's like, "Oh, well, you know Lisa ..."

Leah: Everybody else can bring their own gift?

Nick: "She gives inappropriate gifts to children, so make sure you preapprove anything that shebrings to the party."

Leah: I really like that version of the story.

Nick: No, I think we just have parents that are control freaks-

Leah: Which, I don't have children, so I can't speak to having any idea of what it would be like to try to shield people and having that responsibility. So, let me just say that up top.

Nick: Oh, fair. Yes. There are a lot of gifts that would be inappropriate, and that list can be very long. I mean, some parents aren't into Disney. Some parents don't want books that have any to do with magic, or the occult. Some people definitely don't want video games or don't want toy cell phones. I mean, it's almost impossible to know where the boundaries are because everyone has very different ideas. They're welcome to have those ideas for their children.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: So, the flipside, is there a way ... Let's say I'm a parent, and, rightfully so, there are certain things that I don't want my kid to have. Is there a way for me to let all my guests know what is on that list? Is it just that, "Oh, here's a registry of things ..."? Is that just the best way?

Leah: For me to understand something, as a person who wants to buy somebody a gift, the explanation helps. "You don't have to buy a gift. If you want to buy a gift, we are being ... (however the good wording is) for our children's toys, or our children's learning (a lot of times, they're like books and stuff) we're trying not to ..." whatever it is, digital, or violence, or ... I understand what the thing is that I'm looking out for, you know what I mean?

Nick: I see. Yeah, I guess that'd be one way.

Leah: Because I'm happy to comply, you know?

Nick: Yeah. I mean, most guests are not interested in going out of their way to bring something inappropriate on purpose.

Leah: Yeah, I'm happy to comply. Just explain it up top.

Nick: Or maybe you would steer them towards a category. So, as opposed to steering you away from something, like, "No violent video games," I would steer my guests towards art supplies.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Be like, "Oh, they're really into origami right now, so let's just do that."

Leah: Yeah, I think that's what we say. "This is what my child is into, and also, we're trying to keep it creative. They're really into books!"

Nick: [Giggling] They're really into books.

Leah: Yep, art supplies, or-

Nick: Yeah, some category. But, yeah ... prior authorization. Love it.

Leah: I didn't know. I didn't know.

Nick: Yeah, I didn't know that was a thing, but it's a thing. Our next question is: "I recently got divorced from my husband. While it wasn't an ugly divorce, it's been painful and emotional, of course, for multiple reasons, and for all the reasons you can imagine, I did not broadcast this process on social media and, honestly, only had a phone call to a handful of close friends and family about it. I think it mostly boiled down to not wanting to feel like I had explain or justify the divorce, and I figured the gossip would spread on its own. Yesterday, mutual friends made me, and dropped off, a jar of homemade jam with a lovely letter. I was delighted until I read that they wished myself, and my husband well. I realized that they do not know that we are divorced. My question is - should I call them and let them know or leave it alone? I do not want to seem upset or ruin the nice gesture, nor do I want to have the conversation with them. Also, what if they find out later and feel perplexed? I'm sort of at a loss on what to do.!

Leah: I think the same way this person does, where I'm like, I don't want them to find out later and feel bad, but I don't want them to feel bad now-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: You know what I mean?

Nick: Okay, so what do we do?

Leah: I'm really sticking with this open, honest conversation.

Nick: Bring it! Love it! Live it!

Leah: It alleviates so much because you can say, "I told the truth." I would send them a thank you note and say it's absolutely wonderful and say, "I hadn't told you because we haven't been talking about it, but so-and-so, and I have recently separated. I love your gift and I just wanted you to find out from me instead of hearing it in the future. Thank you so much ..."

Nick: Yeah, I think that's nice. Yeah. In general, when there's a divorce or any sort of major life event, people are looking to you for cues, in terms of how they should feel about it. They want to know, like, "Oh, are you happy about this? Are you devastated? Do you wanna talk about it? Do you not wanna talk about it?" They're looking to you for that clue for how they're supposed to respond. I think you want to give them that information with however you respond.

If you want to be like, "This is a thing that happened. I don't really wanna talk about it. It's not a huge deal, but just FYI ..." then I think you'd want to have that flavor in your response. "Thank you so much for the jam. As you may not know, Chad and I recently divorced, so I won't be sharing this with him, but everything was very civil. Hope to get together with you guys soon. Thanks!" You know, I think "FYI, we got divorced," and a little joke ... Moving on, not dwell, that kind of gives them the information, but kind of gives you a sense of where you're at with it. That's one way we could go.

Leah: Yeah, or a note with no joke, if you feel more [crosstalk]

Nick: [Giggling] Joke optional. Don't have to joke.

Leah: Yeah, if you feel more sort of sacred about it, you know?

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Because she's not telling people.

Nick: Uh, yeah ... Well, I think, it's not that she's not telling people, but she's not telling people.

Leah: Right. Well, that's what I mean. If she's just like, "I wanted you to hear it from me, but we haven't been talking about it. I really love your present."

Nick: Right. Yeah, so I think just however you want them to feel about it is how you would respond.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: But I think you should tell them, because it will be weird if they gave a gift to you and your ex-husband, and you didn't acknowledge that [crosstalk]

Leah: I think you could just write it in a thank you note, so you don't have to ... You can think about how you want to say it.

Nick: Yeah, a written thank you note is totally fine, or you could say it over the phone. I think the way you say it in the phone call will suggest whether or not you want to talk about it further.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But, yeah, if you really just don't wanna talk about it, then written note is totally great.

Leah: Perfect.

Nick: Our next question is: "Greetings from Portugal ..." Oh, I love that we have people in Portugal listening to our show!

Leah: Wonderful!

Nick: "I live in a small town where most people are older. I've only lived here for three years, and I understand that people are curious, but when does curiosity become rude? If I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and I turn on the light, the next day, they'll come to me with a pointed finger, "Oh, you were up late that night, around 3:00 a.m. ... You couldn't sleep?" Or, if I invite someone to my house, they'll be nagging me the next day, trying to get information about who that person was; or when I got a new car, "Oh, is this your new car? Oh, do you have the money for it?" I used to say good morning, or good night, and make small talk, but it is so tiresome to keep having to deal with this nosiness. Now, I just say hello, and I move on. Am I the bad one in this picture or is this justifiable?" You're from a small town-

Leah: I am from a small town. I mean, this seems-

Nick: Has anybody noticed that you had-

Leah: Nobody's like, "Your light was on!" Nobody is-

Nick: "3:00 a.m. ... Up late, huh?" Yeah. [Giggling] Yeah, that's-

Leah: I mean, that seems intimate.

Nick: That feels like some boundaries are being crossed, yeah.

Leah: I think there's no problem setting boundaries when people want to know what you're doing at 3:00 a.m. with the light on.

Nick: Yeah, I think we could shut that down. I think you can be polite and set boundaries at the same time, which is something we may have said before, but I think it's really true. You can do those things.

Leah: Yeah, I always- when it's a boundary that you're just- but they're people that you're gonna interact with a lot, you just need to ... This is a boundary you're gonna have to set up over, and over again because you're breaking a habit that they ... Obviously, this is a small town. This is a habit.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: This is how everybody interacts. Me, personally, I always go, "Oh, ha-ha ..." and I make a little laugh about it-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Then, be like, "C'mon!" Then, you just go about your business.

Nick: Yeah. I think you just have to politely demure and move on, yeah.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: If you do the Miss Manners approach, she would tell you that you basically say, "Thank you so much for your concern," and that's all you say.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: You just say that. If they keep asking, then you just say that, but colder.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, [happy tone] Thank you so much for your concern!" Then, [cooler tone] "Thank you so much for your concern ..."

Leah: Yeah. I always- "I appreciate you caring."

Nick: Yeah, and then don't actually answer the question because it is none of their business.

Leah: Yeah, and then, that's it.

Nick: You might get the reputation in town for being a little distant or cold or aloof, and that might just be the price you have to pay for a little sanity and privacy.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: So, that's our suggestion there.

Leah: That is our- I think that's very fair.

Nick: Very fair. More than fair.

Leah: You're not in any way the bad person in this picture. You don't need to be telling people what you're doing at 3:00 a.m. with the light on.

Nick: Definitely not. No. Although, what were you doing?

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, I love that we have listeners in Portugal. If you're in Portugal, or anywhere else in the world, and you have questions for us, please send them in. 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 (267-225-5729)

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: [Singing] Vent or Repennnnnnt!

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

Leah: Oh, I'm gonna vent, Nick!

Nick: Oh! All right, Leah, what has happened?

Leah: I would like to say, normally, I would never- but this felt egregious, so I'm just gonna bring it up. I would like to say that I think we actually have the nicest audience; people who listen with us to Were You Raised by Wolves.

Nick: Yes!

Leah: I appreciate them so much-

Nick: For sure.

Leah: -and I appreciate them writing in with their questions. I appreciate when people disagree with us and they wanna dialog.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: I appreciate that people keep us on our toes, where maybe we should have thought about something differently.

Nick: Yes. I can certainly recall many instances when I may have used the hyperbole I am known for, for the sake of humor, and may have missed some nuance that was required. Yes.

Leah: I appreciate that [crosstalk]

Nick: I appreciate people holding me to account, absolutely.

Leah: However ...

Nick: [Giggling] Okay ...

Leah: -if you want to write in and just take personal shots-

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: -and then say you're a huge fan of etiquette-

Nick: [Giggling] Right?

Leah: -I think you've missed the entire point!

Nick: Yeah, you may need to listen to a few more episodes.

Leah: Um, that's not being polite; that's actually bullying, which is rude!

Nick: Yeah. Yes. Bullying is rude, yes.

Leah: I would just like to bring that up-

Nick: Yeah?

Leah: -in the context of setting personal boundaries and positive reinforcement, because I wouldn't let anybody speak to friends, or even people I don't know, in a bully-ish tone. Since we have such amazing listeners, I think we don't want to consider people who just take mean shots at a co-host-

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: So, what Leigh is referring to, not very obliquely, is that ... I mean, we do get ... We get email. We get a lot of email. 99.99-percent of it is totally lovely, it super-warms your heart, and it's delightful and makes this whole thing worthwhile. We do, on occasion, do get some messages that include feedback that you would never say to me, to my face, at a cocktail party.

Leah: Well, not only would you not say it, you wouldn't say it, and then, in the same breath ... I'm used to negative feedback. I am a comic. Let me just say that out there.

Nick: Right.

Leah: The things that have been said to me ...!

Nick: Sure.

Leah: But to then say that you're a huge fan of etiquette ...

Nick: Yeah, that's true. That juxtaposition is a little incongruent, yeah.

Leah: Please don't say that you're-

Nick: Yes!

Leah: -and this applies to people in real life, too, when they're like, "You know what I love?" and then, they go on to insult you.

Nick: Right.

Leah: You're like, "What just happened right now? How did you just cover up a major crime by saying that you love etiquette?"

Nick: Yeah, yeah, the preface doesn't really work. Yeah.

Leah: Just don't like, me, but you don't need to say, "Because I love etiquette much ..."

Nick: Yes, yeah-

Leah: Don't do that. I'm not a child!

Nick: Yeah. I think this is a good point. In the future, I think we maybe want to actually do a whole deep dive about the polite way to give constructive feedback, because if you have something to say, we definitely want to hear it.

Leah: Of course!

Nick: I think there are good ways to do it and less-good ways to do it.

Leah: Absolutely!

Nick: So, we want to focus on the good ways to do it.

Leah: I think that would be so helpful because, across the board, people need to dialog, so giving-

Nick: Oh, for sure! Yes!

Leah: -and taking feedback is a very important skill.

Nick: Yes. What I love about the podcast format is that it is very intimate and that we are in your brains, and you do feel like you have license to say things to us. We want to hear them, but in a nice way.

Leah: [Laughing] Is that so much to ask?

Nick: No, clearly not!

Leah: I mean, it's a podcast about saying things in a nice way.

Nick: Yes! Well, at the end of the day, that is what is so jarring is that our whole show is about being kind, and empathetic, and respectful. When you do send in a nasty message to us, it's sorta like, "Oh, well, you clearly don't get it."

Leah: Yeah! What's happening?!

Nick: It's like, I guess we still have- we have work to do. Our work here is not done.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, for me, this week, I would like to not vent or repent-

Leah: Oh!

Nick: I would like to fire a shot across the bow.

Leah: Oh, my goodness!

Nick: I gave a wedding gift more than three months ago. I have not yet received a thank you note. Now, I'm patient. Happy to wait for it. I do believe the person to which this gift was given does listen to the show, although they might be a few episodes behind. So, eventually they will get to this shot across the bow. But, uh, just a warning shot; just a little flare; just a little-

Leah: I actually visualize you in full regalia, taking a shot across the bow.

Nick: [Giggling] -a little FYI that I may have given somebody a wedding gift, and I am currently waiting for a thank you note. You may say, "Well, maybe they didn't have stationery." Maybe they don't have stationery ... Oh! The gift was customized stationery with their names on it, so they have the stationery.

Leah: [Laughing] Shot across the bow!

Nick: So, it is neither a vent or repent at this current moment. However-

Leah: It's about to be a vent.

Nick: We're getting to vent territory.

Leah: It's a pre-vent.

Nick: So, FYI, a pre-vent.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Oh, let's pre-vent the vent!

Leah: Oh, I love it! It's a pre-vent. I love it!

Nick: [Giggling]

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned the appropriate way to hang a flag.

Nick: Okay!

Leah: Which I think, so helpful, and good to know!

Nick: Yes! I think if you're gonna have a flag, you should treat it with the respect that it deserves. Yes. I learned that there are people in the world that require preapproval for children's gifts.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: Did not know that. It's a thing that is happening in this world!

Leah: Our world is expanding.

Nick: I mean, every day. So, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick!

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

Leah: He absolutely would.

Nick: I would! I do!

Leah: He does!

Nick: So, your homework this week: I want you to tell three friends about us.

Leah: Ooh!

Nick: Think of three people in your world and text them. Or mention it by phone. Or DM them. Just let us know we exist to these people.

Leah: Drop it casually in a conversation.

Nick: Yeah, just drop it cas'. Yeah, real cas'. That is your homework. Now, hopefully, nobody will ask, "Were you raised by wolves?!" We'll see you next time. Bye!

Leah: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials for Kindness.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: That part of the show where you make us say nice things, but I don't wanna do it, so I'm only gonna give you 30 seconds. Ready, set-

Leah: I'm ready.

Nick: Go!

Leah: I realized that I only did this on our Patreon episode, and I hadn't officially said this in a Cordials of Kindness, which I'm mortified-

Nick: Oh!?

Leah: I would like to say my extreme gratitude for our doctors and nurses-

Nick: Oh, sure.

Leah: -out there who have just been putting themselves out there for all of us. I am eternally grateful. I would like to say thank you so much. We're so grateful!

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: Oh, thatís a good one! For me, I guess now mine feels so less important-

Leah: No! All thank yous are wonderful!

Nick: Sure [Giggling]. For me, I want to say thank you to Larry, who is my personal trainer. In these current times, we are currently doing FaceTime training because that's what we're doing. I want to say thank you to Larry because he had all this extra equipment that he left with his doorman for me. I went, and I picked up all these kettle bells, and dumbbells from him, and he's letting me borrow them. If you have tried to buy any gym equipment lately, you know it's all sold out. There is no dumbbell or kettlebell in North America. The fact that he had some extra and lets me borrow it, so nice!

Leah: So nice!

Nick: I really appreciate it because I really needed this for my sanity; the idea of keeping moving in my little apartment has really made the difference for me. I cannot thank Larry enough for letting me borrow some gym stuff. I promise to take good care of it, and I promise to return it at some point.

Leah: It's so wonderful!

Nick: So, thank you, Larry!

[Buzzer Sound]