Oct. 5, 2020

Poaching Friends, Putting Elbows on Tables, Refusing Old Soup, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle putting elbows on tables, poaching friends, refusing old soup, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Elbows on the table
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Friend poaching
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: How do I decline old lentil soup from a friend? Is it OK to send thank you notes with a mailing service? Is it rude to text "are you home" with no additional information?
  • VENT OR REPENT: An encounter at Starbucks, Companies that waste your time
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Lost and found items, A nice review




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


Nick: Do you put your elbows on the table? Do you accost people in coffee shops? Do you steal friends? 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: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: Let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche!

Leah: Let's get in it.

Nick: So, for today, let's talk about putting elbows on the dinner table.

Leah: Let's do it.

Nick: Can you do it?

Leah: Can I?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Or should I?

Nick: Oh-ho-ho-hoooo ... History has been talking about elbows on tables for a very, very long time. There is some reference in the book of Ecclesiastes, which is this book of wisdom from 2,000 years ago, and they reference the idea of: elbows on the table, don't do it. Throughout history, it comes up. Cut to the Middle Ages, it was considered rude to have your elbows on the table because picture a long banquet table where everybody sitting very tightly, shoulder to shoulder, and it was rude to put your elbows on the table then because if you did that, you'd be in the space of the guy next to you, and getting in somebody else's space is rude.

Then cut to the 17th and 18th centuries. There's this great book called The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser. She observed that, in the 18th and 17th centuries, there was the idea of correct posture and immobility. Leaning and elbows on the table encroached on the space of others and suggested a lack of bodily control. So, this idea of control, a lot of our table manners today definitely stem from this idea of: we need to be controlled over our body, and we can't do anything too wild and crazy at the table. So, it'll come as no surprise then that Emily Post is not into elbows at the table. She has this whole section in her book, which is called On the Subject of Elbows on the Table. Basically, don't do it; don't think about it. Definitely don't do it if there are children present. Think of the children!

Leah: Mmm!

Nick: For generations, we have been basically teaching children: no elbows on the table. The table is hot lava. Don't do it. Always wrong. There's even this nursery rhyme which I came across, which I never heard, but maybe other people grew up with it, which is Mabel, Mabel, strong and able, get your elbows off the table. This is not a horse's stable.

Leah: Wow-a!

Nick: Yeah. So, even nursery rhymes about elbows. Miss Manners adds to this, and she says that this rule is often taught through brute force and there have been casualties. She then goes on to describe how when you're teaching kids about this, what people would do is you would lift their elbow off the table a few inches and let it drop back onto the table so it would hit their funny bone and cause children pain. Miss Manners is not condoning this. She's just explaining what has happened and why we all know this rule. So, I guess that was the thing that was happening, and that's why people feel like this rule is absolute. Miss Manners adds, "This might explain why, even otherwise etiquette-free people remember this rule." So, I guess there was this thing that people did, where you just hit peoples' funny bone when they're children-

Leah: Wow!

Nick: -to get their elbows off the table. This is actually not the whole story and is not the whole rule. You are allowed to have your elbows on the table. That's allowed. You're just not allowed to do it if you're eating or if you're holding a glass. Before dinner, between courses, after dinner, you are allowed to have your elbows on the table. It's okay, and even Emily concedes this point.

In 1922, she was lamenting how loud restaurants had become, like, "Ugh, they're so loud!" In order to hear other people, you do have to lean in, and when you lean in, you do need elbows on the table. So, Emily will allow you to lean in and have your elbows on the table and she says it actually makes you look better. She says, "In leaning forward, a woman's figure makes a more graceful outline supported on her elbows than doubled forward over her hands in her lap, as though in pain."

Leah: Mmm!

Nick: So, she's like, "If you're going to do it, then at least do it gracefully." But if you're at home, and you don't have a problem hearing other people at your dinner table, Emily's still not into it. She only allows this in restaurants.

Leah: If I had to put money down, prior to you telling me, on where I thought Emily Post came in on elbows-

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: I would have guessed she was a no-elbow-on-table lady.

Nick: She's not into it. I actually saw a quote attributed to her, which I couldn't actually track down in one of her actual books, but it's that: "The only time you can have elbows on the table is if you're home alone or ill!"

Leah: [Laughter and giggling]

Nick: So, those are the only two times when you can do it.

Leah: That seems exactly like something she would say.

Nick: Yeah, sounds like Emily. Yeah, that's Emily.

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: Very deep.

Nick: This is deep. So, I want to talk about friend poaching; sometimes called friend-napping. Here's an example [giggling] if you don't know. An example would be: I introduce you to my friend Lisa, and you guys click, and now you guys hang out without me. That is one example of friend poaching. For some people, this is a major etiquette crime, major betrayal. Things can turn toxic. It's a big deal. So, are you familiar with friend poaching? Has it happened to you? Do you have strong feelings about it?

Leah: This one was interesting because I feel the person I was 10 years ago ... I am familiar with friend poaching. I love your terminology, the friend-napping. I don't have strong feelings about it, as who I am now. It seems some people have things in common. I introduce somebody because I think they would like each other. That's why they're hanging out. Maybe they wanted to do something that I wouldn't have wanted to do. They wanted to get to know each other. I don't see what that has to do with me.

Nick: Yes. I think that's a very mature way to look at it. But I do get ... Let's say, now, you and Lisa have hit it off, and now you're going to brunch, and I see you Instagram your brunch together, and I wasn't invited. I can see how that could irk me, on some level,

Leah: I can see how it would hurt somebody's feelings.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But also, it's not really ... I've definitely felt left out, but then I remind myself, this really doesn't have to do with me at all.

Nick: Yeah, okay.

Leah: Unless they lied to me about it.

Nick: Oh, well then that's a whole other story-

Leah: That's a whole other story, but if they just enjoy each other and followed up on plans.

Nick: Right.

Leah: I can understand feeling hurt, but I would probably keep it to myself.

Nick: Yeah. I get how it can cause feelings of jealousy or FOMO, and I think if you're feeling sort of insecure that this could really sort of rub you the wrong way and feel like a major etiquette transgression. I think, for me, I don't look at friendships as this weird zero-sum game, where I can be friends with you, or you can be friends with this person, but we can't both be friends with them at the same time. If I introduce you to somebody and you guys hit it off, that doesn't change my relationship with that person.

Leah: Yeah, I don't see how it's really related.

Nick: Right. But I think it is very important to note that some people really do feel that way, so if you are going to friend poach, know that it's a thing that some people are very sensitive to. I think you just want to be mindful of that when you do that. There is some advice that comes up - from people who have been the poachers, and the poachees - about ways to handle it. So, the first thing is you want to go slow. Maybe don't send the Facebook friend request that night. Some people are very bothered when they see this. So, maybe wait till the next day? I don't know. To me, it wouldn't bother me, but some people are very bothered by that. So, just know that some people are bothered by that.

Leah: Bothered by ...? Who's being bothered?

Nick: If I introduce you to Lisa and then you Facebook friend Lisa that day, some people are bothered by this.

Leah: Lisa's bothered by it or you're ...

Nick: I'm bothered

Leah: I don't even know how would- I don't even know how you would know. How would you know?

Nick: Because then, oh, I see you guys are friends of Facebook now.

Leah: Why are you paying attention to that so closely?

Nick: Well, people pay attention! I don't know!

Leah: Why wouldn't you want them to be friends, though?

Nick: Because I am worried that if you guys are friends, then I'm going to be left out. That's the fear. The next piece of advice that people come up, who are very sensitive to this, is that you should operate as a threesome, initially. So, I shouldn't be doing one-on-one stuff with my new friend. I should include the original connector with any plans that we might have. So, no brunch is just the two of us. Make it group activities, make it a threesome for a little while. Somebody even suggested that you should do this for at least several months; that it would be too soon to cut the original connector out. Got to wait several months into the relationship. So, that's something that's suggested ...

Leah: I mean, in New York, I'll go months and months without seeing friends because time just flies!

Nick: Yeah, none of this feels very relevant to my life. I'm just saying, you know, this is a thing that's out there - friend poaching. I think a lot of our audience is going to listen to this and be like, "This happened to me. I was very upset about it. I thought what my friend did was rude or wrong." I think this is a thing.

Leah: I think it's weird if you try to hide it from somebody

Nick: Fair. Yes. I guess if there's deceit.

Leah: Because then it's like, "Oh, are you hiding from me?!"

Nick: Right. Right. Yes. I guess if the attitude is I'm not doing anything wrong, then therefore I have nothing to hide.

Leah: If I introduced you to my friend Lisa-

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: -and then I say, "Oh, hey, you guys, you both love museum exhibits." Then you message me: "Oh, hey, I'm meeting up with Lisa. We're going to go to the Met," I'd be like ... This'd be my response: "Awesome!"

Nick: Right.

Leah: "Have a great time!" But also, it's much easier if you text me. "So glad you introduced me to Lisa. We are going to go to the Met." "Awesome. Have a great time!" That way, I feel like I'm a part of-

Nick: Right. I'm credited with this new relationship.

Leah: Yeah, and I feel happy that you found somebody to share something you guys doing together, and I don't feel like you're hiding it from me.

Nick: Right? Maybe that's key.

Leah: You know, I think what's weird is when people don't tell people. They were like, "Oh, we didn't want you to feel left out," because then you're like, "Oh, do you think I'm ...?" Then people start to feel like, "Oh, do you feel sorry for me?" You know what I mean? But if you just let somebody know - BOOM! - it's on the level.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Everybody feels like they've been told; you're not being lied to.

Nick: That's it.

Leah: That's it. I understand wanting to be invited to things and feeling left out. But I think the feeling to focus on, if you're a person who ... Because, in the past, I've felt this way. It's not a feeling that I any longer feel, but I think that if you do feel that way, I believe that, below that feeling, you want your friends to be happy.

Nick: Mmm.

Leah: It's nice to focus on: it's nice that I was able to introduce two people that have something in common. It doesn't say anything about my relationship with them, except that there's more happiness to go around and to focus on that feeling, as opposed to feeling left out.

Nick: Yeah, that's nice. Just reframe it as, "Oh, I did a nice thing here, and I've made people happy." Yes.

Leah: Because it's like, don't you want people to be happy?

Nick: Yeah, usually [Giggling]

Leah: Sometimes, you feel a little insecure about it. I get that; you feel left out.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But that's why you focus on the other feeling.

Nick: Right. Right. All right. I think these are some good words of advice.

Leah: I also think, sometimes, you introduce people as friends because they have an activity they both like doing that maybe you don't like doing-

Nick: That's true.

Leah: -so you pawn it off on them.

Nick: Yeah, like, "Oh, yeah, you guys do ice fishing. Have at it."

Leah: Yes,

Nick: Yeah. I'm going to go inside where it's warm.

Leah: That way, your friend has a friend to do this activity with.

Nick: Yeah. They'll stop bothering you about ice fishing.

Leah: I would go ice fishing with you. Let me say that, though, up top.

Nick: Okay, I am not interested.

Leah: But if you have a friend ... If you have a friend who wants to go ice fishing with you-

Nick: Oh, I see. Yes. For all my ice-fishing friends, I will definitely hook you up. I won't feel bad about it.

Leah: I just want to wear that cute hat with the two earflaps and have a warm beverage-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: -and then just sit there and go, "Oooh, I'm so cold!"

Nick: Sound like a great time. Sign me up!

Leah: [Giggling]

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: [Higher-Pitched Howling ]

Nick: So, our first question is: "A friend of mine recently moved out of state, but before she left town, I took her out to lunch at a local restaurant to say goodbye. As I was driving her home, she asked me if I liked lentil soup. I told her that I haven't had it before because it never really appealed to me. She responded with, "My friend's mom made me a huge batch of lentil soup that I've been keeping in my freezer for a few months. It's so good, but I won't be able to eat it before I move out, so I'm gonna give you some." I really didn't want the soup, especially since I knew it was now months old. So, I said, "Thank you, but I'm okay. I'm not a huge soup-eater." She replied again, "Trust me, you'll love it, but you'll have to season it first so it's not bland." I gave up and I said, "Okay ..."

She then asked me if I liked more things: ketchup, teriyaki sauce, miso soup. I told her, "No, thank you," more definitively this time. She seemed to accept this until we got back to her apartment. She ran upstairs to get the lentil soup and returned with an enormous bag full of lentil soup and other used refrigerated items. I tried to politely tell her, "Thank you, but I don't know how to cook with these things, and I don't want them to go to waste," but she insisted that she was "saving me money" and proceeded to text me recipes to use said ingredients. I went home and ended up throwing everything out because I have no idea how long they've been open and sitting in a refrigerator. All this to say - when moving out, please do not burden your friends with the contents of your fridge!"

Leah: My back hurt reading this.

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: I just ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: There's a real issue with people who can't hear no.

Nick: Yeah. I think we all have this person in our life. I think we all know this lentil-soup person.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I really ... I could picture this person in my life. I know this person. Yeah.

Leah: Unfortunately, you have to dig in on your no's with people like this. "No thank you ..." It makes somebody, especially somebody like me, who- I hate saying no to people that I really like because I inherently want them to feel good. But then you just say your no, and then that's it! "Oh, but you ..." "No! No thank you. No, thank you," and then, that's it.

Nick: Yeah, but this is somebody who doesn't listen, and somebody who doesn't listen, they don't hear "No." It does not fire any synapses in their brain. It doesn't compute. No means white noise. So, when the stakes are low like this - it's lentil soup - I think we just take the lentil soup.

Leah: Yeah, but now she didn't just take the lentil soup. Now she took a bag of this person's-

Nick: Garbage! [Giggling]

Leah: -fridge garbage! This just made me so angry. Then, this person texted them-

Nick: That, I love, yeah.

Leah: -recipes. So, now, this person has to invent a story, or be like, "Are you kidding me? I threw them out. I told you I didn't want them." It just ... If it was just the soup, I would have been like, "Just take it ..."

Nick: Oh, but it's the ketchup that puts you over the edge?

Leah: It's the teriyaki sauce-

Nick: Uh-huh ...

Leah: -and then the texting of recipes, as if this person isn't able to find recipes on their own, if they were interested in the teriyaki sauce.

Nick: Fair.

Leah: "I'm saving you money." Oh, thank you so much! It just ... For some reason, this one really, really grinded my gears.

Nick: Yeah. No, I see that. I mean ...

Leah: This friend is treating this person like a child.

Nick: Oh. You get a little patronizing flavor from this?

Leah: "Let me tell you how to use condiments ..."?

Nick: [Giggling] That's true. "Here's how ketchup works."

Leah: Yeah, that's exactly-

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: If I get a text that, I just ... Unfortunately, I would love to become the kind of person who, when they came downstairs with the condiments, I would love to be the kind of person who is like, "I really can't take this. I appreciate it. I already have too much stuff." But no, I wish I was that person.

Nick: But you're not that person.

Leah: I am not that person. I would take it.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Then I would get it to my house, and I would get so upset about it that I would eat a bag of candy corn and then aggressively watch all three Lord of the Rings to calm down.

Nick: Wow. That much rage over miso soup? Okay ...

Leah: Because it's not ... When somebody doesn't listen to your boundaries-

Nick: Yeah, no, it's upsetting.

Leah: This is not the first time this happened with this friend.

Nick: No.

Leah: This friend has been doing it to this- she's like, "Finally, you're moving!" Then, she has to keep your miso soup!

Nick: I mean, what I also love is that the lentil soup is bland.

Leah: Yeah. She's like, "Also, this soup tastes bad. You're gonna have to doctor it up." Am I taking your garbage?!

Nick: Yeah, but I do think the etiquette response here is just let it go. Take the lentil soup, throw it away. You probably won't see this person very often. That is the path of least resistance. She's leaving town. This is not when we set boundaries. I feel like we just-

Leah: I think you're probably right, but at the same time ...

Nick: Yes. I mean, etiquette is not satisfying. The correct etiquette response is often not the satisfying response.

Leah: How rude is it that a person would give you-

Nick: Garbage.

Leah: -their garbage?

Nick: Yeah!

Leah: I've said to people, when I was leaving places - because sometimes people need stuff, and I understand that - I've said, "Hey, I have stuff in my freezer. I'm going out of town for a while ..." like my neighbors that I get along with, "do you ...?" If they're like, "No," I'm like, "Of course." I only say it to people that I'm close enough friends with because I would ... If somebody was next door, and they're like, "Hey, we have this huge thing of ketchup; we're moving," I'd be like, "Yeah, give me the ketchup."

Nick: But yes, you're offering these things. This is a situation in we're not offering-

Leah: This person is putting trash into your car!

Nick: Right? [Giggling] Yeah, yeah.

Leah: I just ... I don't ... This, for some reason, really just put me over.

Nick: Yeah, no, I hear that.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: So, I don't know if we've come to any conclusion here, but I guess as a PSA - this is a PSA - please don't do this.

Leah: Don't do this to your friends!

Nick: Or anyone.

Leah: Or anybody!

Nick: Right.

Leah: I also think that Nick is absolutely right. The easy thing to do ... If you didn't have a lot of backed-up emotion about this-

Nick: Mm-hmm?

Leah: -would be to just take it, go back to your house and go, "I got another bag of condiments and lentil soup that needs to be doctored," and just laugh about it.

Nick: Yeah, I actually find this quite funny, so I'm into it

Leah: I think that would be the goal, but my guess is that there are some backed-up feelings, otherwise they wouldn't have written the letter.

Nick: Yeah, no, this is not the first time there's been some wayward condiments. It's true.

Leah: So, I just want to say to our letter writer: this person isn't listening to your boundaries. If you continue this friendship with them, your no's are going to have to get louder.

Nick: Fair. Okay, that's a good way to put it. Sure. Our next question is: "This may end up being a repent situation-"

Leah: [laughter]

Nick: -but what are your thoughts?" I know, isn't that great? "What are your thoughts on using a card-mailing service to send thank you notes? I'm not together enough to have my own personalized stationery, or, frankly, stamps. I've used an online service to create and send thank you notes. Yes, it is printed and not written, but it is printed with the salutation and expression of thanks from me. This service generates a physical card mailed to my recipient. So, it is a step up from an e-card. Is this a copout, and should I repent?" MMmmm.

Leah: Obviously, this question has Nick written all over it.

Nick: So ... Here's the deal. The idea of the handwritten thank you note is not that it comes on physical paper or that it is mailed. This is not what this is about. It's that I took ñ me, personally - some time out of my day to think about the thing you did for me and to express some thanks for this. It's the 'taking of time' part - that is the essence of the thank you note. That's what we want to focus on. So, the fact that you are having a company do the writing and the mailing for you, it loses the essence of what we're trying to achieve here. For that, this is not ideal. I do not approve. So, let's not do that.

Some interesting things in this message ... She says that she does not have her own personalized stationery. Ah, you don't need personalized stationery. That's okay. You don't need to have your name on it. Plenty of blank cards out there. No problem. And, she doesn't have stamps. Well, when I got this, I wrote her back, and I was like, "No, don't do that." I sent her links to Amazon, and the U.S. Postal Service website of the stamps she should buy, and the card she should buy. I was like, "Just buy these and just have them on standby. They'll come in handy." What she did is she wrote us a note on her new stationery with her new stamps and it looks great, very chic. She said thank you, and she's like, "Oh, this is great and easy." Another satisfied customer.

Leah: Nicely done, Nick.

Nick: So, yeah, don't use these online services because I don't like that. You might have a lot of thank you notes to write for your wedding. Oh, I'm sorry people did nice things for you and bought you gifts. Take the time to write a letter! Don't use some online service to make it easy.

Leah: I knew you would come in.

Nick: Yeah, that's how I come in on that. So ... Our next question is-

Leah: Can I say something really quick about the last one?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: This resonated with me just in that ... Well, the way you sent her the link with the link to the stamps and the thing. It took me a very long time to be the kind of- I'm a very - you don't have to agree with this audibly - but I'm a very frazzled person, and to be-

Nick: [Giggling] Mm-hmm.

Leah: It's set up in a way where ... Now, I have a thing with thank you notes in it, and we have a stamp, but to be at a place where I realized that I just can't get one thing ... You know what I mean? I'm too sort of mentally messy to keep up with when I have to do things. So, I have to have it set aside and be like, "Okay, this is already in my house, so I can do it. Because otherwise ...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It took me a while to become a person who knew that I would need to be that kind of a person.

Nick: So, just to paraphrase this stream of consciousness that you just went through.

Leah: Yes. Yes!

Nick: You feel a little discombobulated, and frazzled, and busy, and you need to have things available and easy to grab when you need to do it. So, it's on standby.

Leah: Right. But it took me a long time realize that that's what fixed it, just because I'm not a linear thinker.

Nick: Right? Oh, I got that.

Leah: I'd be like, "Oh, I'll get to it. I'm getting to it. I'm getting to it ...." I know it's a shock to everybody. I'll get to it. Then I get nervous about it, and then I get anxious about it. Then I would worry about it. Then I would ... you know what I mean? It took me a long time in my learning about myself to realize - just have things in your house that's already there. That way it doesn't take you three weeks of having a panic attack of why you didn't get to the ... So, I understand this feeling.

Nick: Yes. I mean, what we're describing is what's called a stationery wardrobe. This comes in many different forms, but basically, the idea is you've assembled different types of stationery for different occasions, and all the things that go with it, in order to send notes. So, in your stationery wardrobe, you're going to have your cards, and your envelopes; you're going to have your stamps; you're going to have your fountain pens, or whatever else. You assemble this, and it's always available because the thing with the thank you notes is if it's easy for you to do, you'll do them. If you have the cards available, you already have the postage ready to roll, you've got the envelopes, you've got the pens ... You'll just do it.

So, it's a very adult thing to have a stationery wardrobe. We're all adults here, so, let's get a stationery wardrobe. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. You know, these cards from Amazon ... I'll include a link in the show notes. You can buy the same cards. They're very pleasant. They work for all occasions - somber and happy - and get some stamps. They can mail them to you. The Postal Service does know how to mail things to you ... You just have it available. That way, there was no excuses. That's really what's key, because when you gotta write a thank you note, you really just gotta write it. The person who did a nice thing for you, for which you're supposed to send thanks, doesn't care if you have cards on standby or not. They just want to be acknowledged. So, just make it easy on yourself to do that.

Leah: Yeah. I've also in the past, toiled that, "Oh, what is how I say it sounds stupid or cheesy?" They'll appreciate it. Whatever you have to say is great.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, well that just comes down to - don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: But that's a whole other conversation.

Leah: I just wanted to acknowledge feeling anxiety about it and ...

Nick: Right. But for everybody out there, just have some cards and stamps, and life will be great. Our next question is: "I have a neighbor who doesn't let me know whether what they want is for good or evil and simply texts me, "Are you home?" I think it's an etiquette faux pas to put people in that position. If I say, "Yes, I'm home," then I have to wait to hear what it is you want and then have to say something like, "No, I can't walk your dog." Then I have to feel like I have to give a reason.

I personally never ask someone if they're home, or if they're free, or whatever before saying why I'm contacting them. It is so much more respectful to just state up front: "Hey, I wanna ask you for a favor, which is ...," or "Hi, I have this specific thing to give you. Are you available now?" Then ask if or when the person is available or can do the thing. It gives people an out for whatever reason they may have. In addition to making me slightly anxious and annoyed, it wastes time. How do you feel about this?" Yeah, I don't love this.

Leah: I don't not only ... I think we had two questions in this that are my issues. The soup into the condiments-

Nick: Uh-huh, yeah!

Leah: -and this one. This happens to me at least once a week.

Nick: This is very common. Yeah. This is-

Leah: And it drives me insane!

Nick: Because it's a trap.

Leah: It's a trap! Happens to me a lot with comedy. People'll be like, "What are you doing Tuesday?"

Nick: Ugh!

Leah: They're dangling possible work, but it also could be complete garbage!

Nick: Right. "Yeah, are you free to do this unpaid thing that's incredibly inconvenient?"

Leah: Or horrible-

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: -or just something you would never ... You know what I mean? Then, you're like, "What's the question?"

Nick: Yeah. Because why this is an etiquette crime is that it forces you to come up with a vague response that is noncommittal to find out what we're talking about; like, "Oh, I'm not sure what my Friday's like."

Leah: Yeah, and I don't want to have to lie!

Nick: Or, "I'm home, but I'm in the middle of something, I think ..." It's just, what are we talking about?

Leah: I've started getting better because this is another one that just ... You know, I get so worked up. You know me.

Nick: [Giggling] Mm-hmm.

Leah: I mean, you basically have to say some version of, "Why, what's up?"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess you would just say that ... Don't actually answer the question about availability or interest, and just respond with, "Tell me more."

Leah: Yeah because I'm not going to make something up. I need to know what the rest ... You obviously haven't given me all of the question yet, and you know that you haven't.

Nick: Yeah. Although, in my experience, you're not because you know whatever it is is not good.

Leah: Yeah. 90 percent of the time.

Nick: Yeah. It's never like, "Oh, are you free for free money?"

Leah: Yeah. [Giggling]

Nick: "Can I bring over some ice cream?" No.

Leah: "I have puppies outside that are so cute! I just wanted to see if you wanted to pet them and put outfits on them!" Oh yeah! I'm home then!

Nick: [Giggling] Right. Yeah. It's never that. No, it's, "Do you want to move a piano up my walk-up?" Yeah ...

Leah: I absolutely don't want to do it.

Nick: Right. So, it is rude, yeah, because it definitely corners people, and it's a trap, and it's a terrible feeling to be in that position. So, definitely don't do that. Yeah, that's a good PSA.

Leah: I think that you should feel comfortable saying, "Why, what's up?" or, like Nick said, "Tell me more!"

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Also, if they're ... If they always come over here, you're allowed to be in your home and not available.

Nick: Yeah, just because you're home doesn't mean you're free. Full stop.

Leah: So, you can say, "I'm home, but I'm not free."

Nick: Yeah, that's fair. Then, if they're like, "But I have hot pie ..."

Leah: Then you're like, "Oh, I'll be free in five minutes."

Nick: Right.

Leah: I've never texted anybody that. I'll be like, "Hey, there's this thing," and I say what the thing is. "It's Tuesday. Would you be interested?"

Nick: Yeah, I've never- I don't like putting people on the spot, and I always want to get people an out. I don't ever want anybody to feel obligated to do anything.

Leah: Yeah. I'll give people three outs: Are you interested? Are you available? You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You could be uninterested and not available. I'll give you 3,000 outs. I don't want to corner you.

Nick: That's very nice. So, do you feel cornered out there? Let us help! Send us your questions about corners, or-

Leah: Or feeling cornered!

Nick: You can send them to 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 call Vent or Repent.

Leah: [Singing Boldly] Vent or Repent!

Nick: This 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: You know, I feel like I always get to go first.

Nick: Okay, well ...

Leah: So, I just want to give you that opportunity.

Nick: Happy to. So, for me, I would like to vent.

Leah: Oh, yes!

Nick: So, I was out east this past weekend in the Hamptons, a place I know very well. It's where my journalism career really took off.

Leah: Hmm!

Nick: I was back there, as a house guest, with some friends. The Hamptons is ... It's a wondrous place. There's a lot that happens. I feel like the etiquette crimes that are committed in the Hamptons are elevated in a way not seen elsewhere.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: I was at Starbucks getting coffee, and I'm waiting for my order to be ready. This woman comes in, and she basically gets right into my face and is like, "Where are the capsules?" I hadn't had my coffee yet, so I found this a little confusing. I'm like, "Capsules?" "For my coffeemaker ... Where are the capsules?!" "Oh, I'm not sure. I'm sure one of these nice people would be able to assist you." "UGH! Then what are you here for then?"

Leah: [Gasping]

Nick: I was like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't work here.. And then, she was like, "Ugh! Fine!"

Leah: OHH-a!!

Nick: [Giggling] So, the problem was I was wearing a green plaid shirt, I guess she thought I worked there because I was wearing green plaid. No apology. No acknowledgment that there was a mix up. She just went on to go accost the rest of the staff for those capsules. PS. They don't sell 'em there.

Leah: Rude!

Nick: So, rude. [Giggling] So, rude! Yeah. I mean, I get it. I have confused people who I thought worked in a store because they were either standing in a certain way, or they were wearing the Best Buy khakis with polo. Sometimes, you make that mistake. This happens. But you apologize. You're like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I thought you worked here." That's it. That's the end of the nice etiquette experience. But to not take responsibility and she was so rude!

Leah: Oh, my word!

Nick: Even if I did work there, I would have been offended by this behavior.

Leah: Yeah, that's so offensive.

Nick: Yeah. Not a hello. Not a, "Oh, hello, do have capsules?" No, it was just like, "Where are the capsules?!" So, that's my vent.

Leah: [Gasping] Oh my goodness!

Nick: Mm-hmm. Hamptons! Love it.

Leah: I'm heated!

Nick: I love it. I love Southampton. Yep.

Leah: That's so rude!

Nick: For you?

Leah: Yours is much ruder.

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: Mine is just a general aggrievance.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: This happened to me twice in the past two weeks.

Nick: Ooh!

Leah: Oh if you are a business and I pay you money-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: -to use your services-

Nick: Uh-huh ...

Leah: -and you decide to somehow update or change your service and then you make me do the work to get you the money-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: -and in no way acknowledge that I'm now also using time, my time, to get you money, I hate you. That's how I feel.

Nick: I mean, was there just a change in the online bill pay for some service that you use?

Leah: No, it wasn't an online bill pay. It's so specific to what has been happening with two different companies, where they made an error ... They made errors, but then, to fix it, all these things had to be redone- rebooted.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Then, I had to read numbers back on all these things. Then, I had to call and wait ... On one of these calls, I waited 90 minutes on hold.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: For an error they made on their side!

Nick: Okay, so the general etiquette crime here is that they were not respectful of your time.

Leah: It's like, at least acknowledge that you made a mistake, and then I have to fix it from my end, and then I'm giving you money, yet I had to put in what ended up being hours!

Nick: Yeah, yeah, you're right. My vent was much better.

Leah: That's so hurtful!

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: Yours was better. The entire Were You Raised by Wolves family is going to Southampton, and we're looking for a woman that we have no physical description for - just a behavior - and we're just gonna find her.

Nick: Oh, you'll find her.

Leah: Yeah, we're going to find her.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: She's still looking for those capsules.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned- I'm shocked that elbows ... No elbows goes all the way back to Ecclesiastes!

Nick: Thousands of years we've been talking about it.

Leah: Unbelievable.

Nick: I learned: used condiments - don't give 'em to you.

Leah: No. I mean, offer. I may want them!

Nick: Oh, that's true. Yeah. Ask. I should just ask first. Don't force them upon you!

Leah: Especially after you've told me that they're bland.

Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

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

Leah: That he has ready!

Nick: It's ready to roll. It's on standby. Just waiting for your address. So, for your homework this week, you got all the homework. You've had a very light time in the past couple of weeks.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: So, this week I want you to buckle down. I want you to sign up for our newsletter, visit our website website, follow us on Instagram, join our Patreon, buy some merchandise, subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and tell some friends about us.

Leah: [Giggling] WOOOOOOO!

Nick: That's it. That's all I want you to do. That's it! We'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye.

Nick: Bye.

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: All right, Leah, it's time for Cordials of Kindness!

Leah: [Gasping]

Nick: The part of the show that you make us do, and I only give you 30 seconds to say nice things about something. Ready, set, go!

Leah: I would like to say a huge thank you to people who find things and return them.

Nick: Mmm!

Leah: This is an incredible group of people. Recently, a camera was lost, and a person found it and brought it back to the information center at the park.

Nick: Oh.

Leah: Then, we went to the park, and it was THERE!!

Nick: Wow.

Leah: Are you kidding me?

Nick: That doesn't happen.

Leah: Incredible!

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: For me, we got this lovely message through Instagram, and it's: " just started listening to your podcast not long ago. Where were you when I was figuring out life of my own? I just wanted to say that learning you have transcripts of each episode warms my cold, dead heart. I'm a sign language interpreter and being able to share your podcast with my bestie, who is deaf, is fabulous, and it makes me so happy to stumble across inclusiveness, when, so often, I find the opposite. All that to say thank you for being stellar!"

Leah: That's so nice.

Nick: That's so great! I'm really happy that people are using our transcripts, which we have on our website, so you can read them. It's nice that even deaf people can enjoy our show. That's really nice. So, thank you!

[Buzzer Sound]