Nov. 18, 2019

Ordering Wine in a Restaurant, Writing Condolence Letters, Talking in Elevators, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle ordering wine in a restaurant, writing condolence letters, saying farewell to colleagues when leaving a job, correcting people who spell your name wrong, getting dragged into other people's problems, talking in elevators, and much more. Please subscribe!

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: How to order wine in a restaurant
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Writing condolence letters
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: How do you say farewell to colleagues when leaving a job? Can you correct someone who keeps spelling your name wrong?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Getting dragged into other people's problems, talking in elevators




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you order wine in a restaurant the wrong way? Do you make condolence letters about you? Do you ask people how much money they make? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out.

[Theme Song]

Here are some 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 we're in New York today. And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: Happy mouth.

Nick: Happy mouth. So, for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about the wine ceremony in a restaurant. So you've been in a restaurant...

Leah: I have, I have.

Nick: And so somebody's ordered a bottle of wine and you see that the bottle comes and then something happens.

Leah: Yeah, it's like a whole thing that makes me anxious.

Nick: It's a whole thing. So, there's no need to be anxious if you know what you're supposed to do.

Leah: OK.

Nick: So, here's what you're supposed to do: The whole point of this little exercise is not to decide, "Do I like the wine? Is the wine delicious? Does the wine have notes of cherry in it?" That's not what this is about. All this is about is to determine, "Is this what I ordered? And is the wine actually good and not turned?"

Leah: OK.

Nick: That's the whole thing.

Leah: That's it.

Nick: So, the bottle arrives and so the sommelier — the wine guy — will present you the bottle of wine and he should do it having the label face you and the point of this is to see, "Is this what I ordered?" and, most importantly, "is this the vintage I ordered?"

Leah: OK.

Nick: Because shadier restaurants might switch the vintage on you. Or if they run out of the vintage you order, they might just sort of swap it out and if you don't notice, you dno't notice.

Leah: Check the year.

Nick: You just want to look at the bottle and be like, "yes, this is what I ordered. OK, great." So, then you confirm this and you nod or you say, "yes." And then they will open the bottle and then they will take the cork out. And so here is where it gets a little controversial. The cork is presented to you. Whether or not you should smell the cork or not is up for great debate. But what you are looking at in the cork is, "does it look okay? Is it crumbly? Is it the right cork for this wine?" If you've ordered something very expensive, there might be a brand name on the cork and you just want make sure like, "oh, does that match the wine producer on the bottle?"

Leah: Right. You make sure it's not like a screw top.

Nick: You also want to note, "should this have a cork? Is this a box?" So you definitely want to just be mindful that the cork matches the bottle and the cork looks fine. Some people say that there's not much information to be gleaned from smelling the cork. Some people say you should definitely smell the cork. So smell, not smell. That's on you... live your journey. What you should not do is lick the cork.

Leah: Oh, God.

Nick: Do not lick the cork.

Leah: Even I wouldn't do that.

Nick: OK.

Leah: And we know that I'm an animal.

Nick: You know it's too far to lick the cork. So don't take the cork. But what you are trying to look for is like, does it smell moldy or musty or something smells wrong with the cork if you're gonna smell it. So then you want to taste the wine. So they're going to pour you a little wine in the glass. And this is where a lot of people will be tempted to make a joke, which is like, "oh, is this all I get?" Sommeliers have heard this. It is not funny. And so that's just like not say that. So they're gonna pour a little wine out into the glass and you might want to look at the wine to check the color against maybe a white napkin or tablecloth just to see if something looks off on it. You can swirl it if you want to release the aromas at this point. Some people say you should taste it before you smell it. So there's debate. But either way, might want to do a little swirling... release the aromas. I like to swirl while I keep the glass connected to the table. That prevents you from getting too crazy with it. And what you're wanting to smell for is: does it smell musty? Does it smell like wet newspapers? Does it smell acidic? What's happening? But if it smells fine, then you will take a taste and you're gonna be tasting for these same things. You also want to taste, like, does it taste like it almost was cooked? Like, does it taste sort of thin? Does it smell sort of jammy? So you want to kind of determine, is there anything wrong? If there's nothing wrong and it looks fine, then what you say at the sommelier is, "It's fine." That's all you have to say. That's the end of this adventure. And then they will pour the wine and that's that.

Leah: You just say, "it's fine"?

Nick: "It's fine." Yeah. You can say, "it's good."

Leah: OK.

Nick: This is not your opportunity to talk about like, "I love it. It has these notes. This is how I feel about it." Like, you're welcome to say that if you really feel inclined and the sommelier will indulge you. But that's not what this exercise is about. It's just to determine: is the wine fine or not fine?

Leah: OK.

Nick: It's a binary choice.

Leah: I feel like you really took the stress out of this.

Nick: So if it's not fine, then have someone else at the table give a second opinion.

Leah: Same glass? You just pass it over?

Nick: You could do that, sure. Or you could have them pour a second glass. And then if they say it's not fine, then you would kick it back to the restaurant and be like, "we're smelling this thing. Would you check it out?"

Leah: OK.

Nick: And so then the restaurant may say, "oh, no, that's how this is supposed to be." And if you don't know what you're doing and you don't know this wine, then you'll have to decide whether or not you take their word for it or not.

Leah: OK.

Nick: But that's a separate question.

Leah: OK.

Nick: So, in this little adventure, this is how you handle the whole wine ceremony thing.

Leah: OK. I mean, that seems manageable.

Nick: And now we know.

Leah: Now we know.

Nick: And knowing is half the battle.

Leah: It is. Almost more than half.

Nick: Sixty five percent.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Yes.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: And we're back. And it's time to go deep.

Leah: Like the abyss. Great movie.

Nick: And like the abyss. I want to talk about writing a condolence letter.

Leah: This is big.

Nick: This comes up.

Leah: A lot.

Nick: And this is kind of like being an adult.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: People in your life, death happens to them or to family members or people they know... it happens.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And so there are times when a condolence letter is very appropriate.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And so the question is, what's the right way to do it?

Leah: I have so many thoughts on this.

Nick: Bring it.

Leah: I had a friend whose child passed, which is obviously and the nightmare of all nightmares.

Nick: Horrible.

Leah: And this is before everybody had cell phones. But, you know, there wasn't the online thing where people post. And the friend who reached out to tell all of us was like, "don't text her. Don't call her. I'm sure she's in the worst place, you know? Leave her alone. I'm sure this is so hard. We don't want to bother her." And they were coming from a good place. And I called my mom... I was so upset. And my mom was like, "absolutely, don't do that. What happens is that everybody pulls back. And then that person feels alone."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I immediately just called and I left a message and, you know, I just said, "I'm sorry. And I'm thinking of you." And she got back, you know, when I saw her, she's like, "thank you so much. So many people didn't say anything." And so I always, even if it feels uncomfortable, I make sure I send a card or I call. I think the priority is so that person doesn't feel alone.

Nick: Yeah. And the word "alone" I think is key here, because I think when you have a loss and this actually goes for any type of loss. I mean, certainly of a loved one, but also like a job loss...

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: ...or a relationship? Like a loss is a loss. And sometimes it does make somebody feel alone.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: And so knowing that you're not alone, I think is important.

Leah: Yeah and that people are thinking of you.

Nick: And etiquette is about thinking about other people.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And so, yes, I think sending a note is the correct advice. And whoever your friend was was like, "Ignore this person that suffered a loss..."

Leah: Well, no...they were just so afraid that we would say the wrong thing or that that person needed space. So I think the worst idea is to get so worried about saying the wrong thing that you do nothing.

Nick: Right. Well, let's talk about what to say. So, I think baseline it needs to be handwritten.

Leah: Oh, yeah.

Nick: We are not texting. We are not doing a thumbs down on Facebook.

Leah: Oh, yeah.

Nick: We're not... like none of that. It does need to be hand-written and it does not need to be on special stationery, assuming it's not like a Garfield card.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But like it could even just be on an 8.5" by 11" blank piece of paper.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: And I think you just want to acknowledge that this thing has happened and you want to express your sympathy for this. And I think it's nice to share a memory if you knew the person. Like, I think the person receiving this really appreciates hearing some anecdote or just some nice thing that you remember specifically about the person who's dead.

Leah: Oh, I think it's very nice.

Nick: I think that's very nice to include. And if you didn't know the person, then it's sometimes nice to maybe try and say something nice that relates to that person and your friend. So like, let's say you had a friend whose parent died. You might want to say something nice about like, "oh, clearly, they must have been a great mother, because clearly you're so wonderful friend..."

Leah: Right.

Nick: "...and I'm glad to have you in my life."

Leah: Right.

Nick: "...and I'm thinking of you during this time."

Leah: I think that's very nice.

Nick: Kind of nice to sort of try and tie it together if possible. So I think that's very important. You want to definitely like be specific with the person's name and you don't want to try to be too flowery.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: You want to be very just sort of simple and straightforward. Also, you do want to come up with your own phrasing. You do not want to go Google this because if you do, you and everyone else is going to have a sympathy note that has the exact same phrasing. So you're gonna be like, "Sharing in your sadness as you remember Dan," which has more than half a million hits on Google.

Leah: Oh. wow.

Nick: If you look up like what to say to condolences letter? So don't do that because now this person is going to get all these cards that have this exact same phrasing. And now that's really weird.

Leah: Right. "Sharing in your sadness."

Nick: Yeah. "Sharing your sadness as you remember Dan." Also, if you didn't change the name?

Leah: Right, that would be very weird.

Nick: Very weird. So yeah, you definitely want to come up with your own phrasing. I don't think you want to use the words "died" or "dead."

Leah: No, I always say "passed on."

Nick: "Passed" or you can say it in a way that you don't even need to say.

Leah: Or say "lost."

Nick: I often start my condolence letters with, "I was so sorry to hear that sad news about Chad."

Leah: Yes.

Nick: So we know what the sad news is. There's no confusion about the sad news.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Everybody knows who's reading this letter what we're talking about and I think that's fine. This letter is not your opportunity to ask questions.

Leah: Oh, yeah.

Nick: So this is not Q&A.

Leah: No, definitely not.

Nick: "How did he die?"

Leah: "What happened?" Oh, my goodness.

Nick: And this is also not your opportunity to make it about you.

Leah: Yes. This happens.

Nick: "Like, you know who died?"

Leah: "That happened to me." I recently watched that happen.

Nick: What?

Leah: Somebody I was in a conversation where one person just had somebody pass. And this other person just jumped in. And I was like, "I think this person is in the middle of a feeling. And then you want to talk about something that happened to you?" I understand that it was coming from a wanting to relate, but they let the person... they're sharing, they're having a feeling, you know.

Nick: Yeah. And I think the impulse to relate is understandable, but is not appropriate in this situation.

Leah: No.

Nick: Like if you've had someone in your life that's died. I don't think this is the occasion when you want to relate that feeling. "Oh, well, when my mother died, I remember this time. And so I get where you're going through." This is actually not a helpful sentiment.

Leah: Yeah. But I do think people most of the time mean it from a good place. They just don't know what to say.

Nick: People always mean well, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Leah: People don't always mean well.

Nick: That's true.

Leah: But I think you know when somebody means well and they didn't mean it that way.

Nick: True. And if somebody means well and they just said the wrong thing, then like, let's not get hung.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right. But we're talking about like we've written the letter and we've the opportunity to not make mistakes.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: So in this conversation, I'm trying to tell everyone...

Leah: Yeah. If you write that in your letter, throw it away. Write a new one.

Nick: Right. Start over. And then lastly, I think you might want to offered to help.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Or just offer that you are available for something specific or not specific with the knowledge that they're not gonna probably take you up on it.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: But it's nice to offer.

Leah: I always say because I feel I also don't want to be like "let me know if you need anything." But then now I say, "let me know if you want to talk." Sometimes you just won't talk or not talk. You know? They want to go out and not talk about it.

Nick: Yeah. Let's just let go and do normal brunch.

Leah: Yeah. So I say, you know, "I'm available to talk about it if you need an ear or we can just go do something and not talk about it at all."

Nick: Yeah. And so when you send this letter I don't think you should expect a reply.

Leah: No.

Nick: Certainly not right away. And I think it's nice to acknowledge people who have sent you these letters either when you see them next like, "oh, thank you so much for sending that card. It was really nice." Or maybe some point down the line, you might want to write them back or, you know, at least email or text them back. But I think this is one occasion when, like you do not necessarily have to acknowledge this letter.

Leah: Yeah, people are in the middle of it.

Nick: Etiquette gives you a pass.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So that's the thought there.

Leah: It is just letting people know that you're thinking of them and they're not alone. And it's a whole part of weaving a web of kindness.

Nick: Oh, but that on the pillow. OK.

Leah: Just to let people know...

Nick: This is a real downer, Leah.

Leah: It's not a downer. It's... I mean, of course it's a downer, but it's also like how you have friend groups and family members and you take care of each other.

Nick: It takes a village.

Leah: Yep. Or even just three really good friends.

Nick: Well, where you grew up, that was a village.

Leah: And I appreciate it very much.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take questions from the wilderness.

Leah: Oh, I love the wild.

Nick: So this is your opportunity to send us questions and then we'll answer those questions.

Leah: And we're really giving our best effort.

Nick: This is our best shot, yes.

Leah: Nick's going to give you the real answer and I'm gonna give you like the one time that it doesn't happen that way.

Nick: I make no promises, but Leah definitely will always give you the one exception. So our first question is a voicemail. So let's listen to that now.

[Voicemail Beep]

Caller: Hi, Nick and Leah. Today's my last day at my job. What's the proper etiquette for saying farewell to my colleagues? Thank you.

[Voicemail Beep]

Leah: I wish we had more backstory on this because I want to know, are you leaving for another job? Are you leaving because you're moving?

Nick: Have you been indicted?

Leah: Yeah. Have you been arrested for something? Do you hate everybody? Are you excited to be going?

Nick: See on some level, I don't think it matters.

Leah: Oh.

Nick: I think because this was not a prison voicemail, this person is not indicted. And the tone suggests that, like, they're leaving on their own volition.

Leah: OK.

Nick: But I think it doesn't matter.

Leah: Oh, I think it matters.

Nick: Well, no, because the impulse is like to go out in a blaze of glory and burn those bridges, which, hey, I love spite. I love going down with the ship. But I think what you want to do is just be nice about it, because good etiquette is not about closure. Like you never get closure and have good etiquette. Etiquette is inherently about leaving it open ended.

Leah: Oh.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Oh, wow.

Nick: Oh, did I...

Leah: I just feel like I was that emoji with it has the head coming off.

Nick: Yeah, etiquette is not about closure. Definitively.

Leah: I mean, I feel like, especially with people that you had a nice relationship with.

Nick: Sure. But even if you didn't. Even if you hate all the people you worked with, you're not going to get closure in this email. Certainly not if you write an email that's like halfway polite. So...

Leah: But you can walk by their desk and be like, "suck it."

Nick: So I think the nice thing to do or the correct thing to do is you basically just say, " hey everybody, today's my last day..."

Leah: We're sending a group e-mail?

Nick: Oh, right. So I think we're saying an e-mail. And I think we're sending an e-mail to like the people you work with. So not like company-wide, hundred thousand people worldwide, if you people don't know you in the Singapore office. And I think you're just sending a "hey today's my last day. Really enjoy working with all of you. Talk to, you know, Lisa and Chad about any projects that you might need me for...they're handling now. And here's my personal e-mail address. Hope to stay in touch. Thank you."

Leah: So you're going to send your personal e-mail address to all of these people, not just the people you're friends with?

Nick: I don't think you have to send your personal e-mail address. I think you could send like your LinkedIn profile if you wanted. I think it's nice to send some sort of contact info if you don't hate these people.

Leah: OK.

Nick: If you do hate these people and like I'd never want to see you ever again, then you obviously don't.

Leah: Then you just send the "thank you so much. Great working with you."

Nick: Right. And then your e-mail gets turned off your corporate e-mail and then it bounces.

Leah: That's it.

Nick: That's it. You're out.

Leah: OK.

Nick: So I think that's the way I would handle it. Because you're not going to... There's no way to write an e-mail that is satisfying.

Leah: Oh, yeah. I wasn't thinking of an email. I was thinking of a walk by with like a darty eye. You know what I mean?

Nick: Oh, that'll show 'em. Give 'em a stink eye.

Leah: Just for you...

Nick: That'll make the point.

Leah: ...when you walk by. Maybe you take something out of the fridge that wasn't theirs. I don't know.

Nick: Oh.

Leah: I mean, that's real dangerous.

Nick: Wow. Or leaving your stuff in the fridge after Friday at five o'clock.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Or you just take a tuna fish sandwich. Put it in the microwave...

Leah: Oh my goodness.

Nick: ...Five minutes. Walk away.

Leah: That's wild. That's wild.

Nick: No, I think if you're leaving your job... because you never know when you gonna run into these people again, like I don't know any industry in which you could ever burn a bridge and I'll never come back.

Leah: Oh, you'll always see all of these people again. That's just the way life works.

Nick: Right. So I think, you know, this is why keep it light, keep it breezy and just do it that way.

Leah: I mean, I act like I would walk by and do a hard eye, but I'm always like, "thank you so much. I was so happy to be here."

Nick: Yeah, for you, like who are you kidding?

Leah: Yeah, who am I kidding?

Nick: Who are you kidding? So, yeah, that's not going to happen. So our next question comes from a professional golfer. "I'm a professional golfer and I'm working to get on the big tour, but right now I am struggling to play events for money that's a fraction of what I might earn on the LPGA. And right now, I'm dealing with people asking me how much money I'm making. Am I making any money? This is what people ask people on flights. People in my golf course. Who does that? How do I respond?"

Leah: I actually have a lot of people do this to me as well. So this is a very interesting conversation.

Nick: So in general, asking people how much money they make is rude.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: For me, something feels a little sexist about this question.

Leah: Oh, it's definitely I think probably sexist.

Nick: Because I'm pretty sure if she was a man on like the golf circuit, she would not be getting the same level of questioning.

Leah: I think that people feel like they're allowed to ask women more things because there's this idea that we're public property.

Nick: Whoa. OK.

Leah: You know, "When are you having kids? Why did you change your hair? How much money are you making? Can you make a living doing that? Why aren't you completely available to me right now?" You know.

Nick: Yeah, I don't know, actually. But I've heard. I've read in books.

Leah: And it's also hard to set up that boundary where you're like, "oh, you really can't ask me this."

Nick: Yeah, it's hard to sort of set that boundary to a perfect stranger without just being very rude, right?

Leah: Yeah. And also, there's two layers to this because sometimes people are like, "oh, golf, you must be you must be making so much money," you know, or they're being like, "can you make a living doing that?" So either I feel when people ask, they're assuming that you're just like rolling in dough or they're like, "are you serious that you can make a money?" So either way, it feels like a bit of a...

Nick: Yes, it's rude.

Leah: Yeah. It's just...

Nick: At the end of the day.

Leah: You're like, "I don't know which which end I'm getting insulted on..."

Nick: Yeah, "I don't know why I'm insulted, but I know I am."

Leah: "...It's definitely an insult."

Nick: I mean, I guess the response because I feel like you feel like you want to say something...

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So I think the response I would offer is something like, "how lucky I am to be doing what I love" and just leave it there. That doesn't answer the question, but is a response of some sort. So there are words coming out of your mouth that is acknowledging this person and then that's it.

Leah: I think there's a part of this that's also that she's working her butt off to move up. And a lot of times, like with comedy, I do a lot of gigs that are no money. And I'm doing it because it's how it works.

Nick: Right.

Leah: You got to get on stage. You got to work on new stuff. And then people immediately, when they know that, they're like, "why would you do that for no money?" You know what I mean? It's like, this is a part of me working very hard.

Nick: Yeah, it's almost like an internship.

Leah: Yeah. And it's just how it works.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I think because it's so layered and it just feels like an insult in so many ways, you want to be like, "You have no idea how much time you've to put in for free."

Nick: I do not think you want to explain how the world works to this person.

Leah: That's none of their business.

Nick: Yeah. And that's a response, too. "Oh, I don't talk about things like that." And you could say that.

Leah: Yeah, or you could say, "oh, I really love it, so I'm just showing up to be the best I can be."

Nick: "Oh, I'm probably making 78 percent of what the men make."

Leah: Yeah. You could make a joke or you could be like, "oh, I own an island, so it doesn't even matter."

Nick: Yeah, so I guess he there's sort of just shut it down politely or you just make a joke.

Leah: Yeah. Because once you start giving people information, it's over.

Nick: Yeah. Never explain

Leah: Yeah. It's not their business.

Nick: Never explain and never justify. So, our next question says, "The resource manager at work almost always spells my last name wrong. And since it's her job to connect me with people in our various offices, I think spelling matters. Can I correct her?"

Leah: Absolutely.

Nick: Hmmm...Here's the thing.

Leah: It's the resource manager.

Nick: Here's the thing. I think you got to jump on these things early. It's like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Once you give them a little drop of blood and now they grow. Now it's too big. Now you just got to feed it. So I think unless you've jumped on this real early, it sounds like this has been going on a while. I don't think you can correct it.

Leah: Oh, I think you can.

Nick: I don't think you can pull Lisa aside and be like, "Look..."

Leah: No, you don't pull Lisa aside. You email Lisa back and go, "oh, my goodness, Lisa. I just noticed we've been spelling my name wrong." We put "we've."

Nick: For the last 10 years.

Leah: "We've been spelling my name wrong." And then you write it out

Nick: OK.

Leah: Ha ha ha .

Nick: So what's interesting is the person wrote this e-mail and actually their name is in the e-mail. Their name is not complicated at all.

Leah: I know. That's why I feel like also that the resource manager, that's their whole job.

Nick: That's the whole job.

Leah: They need to be corrected. And if you want to couch it in a "hahaha, I just noticed"? Have at it. But they need to be corrected.

Nick: Well, I think another idea would be, if this is all via email and it probably is, that when you get connected with some other department, you're like, "oh, here's Barb." Barb can chime in and be like, "oh, actually, there was a typo in that last e-mail. My last name is actually Smith. S-M-I-T-H" and she could do it in like an e-mail.

Leah: With both people on it?

Nick: Yes. CC Lisa.

Leah: I just feel like it's actually more embarrassing for Lisa if you tell her in a group email.

Nick: I see. So you want to pull her aside.

Leah: Just pull her aside and be like, " I just noticed."

Nick: I think the solution is you get your credit card company on the phone and you file a dispute and you loudly spell your name to the customer service person in earshot of this woman.

Leah: This woman is not going to notice you doing that.

Nick: No?

Leah: This woman hasn't noticed your name spelling...

Nick: I can be very loud.

Leah: This person is in a cloud of certainty that they are spelling your name right.

Nick: OK.

Leah: You're going to have to point it out.

Nick: OK. You've got to clear the cloud.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: OK. So you just like to have an e-mail which is like, "oh, my gosh...just noticed..."

Leah: "I just noticed..."

Nick: OK. And just like, "oh, it's actually spelt this way."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And then she has to now fix this problem.

Leah: She now has to fix it.

Nick: She can't keep doing it.

Leah: No.

Nick: OK. So I think in general, though, you've got to jump on it when it first happened.

Leah: Oh, yeah. Ideally you would.

Nick: Yeah. So. OK. So that's the solution there. And if you need solutions out there, send them to us. We'll be happy to figure it out.

Leah: Yeah, we're going to... We're gonna go back and forth and we find the right answer.

Nick: We'll get there eventually.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Not always the first time.

Leah: But we'll also give you maybe two or three options.

Nick: Yes. We're all about choices here.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: So you have choices. You can send us a message to our web site — — you can also choose to send us a text message — (267) CALL-RBW. You can also leave us a voicemail there, too. And there's more. Stay tuned.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: And we're back. And now is the part of the show where we play a game we like to call "vent or repent." And so it's our opportunity to either vent about some bad etiquette thing that's happened to us this week or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I would like to vent.

Nick: OK.

Leah: This happens often. And I know when people do it, I don't think it's...Oh, actually, sometimes I actually think it's on purpose, to drag you into the quagmire. But as somebody, I really try very hard to be positive. And I do grateful lists. And I don't try to talk negative about myself or other people and I have noticed that a lot of people, when they're anxious about something or they don't like something about themselves, they like to "we." They want to bring you into it and assume that you also feel that way about yourself.

Nick: Give me an example.

Leah: Like, don't you feel that now that we are old?

Nick: Oh, I don't like that.

Leah: Yeah, I don't like it at all. And I'll be like, "oh, I don't feel that way." And then.... But I don't... It's not about me. They want to vent about something, but I don't need to be... I can be supportive and listen without you assuming that I have to feel that same way.

Nick: So you like "I-statements" not a "we-statements."

Leah: Yeah, I'm happy to listen and be supportive, but don't throw me in.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You know what I mean? I feel like it also happens a lot with women and their body types like, "Don't you find that you can never find pants with ankles like that?" and you're like, "oh, I have the same problem." If I didn't bring up my ankles?

I don't have ankle problems, people at home. I'm making this very...

Nick: To be fair, Leah's ankles? Very nice.

Leah: I'm very happy with my ankles.

Nick: Very high-quality ankles. But yeah, definitely I don't like hearing about your cankles and now I also have them in your mind.

Leah: Right. I've had people be like, "oh, I also have a big forehand. Do you think..." and you're like, "how did this happen?"

Nick: Like, "oh, do I have a big forehead?"

Leah: And then all of a sudden I'm a part of this group of people?

Nick: Yeah, yeah.

Leah: You could just talk to me and I'm happy to listen and be supportive. I recently had a guy who doesn't have children bring me into his "Don't you find we're meaningless?" And I was like, "do you think maybe you wanna just share and talk with me without... It doesn't have to be me. It could just be you."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "And we can just talk about it."

Nick: I've never thought about this, but yeah, this is true and this is maddening.

Leah: It really makes me crazy because that person just wants to talk and they need to get it out and they want to vent. And I, for me to be my most supportive, you need to take me out of the equation.

Nick: Yeah. So...

Leah: Because a lot of the times I don't feel those feelings.

Nick: Right. And even if I did, I don't want to be reminded of this.

Leah: I don't want to be reminded and also maybe I don't want to talk about it.

Nick: Yeah, OK. So don't do this.

Leah: Drives me crazy.

Nick: So what drives me crazy and I'm going to vent...

Leah: Tell me.

Nick: Surprise. Elevators. You know, I don't... There's not even an etiquette thing, maybe? Because I don't think there's an etiquette rule. But I really do not like being in an elevator...

Leah: I'm so excited for this.

Nick: And people are talking. Like to each other. Not even just like on the phone, which we all know is rude. You should not be on the phone in an elevator. But I actually don't like when two people are talking and enter the elevator and continue the conversation.

Leah: Really?

Nick: I don't like that.

Leah: [Whispers] What if they talk like this?

Nick: See, they don't. They always maintain the same volume as if they were outside the elevator. But even in a whisper, it's a very small space. And I am part of your conversation now, and I don't like that. I really would rather you just hold your conversation. And if you're an elevator with me in and we're chatting, I will pause us.

Leah: OK.

Nick: And I'll wait 30 seconds until we're done.

Leah: I'm glad I know this about you before we go on the road together.

Nick: And that's why it's like I don't think it's an etiquette thing. It's just me being sort of crazy. But I don't enjoy it and it makes me upset.

Leah: I know you're saying that people don't do this. What if people whisper?

Nick: I guess if you bring it to a very sultry ASMR-type whisper?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: And I was tingling? Then, OK.

Leah: Because I understand that you'd you're like, "hey, we're now in a shared small space."

Nick: Exactly.

Leah: Be aware of other people.

Nick: Yes. And it's always small. We're not in a big freight elevator.

Leah: Nobody's in big elevators.

Nick: And so it just it just feels intrusive of my psychic space.

Leah: OK.

Nick: And I wish people were more mindful of my psychic space.

Leah: OK.

Nick: So, that's my vent. And I stand by it.

Leah: I love it.

Nick: I guess that's our show.

Leah: No, we're going to say nice things.

Nick: Oh, right.

Leah: We're going to say nice things.

Nick: So, that reminds me. Leah wanted to do this thing where we like say...

Leah: I was adamant.

Nick: "We're always like talking about bad things people do." True. That's the show. "But what if we said nice things?" So, OK.

Leah: I just think it'd be so nice to recognize kindnesses.

Nick: OK. So...

Leah: Because it rolls out.

Nick: OK, pay it forward. OK. So what is some nice etiquette thing that's happened to?

Leah: I was going to the grocery store and you know, it's like a market store. It doesn't matter. But there's two swinging doors. You know what I mean?

Nick: It's a saloon.

Leah: Yeah, it's like a saloon store and it's the Wild West. And there were gunfights. And this man held the door for me and multiple people. And he held it in a way... Usually when people hold doors for you in New York, they make you aware that they hate your guts.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: And you better keep it moving. And he held it, stepped back, was like, "oh," and was like, lovely.

Nick: Wow.

Leah: And I felt lovely. And the two people that came in after me felt lovely. And then on the way out, I stepped... I always hold the door, but I did it with a much brighter smile. And I stepped back and all the people... and I let everybody who is going go and everybody said, "thank you," which honestly never happens. And it was just like this delightful in and out of a moment of community at the at the market.

Nick: Wow. OK.

Leah: Delightful.

Nick: What a treat.

Leah: It was such a treat.

Nick: I guess if I had to pick one nice thing that's happened, I will say it has been quite lovely getting notes from our listeners who have said nice things about our little show.

Leah: It's so nice.

Nick: Because believe it or not... And we don't like to say how the sausage gets made. But, I stay up very late at night editing this thing myself...

Leah: Nick works so hard.

Nick: my little apartment. And so it is very nice when you're sort of alone in your apartment, like editing out Leah's "ums"

Leah: Where there are a lot.

Nick: There are a few. "Uhhhhhhh." And and it's very nice. Like, you are doing this and then you release it into the wild and you don't know what's going to happen. And I don't know who's listening to this thing and just sort of gets in the ether and that's the end of it. So it is very nice when people actually have heard it and took the time to listen to it. And then took the time to say something nice. And then that's very nice.

Leah: It's also nice.

Nick: So, I do appreciate people like slipping into our DMs or sending a nice email being like, "oh, I really just like this thing" and this is nice. So I appreciate that.

Leah: That is very lovely.

Nick: So, that is my thank you for your thank you. So keep it coming because I need the validation.

Leah: We are empty, empty...

Nick: We are empty vessels and we will need to be filled. So thank you.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I really feel like you took all of this stress out of how to order wine.

Nick: Great.

Leah: You know, because I I've seen it happen. And I always think I would never order wine.

Nick: I have seen people lick corks. It has happened and it is bonkers.

Leah: But I also think people are so stressed about what they're supposed to do.

Nick: Yeah, it's an intimidating sort of situation.

Leah: It feels so intimidating. And now you know you're just making sure it's not bad.

Nick: Right.

Leah: You're like, "oh, this is what I ordered. And it's hasn't turned to vinegar."

Nick: That's it.

Leah: I can handle that well.

Nick: Voilà.

Leah: Done.

Nick: And I learned that it guess kindness won't kill me.

Leah: Yes. It might open up a know...

Nick: Well, that's going a little far.

Leah: OK.

Nick: But it won't kill me.

Leah: No, it won't kill you.

Nick: And that's all that matters.

Leah: It might come back and make something more wonderful happen.

Nick: Well, time will tell. 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 to my custom engraved social stationery. Please subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts and leave us a nice review. And feel free to follow us on Instagram. You can slip into our DMs.

Leah: Yes, slip in. We love it.

Nick: Slip in. Slip in to those DMs. And feel free to buy some official merch. Buy a tote bag.

Leah: Oh, I have this sweatshirt. I love it. It's so soft.

Nick: I have a sweatshirt. It's really good, yeah.

Leah: I wear it everywhere.

Nick: So check that out and we'll see you next time.

Leah: Please come back.

Nick: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]