Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle riding escalators in Osaka, being around people who don't like you, declining multi-level marketing solicitations, going through a stranger's pantry, buying gifts for real estate agents, wearing backpacks on subways, breaking rules on airplanes, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
THINGS MENTIONED DURING THE SHOW
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO...
Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Do you stand on the wrong side of the escalator? Do you go through other people's refrigerators? Do you wear your backpack on the subway? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?
Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton!
Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema!
Nick: We're in New York today, and let's just get right down to it.
Leah: Let's get in it!
Nick: Our amuse-bouche today is, in Osaka, what side of the escalator do you ride on?
Leah: In Osaka?
Nick: Osaka, Japan.
Leah: Oh, good. I thought you meant Osaka, California.
Leah: I feel like it's going to not be the same as it is here because you're asking ... ?
Nick: Well, have you been to Japan?
Nick: Okay. Do you know what side of the road they drive on in Japan?
Nick: Okay. So, they drive on the left side of the road.
Leah: Okay, so I'm going to say on the left side of the elevator- escalator. I'm so confused!
Nick: So, here's what's happening. In Osaka, you stand on the right side of the escalator, like we do here.
Leah: Oh ...
Nick: Why this is interesting is that, in Japan, most of the escalator writing is on the left because, in Japan, they drive on the left side of the road, and they kind of follow the whole 'we do the escalator thing like we do the road thing.' So, Tokyo, they're standing on the left; but Osaka, they stand on the right.
Nick: Right? So, there are some very interesting theories about this. The first theory, which I really love, is that, historically, the warriors lived in Tokyo, and the merchants live in Osaka. So, if you were a samurai, you had your sword on your left hip, and you didn't want to knock swords with other people, so you walked on the left side of the road. But merchants always have their bag on the right side, so they always walked on the right side of the road.
Leah: Oh, wow!
Nick: So, for this reason, this is why it's different. Although there were other cities in Japan that had merchants, and they don't have this right-left problem. So, not sure about this explanation-
Leah: I like that explanation.
Nick: It's a good one, though. I love anything that's samurai-based.
Leah: You need to!
Nick: Then, the other explanation was that I guess there was some department store in the '60s that was putting in an escalator, and they were noticing that most people did stand on the right because it does make sense ... Most people are right-handed, and if you're going to hang onto a railing, you'd probably do it with your right hand. So, it is natural to stand on the right side of an escalator. They noticed most people did this, so they had announcements in Osaka in this, I guess, department store telling people, "Stand on the right," so people just got in the habit.
Nick: Which is kind of interesting-
Leah: Very interesting!
Nick: It could be that. Also, in 1970, there was something called Expo '70 in Osaka, which was like a world's fair, which had tons of foreigners coming. So, I imagine that made most people stand on the right side of an escalator-
Leah: Because everybody was doing it.
Leah: Very interesting!
Nick: The most likely explanation is Osaka just likes to be a little different.
Nick: They just want to not be Tokyo.
Leah: We're doing our own rules.
Nick: We do it our own way. So, that might be the most reasonable explanation ... The real answer to this question is that it's a trick question, because, according to the Japan Elevator Association, which was formed to, "Ensure that elevators and escalators can fulfill their vital mission and responsibilities to society ..."
Leah: This is fantastic.
Nick: They say that passing is dangerous, and you shouldn't do it.
Leah: Oh, wow.
Nick: You should stand on either side because nobody should be moving on an escalator.
Nick: Stand wherever you want; hang on to whatever handrail you want.
Leah: That seems unruly!
Nick: Because you are just standing on an escalator. You're never walking on an escalator.
Leah: Oh, my goodness!
Nick: Right! So, at the end of the day, just do whatever the person in front of you did.
Leah: Do you think outside of New York, people are walking on escalators?
Nick: I mean, I always do, but I'm hardwired that way.
Leah: Yeah, but I mean, I don't know what I did ... Did I take escalators before I was in New York?
Nick: Oh, I don't know! What was your life like, pre-New York escalator?
Leah: I feel like it was stairs.
Nick: It was mostly stairs. Yeah, I mean, in San Francisco, we didn't have escalators, really, but [crosstalk] big mall had them-
Leah: -if you come to New York, there's a walking side of the escalator because just moving stairs is not enough for New Yorkers.
Leah: We gotta double-time it.
Nick: There was a study that was done recently that showed that it is more efficient, in terms of moving people, if everyone does just stand, because then you can have more people stand on each step going up the escalator. This enraged New Yorkers because it's like, yes, on the whole, more people will move up an escalator per minute, but it's taking me, personally, longer ... [Laughing]
Leah: We are a horrible people.
Nick: So, I will still get up faster, if I'm allowed to walk. So, please let me do that, yeah ...
Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Leah: I've been looking forward to this question.
Nick: Have you?!
Nick: So, our question of etiquette today is: what do you do if you're at a party, and there's someone there you don't like or who doesn't like you?
Leah: I'm really looking forward to this.
Nick: Ughh!!! So, this happens.
Leah: It does.
Nick: This happens.
Nick: I think this is one of the number-one anxieties people have about going to parties is running into people that they don't like or who they know don't like them. What do you do?
Leah: I was really looking forward to your answer on this because I feel [crosstalk]
Nick: You've felt this. You've had this happen-
Leah: I feel like you're going to shed some light on this because I think we feel differently about people not liking us.
Nick: Oh! I believe that is true. Yes. It will come as a shock to our audience that there are people out there who don't like me.
Leah: I'm shocked.
Nick: It is shocking. How is this possible?
Leah: I don't know.
Nick: I am delightful!
Leah: You are delightful!
Nick: However, there are plenty a people who don't like me, and I am in a very good place with that because I don't take it personally (anymore) and I just ... I'm not for everybody. I realize that I am very specific. I'm a specific taste, and you either like it or you don't. If you don't like it, that's fine. It's just you don't like that taste. It's like people who don't like ... What's a food that people don't like? It's like cilantro. Some people just don't like it [crosstalk]
Leah: Cilantro's a weird choice because I think some people actually have DNA where it tastes weird to them.
Nick: Same thing for me!
Nick: Some people, in their DNA, they have a genetic mutation that makes them not like me, and that's okay. So, yes, I think step one, if possible, is to just accept that not everyone is going to like you.
Leah: I also think that you're more comfortable with not liking people.
Nick: Oh, very comfortable with that!
Leah: Because I feel obligated to like everybody.
Nick: Oh, I do not feel bad, at all!
Leah: Which seems so freeing!
Nick: It's very liberating, sure. Oh, yeah, I feel zero obligation to like everybody. That must be exhausting!
Leah: I'm exhausted.
Nick: How do you go through the day? That is so much bandwidth!
Leah: I know.
Nick: Because not everyone's gonna like you back, so now you're spending all your time trying to get people to like you?
Leah: No, you just have to keep liking them.
Nick: Oh! This is no way to live! Yeah, so-
Leah: That's why I was so excited for this question.
Nick: Yeah, but, I mean, what do I say? "Be a different person. Stop being this way!"
Nick: I can't help you with that.
Leah: No, I was excited to hear you.
Nick: Yeah, for me, I don't like people not liking me. I'm not thrilled by this scenario. I would prefer people to at least tolerate me. I don't want active hatred. I don't want that-
Leah: Are people actively doing that in parties? I mean, who behaves that way?
Nick: Oh, no ... I mean, people do. I've seen television. But, yeah, I guess, in general, if you can get to a place where you are comfortable with people not liking you as just a base reality for your existence, that would go a long way to helping you at a party, where you then are going to run into this person.
Nick: So, I don't know how to help you get to that nice psychological place, but I think - fake it til you make it.
Nick: The advice here is you want to just have poise, and grace. Step one, at this party - do not pretend like you do not see them.
Nick: I think, step one, you cannot avoid them. This is impossible, and that actually makes things awkward and rude.
Leah: This is somebody who doesn't like you, or you don't like them, or both?
Nick: Either way. If there's a weird tension between you, I think you have to just acknowledge this person. "Oh, hey, Lisa. Nice to see you," and you have to say this in a very neutral way.
Nick: Or enthusiastically! You are not required to be sincere at all. Sincerity is not required in etiquette. You, I think, just want to just be friendly, and nice, and polite, and professional, and that's good. I think, if there are other people there ... "Oh, Lisa, this is Chad. Chad, Lisa; I used to work with Lisa." Fine, or, "Lisa, and I know each other from way back." Fine. No editorializing; no reason for why we're awkward; none of that.
Nick: In fact, the best outcome is for nobody around to know that something is weird-
Nick: -if you can handle that. This is hard. This is varsity level; but this is what we want to try to achieve. We don't want to bring up any of the past.
Leah: Oh, of course not.
Nick: This is not that occasion. If they bring up the past, I think you want to try and shut it down in a polite way; be like, "Oh, no need to bring up the past." I think you could say that.
Nick: "Oh, now is not the right time," and leave it there.
Nick: Also, I don't think you need a long conversation with this person.
Leah: You just keep it moving.
Nick: Keep it moving, yeah. Does this feel satisfying?
Leah: No, I mean, I feel like I behave that way in places where there's been something between me and another person. I'm polite, and we do that.
Leah: I think the idea that I find so exciting is the idea of knowing that you could not like somebody and not feel like you have to make yourself like them.
Nick: Oh, that's what you are confused by?
Leah: Not confused, just [crosstalk] that you could just be, "Oh, we're fine. We don't get along, and that's fine, and we'll still be polite." That that's okay.
Nick: That is okay. Yes.
Leah: I just find that idea very exciting.
Nick: Yes. I mean, I think it is okay, and I think, in our travels, you have to be okay with that if you want to survive in society.
Nick: Because there are people that have done me wrong; there are people who've done bad things, and they know they did bad things, and this is why we are no longer friends.
Nick: But we're in the same friend circle.
Nick: So, I'm not going to make it awkward on my host and be like, "Oh, you can't invite Lisa ..."
Leah: And then, also not have nervous tummy about it. Just be like, "Oh, this happens."
Nick: This happens. Yeah. I do think that living well is the best revenge, and I do think being poised, and sort of being calm about it, and not being ruffled, and signaling that you're not being ruffled by the presence of the other person is very empowering. It is disarming for the other person. They're like, "Oh, he's remarkably cool about me being here. Why is he so polite and nice?" That's actually better revenge than making a scene.
Leah: Oh, I would never make a scene! I'm always polite and nice.
Nick: Yeah, so what's the problem?
Leah: Oh, just the idea that you'd be like, "Yeah, I don't like this person ..." [Laughing]
Nick: I mean, I think that goes outside of the scope of this show.
Leah: Oh, it does, but I just love that idea.
Nick: Yeah, and I think with [crosstalk]
Leah: That just seems wild to me!
Nick: Yeah. I mean, it's taken practice, but I'm pretty good at it. Yeah.
Leah: Or that person doesn't like me without them wanting to fix it.
Nick: Yeah [crosstalk] I don't feel I need to fix it.
Leah: -I've always wanted to be like, "I should fix this ..."
Nick: Well, I think if you are in a place of: "The reason why this person doesn't like me is something that I cannot control," then there's nothing to fix.
Leah: No, that's ... That's absolutely correct, and that's what's-
Leah: Yeah, mind-blowing.
Nick: If there was something to fix, and you valued the relationship, then you would fix it.
Leah: Oh, yeah, I'm not talking about that- that kind ... Because then that's when you make an effort. I'm talking about the ones where it's out of your control, and you still feel like you should fix it.
Leah: Obviously, we don't have to do that. We just be polite.
Nick: Yeah, we're just polite. Just smile and just move on, yeah.
Nick: But I think two related questions that do come up with this topic ... One is do not make it awkward for other people in the room. So, when you're awkward with somebody at a party, it can make other people walk on eggshells, and it makes their night sort of not as nice as it could have been. So, we do not want to make situations awkward for other guests.
Nick: So, the cooler you are and the more sort of relaxed you are about it, the more everyone else will be at ease, and I think that's very nice-
Leah: I think so, too.
Nick: We want to try and do that. The second thing is never put your host in the position of having to choose between guests because of your beef with somebody. So, like, "Oh, my ex-wife is gonna be here. I won't go if she's gonna be there." If your host has invited both of you, then do not force your host to choose.
Leah: Yeah, just everyone get along.
Nick: Everyone can be an adult and get along, yes.
Leah: You just have to get along for an hour.
Nick: Can you do that? Yes, please, just to do that. Then, relatedly, it is not polite to ask a host who else is invited, when you're invited to a party.
Leah: I've had people do that to me, and I always found it very weird.
Nick: So, there is, I think, a very bright line between whether or not you've accepted the invitation or not. Pre-acceptance of the invitation, you cannot ask who the other guests are. That is rude because it sounds like your acceptance is conditional on who else is going.
Leah: It really does!
Nick: That is rude. After you've accepted the invitation, I think you could ask, as long as it's said with enthusiasm about like, "Oh, I'm so excited for your cocktail party. Who else is going? Tell me about the hors d'oeurves. Tell me more details!" I think that's fine, if it's in that world.
Leah: Also, sometimes, you want to know if one of your friends is going because you wanted to talk to that friend about it. Maybe you drive over together, but you don't want to ask, if they weren't invited.
Nick: Oh, sure, sure. Yeah.
Leah: So, there's logistical questions; but what you were saying about asking ... I've had people ask me before they've accepted-
Nick: That is rude.
Leah: -and I'll be like, "Why are you asking?"
Nick: That feels rude, yeah. Because it's like, well, based on the answer to that question, then you'll decide if you want to go, and that's rude.
Leah: Yeah, it's weird.
Nick: Yeah. So, at the end of the day, I guess just know that not everyone's going to like you, and that's okay.
Leah: And that is okay.
Nick: And that you do always have to see people again, which I think is also, relatedly, a good reason to try and end relationships, even when they're ending, in a nice way, because you do run into people again. If you've sort of ended something in a adult, polite way - when possible - then, when you see them again, it's less awkward.
Nick: Whereas, when you burn bridges, or things end very badly and maybe not as polite as they could have, then it does make it more difficult to run into people again.
Leah: Yeah, I could imagine.
Nick: Another reason to be polite.
Leah: Yeah! I think polite is always good.
Nick: Yeah, is there a reason why polite isn't good? Maybe with telemarketers.
Leah: I mean, I'm still polite.
Leah: "Oooh, no, thank you so much!" Click.
Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from the wilderness ...
Nick: Aww, where'd the howl go?
Leah: I don't know, I was sort of maybe judged a little bit, last time?
Leah: My enthusiasm for it-
Leah: So, now we see ...
Nick: We're going to have to do a listener survey to see if we should bring back the howl.
Leah: No. What if they say no? I'd be crushed!
Nick: Oh ... #BringBackTheHowl.
Nick: All right, well, our first question ... [Petite howl] Was that good? That good?
Leah: Oh! That was almost an owl. [Laughing]
Nick: Is that an owl? Yeah, I don't do the howl thing." No.
Leah: I liked that, though. It was a beautiful owl [crosstalk]
Nick: [Distant howling] That good?
Leah: Oooh! That's-
Nick: Is that better?
Leah: That's like a far-away wolf.
Nick: Yes. I'm in the distance.
Nick: So, our ... I'm so sorry, audience. Our first question: "I have more and more acquaintances, and friends who are inviting me to direct-sell/multi-level-marketing parties - vitamins, jewelry, oils. I abhor these! I hate monetizing of friendships. I feel like most of these companies leave women in a worse place financially than when they started. I have taken a just telling them, "Thanks for thinking of me, but as a rule, I don't attend these types of parties, but I wish you luck." I feel like I'm being almost honest - I hold back the lecture - but am I being rude? Am I oversensitive in my monetizing-friendship view of the whole thing?" So, first, let's just explain what multi-level marketing is.
Leah: I think what the most generic term is like a Tupperware party.
Nick: Tupperware party; Arbonne; Mary Kay, Avon, Cutco ... I think it's global though, so I don't think there's actually probably a place in the world where this type of thing doesn't happen.
Leah: Yeah. You bring your friends over to your house, and be like, "Hey, there's this product that ... You guys wanna test it out ...," and then you buy from that person.
Nick: Right. I guess why it's sort of a pyramid scheme is that you also try and get people to sell, as well.
Nick: Then, everything that they sell, you get a little cut of that.
Nick: Then it kind of goes up the pyramid to whoever is really making the big bucks.
Nick: I think the issue here is that there is a difference between business etiquette and social etiquette. The reason why so many of these multilevel-marketing things are successful is that they pretend to be social invitations, when they're really not. It's a bait-and-switch. It is turning our friendship into a business opportunity, and I think that is a problem.
Leah: I have some friends that love going to these.
Nick: Love going to them?
Leah: Yeah, they do. It's like an event, where they know they're going to see a lot of their girlfriends.
Nick: Oh, okay.
Leah: And they like whatever the item is.
Nick: Oh, yeah. I mean, if you want to buy the Cutco knives, that's great.
Leah: I definitely have friends that enjoy them.
Nick: I will say I have been to Tupperware parties, and I actually do like Tupperware, as a product - registered trademark - and I do enjoy certain of their containers. They have a cake carrier that's really good. Highly recommend it. Also, the cupcake carrier, great product. So, if you want one of these things, I think you can buy them online, now, but it is more fun to do it in a Tupperware party setting. Okay.
Leah: I also think that, sometimes, people don't get to see all their friends in one sitting, so it's like an event where you get to see people and catch up.
Leah: So, I think that if you're the kind of person that enjoys it, have at it.
Nick: Great, yeah, there's no problem.
Leah: But if you're not the kind of person to enjoy it, then you definitely don't have to go.
Nick: You definitely don't have to go. I think our letter-writer wants to know how to decline. I think the best way to do it, which is what Miss Manners has said - because people have written her about this many, many times - and she just says, "Treat it like you would any other business offer and just say, "Thank you, but I'm not interested," and that's it. That does feel very stark, I know. You would really have a hard time saying this.
Leah: Yeah. Oh, I absolutely would.
Nick: Or, "Thanks, but it's not for me." Could you say that?
Leah: Um, you know, I want to say that I could say that-
Nick: Let's say it together. Let's try saying it together. [In unison] "Thanks, but it's not for me." That felt good!
Leah: I know, but I want to support people in their endeavors. I mean, is this a situation where we're just busy?
Nick: I don't like making excuses like that, and here's why: in the multi-level-marketing situation, they have training. There's handbooks, there's webinars they can watch. They have sales techniques, and they practice overcoming objections. So, being busy is an objection that I'm sure they have an answer for. "Well, then, when are you free? When are you not busy?
Leah: You're right.
Nick: "Let's do it then!"
Leah: So, "Thanks, but it's not for me ..." Can, then, I add, "All the best."
Nick: Definitely. "All the best; I will send people your way who I think might be interested."
Leah: I like that.
Nick: "I would love to still grab coffee with you, when you're off duty."
Leah: I like those because I would need to have another sentence after that just to-
Nick: Sure. Yeah, Miss Manners does tend to leave things a little colder than we might otherwise.
Leah: I want to throw a sentence in because I want my friend to- I want to support them in their endeavors.
Nick: Yeah, and that's fair, but I think if you leave it vague, and you leave the door open, then we're going to have a future invitations.
Leah: You're absolutely right.
Nick: And you don't want that. But I do not think we want to editorialize. I do not think we want to call them 'these types of parties,' and I don't think we want to lecture. So, I think those things would kind of venture into the world of rude.
Leah: So, you're telling our letter-writer to switch that wording out a little bit?
Nick: I would just say, "Thank you, but it's not for me." End it there, or we can continue with some supportive words that are not a lecture-
Leah: But the letter-writer doesn't feel though supportive words, so that's why that would [crosstalk]
Nick: Well, but, she doesn't have to be sincere. That's fine. We do not need sincerity from her, but I don't think we want her lecturing about how these companies, "Leave women in a worse place financially," which is not necessarily true. I mean, people do make money at this.
Leah: I don't think it's bad to say, "As a rule, I don't often attend, but I wish you luck."
Nick: That sounds a little judgy. That is not a value-neutral statement.
Leah: No, but I think she feels judgy.
Nick: Well, right! She is judging.
Nick: Right, but I think she's asking us what is the polite thing to do here, right?
Leah: The polite thing to do is to not be sincere.
Nick: No, she's also welcome to be judgy.
Nick: No problem. Go for it. That's fine. Does not affect my life at all. But if she's asking us if that's polite or not, I'm going to say no.
Nick: Our next question is: [Laughing] "I recently had a gathering at my apartment that was advertised as a drop-in for anyone who wanted to go together to a separate football tailgate later. Although the idea was really just a chance to have a drink before going to the tailgate, I made quiche, banana bread, and put out some fruit. One of the invited guests brought another friend with her, and I had met this person before, and they asked if it was okay to bring her, so no big deal. However, when this other person arrived, she came up to me and told me that she was allergic to tomatoes, which I'd put in the quiche and wanted to know if she could have a slice of bread or something else. I was a little taken aback since this wasn't advertised as a meal, and we were going to be going to the tailgate where there was going to be a lot of food around. But I brought her over to the fridge, and pointed things out, and said something like, 'Sure, help yourself to whatever,' because, at this point, I had 10 other guests in my apartment, and I couldn't supervise this process. She proceeded to go through my entire fridge, including cracking into unopened jars and opening new bags of chips that were in the pantry. I perceived this as rude and disruptive to the other guests, but I'm wondering whether my 'help yourself' response invited this and whether I should have said something different." Well!
Leah: I mean ...
Nick: I mean!
Leah: I mean!
Nick: Sooo, this was rude.
Leah: This was definitely rude.
Nick: This was rude, yeah.
Leah: We are verifying.
Leah: You have had a rude encounter.
Nick: Encounter ... An etiquette crime has been committed.
Leah: Also, as always, the person is blaming themself.
Nick: There is some self-blame here, yeah. I don't know if she could've really done anything different.
Leah: Also, you know, we're always shocked in a situation, where-
Leah: -well, how would you have guessed that somebody would go into your pantry and crack open ... That wasn't on the table!
Nick: Right. Yeah.
Leah: How would you have known?!
Nick: Yeah, I mean, "I just need some bread or something ... or everything in your pantry ..."
Leah: "Or everything you own!"
Leah: Also, there was bread. What happened to the banana bread?
Nick: Yeah. No tomatoes in the banana bread.
Leah: I mean, obviously, this person is- has gone rogue.
Nick: Yeah, yeah.
Leah: You couldn't have guessed.
Nick: She saw an opening, and she took it. Yeah. Well, I don't know what else to say. Was there something differently she could have done? I guess she could have been more specific in the, "I have X, Y, Z available. Here's where it is." So, the, "Help yourself to whatever" was broad.
Leah: We just never would have been able to guess that a person would do that.
Nick: Who could have guessed!? Who could have guessed that the bag of unopened chips deep in the pantry was gonna be on offer? But I guess you could've been more specific, like, "Oh, there's some bread here, and if you want some butter with it, that's here." That could have been a little more focused and narrow.
Leah: I guess you could also say, "This is all I have out, but there's gonna be food at the football game."
Nick: That, I think, could also have been fine, yes. Lie, "Oh, this is what I'm serving, right now, but in 45 minutes, there's gonna be X, Y, Z." Yeah.
Leah: Obviously, you never could have guessed that a person could behave this way, so moving forward-
Nick: It is surprising.
Leah: Yeah, it's very surprising!
Nick: Well, moving forward, I don't think this really happens all the time, so-
Leah: No, but if you want to guard yourself against rogue humans ... I don't know what word we're gonna use.
Nick: Yeah, rogue is good; other than asking for the dietary requirements of all your guests, and their guest plus-ones-
Leah: Which is like [crosstalk] You were just doing something kind. You're giving people small snacks, a place to meet up.
Leah: Then somebody was like, "Hey ..."
Nick: No good deed goes unpunished.
Leah: Yeah! So this is-
Nick: Yeah. I guess this person probably is not welcome back in your home.
Leah: You think- they could've had a piece of fruit! That doesn't have tomatoes in it!
Nick: Yeah. Why did we need to carbohydrate?
Leah: I think this person is just this way.
Nick: Yeah, like what you were offering wasn't good enough, so what else do you got? Yeah.
Leah: They just want to take everything.
Leah: They probably took a bar of soap!
Nick: [Laughing] Yeah, check your medicine cabinet. Everything still in there?
Leah: But I think, in the future, if you don't want people ... Maybe don't open the fridge.
Nick: Yeah, but we're blaming our letter-writer, then.
Leah: No, I'm not blaming the letter-writer. I'm saying if people are going to go so far out of bounds, do we have to put up walls in advance?
Nick: A lock on our fridge.
Leah: You know what I mean?
Leah: I'm not blaming the letter-writer at all because I ... This letter-writer's just being lovely.
Nick: But as a reminder to everyone who may need a reminder, we don't go through people's pantry, and fridges, and help ourselves without permission.
Leah: If they say, "Help yourself to anything," they don't mean open things that are not opened!
Nick: New things are definitely off limits. I think, use your judgment as to whether or not the thing you're about to take feels like the thing you should eat. If there's one piece of birthday cake in the fridge, should you eat that?
Leah: Also, if it's like you're a guest of the guest ...
Leah: You're not even the guest!
Nick: You should be on your best behavior.
Leah: If I was at my close friend's house and there was a jar of pickle that was closed, and they said to me, "Take whatever you want," and I knew them that way, that I knew ... Then I would say, "Hey, can I open these pickles?"
Nick: Right. But, yeah, to just go in, unprompted ...
Leah: It really feels egregious.
Nick: Egregious. What a soft way to put it. Our next question is-
Leah: Really quick, I just want to say to the letter-writer, you're perfect.
Nick: You're great!
Leah: You were doing such nice stuff.
Nick: We would love your banana bread recipe.
Leah: You don't have to do anything different.
Nick: No. Just don't go changing. And who won the game?
Leah: Who played the game?
Nick: What sport was it? I guess football-
Nick: Okay [Laughing] Our next question is: "My boyfriend and I are in the process of buying our first home." Congratulations. "Our realtor has spent a good amount of time with us, but overall, we've had a mediocre experience. Things have not always been explained clearly. There's been pushback on offers we've wanted to make, et cetera. Is it the expectation that we will give her a gift at the time of closing? I can't find a consistent answer. If so, what would an appropriate gift be?" Leah?
Leah: Um, don't they get like 10 percent?
Nick: Yeah. So, two things are- well, a couple things I find confusing about this question. One, you can't find a consistent answer? That is interesting, because no, you do not have to give a gift to your realtor. That is relatively unusual. If anything, your realtor will give you a gift at closing. That is the more likely experience. Now, it is true, some people do want to buy their real estate person a gift, and that is okay. Your real estate agent would be delighted to receive a gift from you at the closing, and especially if they've gone above and beyond for you; they really made the deal happen; you like them; et cetera, et cetera. But I think you are not obligated to give your real estate person a gift at the closing. If you want to give them a gift, then presumably you know them well enough, at this point in your house-buying journey, to know what you should buy them. But if not, I think, bottle of wine; gift certificate to a local restaurant; engraved business-card case ... I think all of those would be fine.
Leah: Obviously, this person doesn't even want to give them a gift because they weren't happy with it-
Nick: No, no. It feels like the real estate agent's probably hinting about what gift they were supposed a buy them at the closing.
Leah: In which case ...
Nick: Definitely not. I mean, why real estate agents give gifts at closing is it's sort of tradition, I guess, a little bit, but also, "I want referrals from you. I want you to tell other people. I want your future business. I want you to remember me fondly." It's a business thing, almost.
Nick: It's a tax-deductible expense, that closing gift. That's why they do it. I guess that's cynical, but I think it's also true. But, yeah, you do not have to give a gift, no. So, there's that.
Leah: Because I'd never heard that.
Nick: It is unusual, yeah; although, I'm sure real estate agents are trying to perpetuate this rumor that they should get gifts at closings-
Leah: You could always write a thank you card.
Nick: Thank you note is very nice, yes. I think a lot of real estate agents do genuinely like to see the place after you moved in to see what you've done with it. So, I think it's nice to invite them over for tea. Just be like, "Oh, there's what we did. These are the changes we made." I think that's nice.
Leah: That is nice.
Nick: But I think, also, you're under no obligation to stay in touch with them, especially if they didn't do a great job.
Nick: Yeah. So, hopefully, we've done a good job for you with these questions!
Leah: Oh, my goodness!
Nick: Send us more questions, please-
Nick: Send them to us through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com. You can leave us a voicemail; send us a text message; you can slip into our DMs on Instagram, or how else? Oh, you write us-write us!
Leah: Yeah, you could!
Nick: A regular old letter.
Leah: You could write us a letter!
Nick: We have an actual physical address on our website. Oh, that would be so nice to get mail.
Leah: Yes, and we could see your handwriting!
Nick: Yeah, so do that, please. There's more after the break.
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 thing that's happened to us recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, I always make you go first.
Nick: I- I'm ready to go.
Leah: Do it!
Nick: So, let's just talk about people who wear their backpack on the subway.
Leah: Oh ... Oh!
Nick: Why are you doing this?
Leah: Who are you?
Nick: Why are you ...? Why is this okay?
Leah: You know I did a whole Instagram series of people wearing their backpacks?
Nick: You just did a photo series?
Leah: Yes, I was so angry!
Nick: I mean, it's so rude! You were taking a triple the space. It's not even double.
Leah: You don't even realize how many people you're hitting.
Nick: And you are never stationary, so you actually have an arc. There is a 180-degree arc of swing that you have now cleared around you. It is so rude! I actually took a picture of the subway, yesterday, because there was four backpacks around me. I actually couldn't take a good picture of it because it was so tight. There was- it's just a black photo of nylon, yeah.
Leah: It's really unbelievable.
Nick: It's unbelievable! So, what you should do- because maybe people don't know what they should do. Maybe they don't know!
Nick: So, I'm going to tell you what you're supposed to do. You take it off, and you put it between your legs. You bring it down to the floor. If your backpack is so precious that you do not want it touching a subway floor, no problem. Rest it on the top of your shoes.
Nick: We do that, and now we have created 20 more square feet of space!
Leah: Sometimes, I'll just hang my arm down-
Nick: Hanging it down is fine.
Leah: You don't want it to touch your shoes, or the floor, you just hang it down on your arm-
Nick: You could do that, yeah. Now, we also do this for large purses, shopping bags, messenger bags; any sort of totable item that is taking up space to your sides, or behind you, we want to put down below.
Leah: This is such a great one. It really blows my mind.
Nick: Yeah, it blows my mind because it's so obvious. We have all been affected by this, so it's not like we don't know this has happened to us. We know! We know what happens when you wear a backpack, and yet we do it anyway. So, that's my vent - don't do that, right?!
Leah: That's a great one. That's a great one.
Nick: Solid. Classic. Classic vent! Yeah. All right, what do you got, Leah?
Leah: I was telling Nick earlier that I usually have so many, "Why has this happened?" In the past couple weeks, I haven't felt that way.
Nick: Well, you've been in California. You just been living the nice life. All that avocado toast. Great weather.
Leah: Anytime people are weird, I'd be like, "Whatever ..."
Nick: Wow! But now you're back in New York for a couple days, so what do you got?
Leah: I feel like I should have been writing them down. I do have something that's a Repent, but I'm almost too embarrassed because I know that people at home will be angry at me.
Nick: [Gasping] Well, now I kinda wanna hear it!
Leah: I know that what I did was wrong.
Nick: Well, that's what Repents are.
Leah: But I actually don't feel repentative about it. I would have fixed it in the situation.
Nick: So, are you going to repent for not being guilty about it?
Leah: I guess that's what I'll repent, right?
Nick: Right? You're repenting for not feeling sorry.
Leah: Okay. I'm just going to have to own what I did.
Nick: Let's do it. Let's do it.
Leah: So, I did this thing that I normally would never do-
Nick: All right, tell us.
Leah: I check a bag-
Nick: When we're flying on an airplane.
Leah: -when we're flying.
Leah: Obviously, I think it's ridiculous that the airplanes are like, "We're gonna charge you for that," and then everybody's gonna try to stick everything into their carry-on, and then we're gonna run out of space, and then we're gonna have to put it underneath, anyway, and you slow down the boarding process. It seems obscene to me.
Leah: That being said, I always- I carry on a soft duffle with me-
Leah: -and because all the upper space is being now taken up with the actual luggage-
Leah: -they want soft space underneath the seat. So, I've grown very weary of the fact that I am checking my hard bag because I know it's going to run out of space, and I'm paying that extra money, and then, I'm forced to have no leg room because I checked in advance.
Nick: Wait, let me just break this down. You have a hard-sided case that you check.
Leah: I check.
Nick: Now, we have a soft case, but there is no room in the overhead bin for this, so it's forced to go in the-
Leah: Oh, there's room. People say, "If it's soft, it goes under your chair."
Nick: Oh, so you are following the "rules."
Leah: I've been following the rules this whole time.
Nick: Oh, well, that's your first mistake.
Leah: Well, I'm a rule-follower.
Nick: Okay. [Giggling]
Leah: So, I didn't follow the rules this time.
Leah: I put my soft duffle up there.
Nick: Okay, so it would have fit under the seat in front of you?
Nick: But you're like, "I'm not gonna ..."
Leah: I was like, "Why do you guys get that space, when I checked, and I have another bag!" I have a personal item-
Nick: I see.
Leah: I'm always smooshing them both under there to make sure everybody else's needs are met.
Leah: I was like, this is a cross-country flight. I want to stick my legs out. I checked a bag so I could stick my legs out. I'm sticking it in the corner. You can smoosh it if you want to, but I'm leaving it up there!
Leah: And I left it up there!
Nick: So, this is the- this is the thing we're not sorry about?
Leah: Yeah, I didn't follow the rules!
Nick: I mean ... Okay. This is pretty mild.
Leah: [Laughing] For me, it felt huge.
Nick: This feels like-
Leah: I saw a girl eyeball it, and I was like, "I'm not gonna move it; I'm not gonna move it; I'm not gonna move it!"
Nick: I can't believe we just wasted our audience's time with this.
Leah: No! I think they would understand why I felt very, very torn!
Nick: Here's the thing, though.
Nick: I do not believe the fact that you checked one bag gives you a free pass to your second bag.
Leah: What do you mean?
Nick: This feels irrelevant; the fact that you checked one bag doesn't mean you're not obligated-
Leah: I'm saying these people should've been checking their bags!
Leah: These are bags that are clearly checked bags-
Leah: They're smooshing it into this overhead space because the airlines have created these ridiculous rules.
Leah: So, then regular-sized bags, people are like, "You know what? You could find a way to shove that under your seat."
Nick: So the rule-followers do get punished, yeah.
Leah: Yeah, the rule-followers are getting punished!
Nick: Well, I will say there are certain airlines who do not enforce the bag-size rules, I find, on the times I've flown, and they allow a lot of clearly-would-not-fit-in-that-little-template-thing-near-the-boarding-gate bags go on. It does make the rest of us, who have the IATA-official-this-will-always-fit-in-every-airline-overhead-bin-across-the-world-sized bag run out of space-
Nick: -and I feel like that is rude [crosstalk]
Leah: I'm being punished as a rule-follower.
Nick: Okay, I'm sorry.
Leah: Usually, I just accept it as continuing the rule-following, and this time I was like, "No!"
Nick: Well, that'll teach you!
Leah: I felt wild! If I felt wild!
Nick: Okay, well ... Good for you.
Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned a lot.
Leah: I learned about Osaka.
Leah: Which I think is so cool to know.
Nick: It's something that will come up for you, someday.
Leah: Yeah, it's really interesting.
Leah: The idea that there's a city that's doing something completely different.
Leah: I love it!
Nick: They're scofflaws.
Leah: They're just-
Nick: Well, they're the-
Leah: I'm expanding my horizon.
Nick: They are the rule-breakers like you are.
Leah: Oh! [Squealing]
Nick: I learned that about you that, on an airplane, you're not gonna follow the rules. You're gonna do it your own way.
Leah: I really felt wild!
Nick: You're not gonna feel sorry about it. Yeah ...
Leah: I mean, I fought feeling sorry.
Leah: But I kept it up there.
Nick: Okay ...
Leah: I also learned that there are people out there that will open jars in your fridge.
Nick: Yeah! Oh, I learned that, too, yeah! There are people out there that feel just totally free!
Leah: I had to reread that question because I couldn't believe what I was reading.
Nick: Yeah. An etiquette crime was committed!
Leah: Big time!
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 stationery. And I would [crosstalk]
Leah: He would, too, and he has very nice handwriting!
Nick: Oh, do I? Oh, thank you.
Nick: I appreciate that. Well, if you want to see it, you know what to do.
Leah: You know what to do!
Nick: And please subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram, and visit our website, and all sorts of other things!
Leah: Nick's now doing surveys on Instagram.
Nick: Yeah! I want to know what people think!
Leah: I love it.
Nick: And, I want you to become members!
Nick: This is a new thing we're doing.
Leah: It's very exciting.
Nick: We have a Patreon account now, where you can support us, in a real way, to get the show happening. So, we want you to help us because this show doesn't make itself. So, if you're interested, please join!
Leah: Check it out!
Nick: You can learn about it on our website. We'll see you next time!
[Instrumental Theme Song]
Leah: And we're back!
Nick: It's time for Leah's Cordials of Kindness!
Leah: Cordials of Kindness, which I hope you visualize as like a little cherry inside of chocolate.
Nick: Oh, is that what you see?
Nick: Oh, I see a small little glass full of liqueur.
Leah: Oh, okay!
Nick: Okay. We have both different interpretations of a cordial.
Leah: That's nice.
Nick: Yeah, but it's a little nip. It's a little postprandial something.
Leah: A little something that makes you feel happy.
Nick: Sure. So, this is Leah's opportunity to make us say nice things, and you get 30 seconds to do it. And, go!
Leah: When I visited Los Angeles, my friends, Julie, and Ed, and their lovely dog, Rainbow, had me in their home. Julie also picked me up at the airport, which-
Nick: Ooh, airport pickup!
Leah: Yeah. I almost cried. It is such a nice thing. A) letting me stay in your home. So wonderful, I really appreciate it; then, to pick me up ... and I feel like you're home, you know?
Leah: It was just so nice, and I'm so grateful, and
Leah: -so sweet!
Nick: That is nice! Hope you gave them five stars for that Uber trip.
Nick: Okay, so, for me, here's a really nice email I received. "I feel the need to tell you that when I received your handwritten thank you note on your personalized stationery, I audibly squealed. My boyfriend couldn't understand why I was fan-girling so hard over a card at the mail. Even though I tried to explain it to him, he just didn't get it, but that's okay. He said, "Oh, well, that was nice of them." I said, "Nice?! It was more than nice! It was thoughtful, and lovely, and it means that there are still civilized people in the world!" He was like, "Gosh, babe, haven't seen you this excited in a long time, but glad it made you happy."
Nick: So, that's nice. I mean, why I do send these notes - and I do send them - is that I think it's nice to do, and I think because so few people write anything anymore on paper that people really appreciate it. If I can brighten your day by just mailing something to you, I am delighted to do it!
Leah: So nice!
Nick: I am really delighted, if it brings this much happiness, and people squeal audibly-
Leah: I love that idea.
Nick: It makes my day!
Leah: So wonderful.
You can start with our first episode, our most recent episode, or jump in with one of these favorites in the middle:
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this very special 100th episode extravaganza, Nick and Leah revisit their favorite moments from the series and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about adding ice cubes to wine, wiping down equipment at the gym, shouting at employees in supermarkets, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you …
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle answering phones, cutting lines, telling restaurants it's your birthday, selling items online, responding to rude customer service, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you …
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating corn on the cob, asking people how old they are, handling people who never RSVP, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note …
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle using towels at a Japanese restaurant, ghosting, dressing appropriately for Renaissance fairs, speaking to flight attendants while wearing headphones, correcting people who get your name wrong, asking about a …
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about eating Cheetos, calling dibs, handling supermarket line cutters and slow baggers, behaving at a funeral, shutting down resentful relatives, going barefoot in a no-shoe household, …