Jan. 13, 2020

Reclining on an Airplane, Using Finger Bowls, Hitting Reply All, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle using finger bowls, emailing the right way, reclining on an airplane, remembering birthdays, using business' bathrooms when you're not a customer, speaking Spanish around non-Spanish speakers, declining free samples, clearing plates at restaurants, losing keys, singing our theme song, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Finger bowls
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Thoughts on emails
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Is it OK to recline your seat on an airplane? Should you remind someone it's your birthday? Is it OK to use a bathroom at a business if you're not a customer? Is it rude to speak Spanish around non-Spanish speakers??
  • VENT OR REPENT: Declining free samples at the grocery store, clearing plates before everyone's done
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Lost keys, singing our theme song




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you drink from your finger bowl? Do you Reply All without thinking? Do you clear dishes while other diners are still eating? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

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

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

Leah: I'm Leah Bonnema.

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

Leah: [Singing] Amuuuse-bouuuuche!

Nick: Oh! Somebody's been practicing in the shower.

Leah: I'm just gonna get it bigger and bigger.

Nick: So, today I want to talk about finger bowls.

Leah: I don't even know what that is.

Nick: Great! Welcome to this amazing amuse-bouche! The point of a finger bowl is to clean the tips of your fingers. This is very rare. This has pretty much died out since World War I. It is exceedingly unlikely that you or anybody in our audience are ever going to encounter a finger bowl. But if you do, I want to explain what it is and what you're supposed to do because it's very precise. It is only going to really happen at the end of a very fancy meal. This is-

Leah: Oh, at the end!

Nick: Yeah, right before dessert.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: What's kind of funny about this is that the idea of cleaning your fingers is a nice one, but at a very formal fancy dinner, it is very unlikely that anything is going to happen to you during this meal that is going to get your fingers dirty.

Leah: You're not going to get up and have a brawl.

Nick: Right. You're not probably eating chicken wings. You're not having corn on the cob.

Leah: Right.

Nick: It's probably a meal that cutlery has been used the whole time. Regardless, the finger bowl will come. Right before dessert, you will be brought a plate, and on this plate is going to be a paper doily, and a bowl of water. There may or may not also be some flatware on the plate. There could be a fork, and a spoon. This is going to be set in front of you. The bowl is going to be filled about halfway with water. It's probably going to be room temperature. In the bowl, there might also be a lemon wedge; there might also be some flower petals. Ignore these things, but there will be, maybe, something in the water. If you were brought silverware, this is the time when you will take the fork, and the spoon, and remove it from the plate to the sides, onto the table. It's a finger bowl. You only put your fingers in the finger bowl. It's not a hand bowl. It's not a Shinto shrine. Finger bowl.

Leah: Not a face bowl.

Nick: Not a face bowl. We don't drink from the finger bowl.

Leah: Oh ... I'm just gonna spritz my eyes ...

Nick: Yeah, none of that. You will take your hands, one the time, and you will put your fingers into the bowl, and you will kind of twist your little fingers like you are assembling IKEA furniture; like you're just twisting a little wing nut.

Leah: Okay!

Nick: Just a little winkle, or like a teeny-tiny little light bulb.

Leah: Okay!

Nick: This is what we want to do. We're just like ... Just the tips of the fingers. Then, we remove the hand from the bowl, and we take it to the lap, down to the napkin, and we kind of dab our hand on the napkin. The napkin remains below the table. The napkin does not come up. We do not see the napkin. Then, we repeat with the other hand; so, we wiggle our little fingers. Now, we're done with the finger bowl. We have not touched the lemon, as we'll recall. We've just been dabbing. Now, what you're going to do is you're going to take the paper doily, and the bowl, and you're going to lift it up off the plate and move it to the left to where the bread plate was. If you're confused about where the bread plate was ... You know the little trick, Leah, about how to remember where the bread plate is? ... Okay, no ... [laughing]

Leah: It's on the left.

Nick: Flash me the 'Okay' symbol with your hand.

Leah: Oh, this is my worst.

Nick: Okay, now do it with the other hand. Now, do you see how your left hand has made a 'B?'

Leah: Yes.

Nick: And the right hand has made a 'D?'

Leah: Yes.

Nick: So, the left hand is where the bread goes-

Leah: Okay.

Nick: -and the right hand is where the drink goes.

Leah: Oh, my goodness! 'B' or a 'D!' I can't even take it!

Nick: If you can never remember, this is your little mnemonic.

Leah: What's so great is how long I worked in catering.

Nick: So, the bread plate is on the left. You will take the doily, and the finger bowl, move it to the left, and then, somebody on the waitstaff will fetch this and remove it. Then, the plate that's left, that's your dessert plate for the dessert course that's coming.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Now, if silverware was not presented to you, chances are it's already on the table. It was above your place setting. If that's the case, now is the opportunity to move the fork, and the spoon that's above the place setting to the sides.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: This is probably one of the only occasions where you will actually ever set your own silverware on the table in formal dining.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: This is the only occasion when you're moving silverware around. That's it.

Leah: I didn't even know this was a thing. This is ...

Nick: Yeah! Yeah!

Leah: Now I'll know what to do.

Nick: Yeah. Finger bowls!

Leah: Finger bowls!

Nick: Get clean!

Leah: Yeah, get ... Don't spill it ... I pick it up. I drop it on my lap.

Nick: Oh, none of that!

Leah: None of that!

Nick: None of that.

Leah: This is all manageable.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time for a question of etiquette. So, let's go deep!

Leah: Let's go very deep!

Nick: Today, I want to talk about email etiquette.

Leah: Please!

Nick: It's a big topic.

Leah: It is huge! I've multiple times been like, " ... and this one, and this one, and this one ..."

Nick: It's so big, we cannot possibly address everything there has to do with email in this conversation.

Leah: But we're gonna ... We're gonna take a shot at it.

Nick: Well, we're gonna ... Here are some big ones.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: So, I think the first thing I just want to say is, do we need to send the email? Sometimes, a phone call is better.

Leah: Oh, this is a really good-

Nick: Right?

Leah: I didn't even think of that. We'll just start off with why are we emailing?

Nick: Right? Yeah, why are we doing it? Sometimes, especially in business, or actually in any occasion, there are times when, like, oh, maybe I should just pick up the phone.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, have that conversation with yourself first. Now, I think for this conversation, we want to talk about formal emails.

Leah: Right.

Nick: This is not your aunt forwarding things from her WebTV account.

Leah: Right. Do I have to forward this to eight people, or I will I have something bad happen?

Nick: Right, not that, but like business, or formal settings. I think the most important thing I want people to know is the introduction of people over email, and how you move people to BCC.

Leah: Move it to BCC. This is a thing I learned! This year changed my life!

Nick: The move to the BCC ...

Leah: Also, it really bothers me that you were never taught this. You just have to find it out on your own.

Nick: Well, I mean, who's going to teach you this?

Leah: Well, we are now!

Nick: Well, we are, yeah.

Leah: I had to find out this year ... I asked a friend who's good at this. I was like, "What are we doing with the ... How long am I keeping this person on the reply?"

Nick: Yeah, it's terrible.

Leah: You know? I don't want them to have to do that.

Nick: Basically, when you want to introduce somebody over email, you're gonna be like, "Hey, Leah, I want you to meet Lisa," and everybody's on this email. Then, the idea is I would like to be out of the equation.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I am not interested in, now, your email chain together.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, if you do not do the move to BCC, this is the problem.

Leah: Right?

Nick: So, what you should do is: I'm going to introduce Leah, and Lisa. Then, Leah says, "Hey, Nick, thanks so much. Moving you to BCC." In that email, she has moved me to the BCC, so I will receive this email, but if Lisa now Replies All, I won't get this email.

Leah: Yep, it's magic!

Nick: And away I go! I think if everybody just takes one thing from this conversation, move to BCC - it's a good one.

Leah: It's really great because ... I was always- you want to make sure that person knows you say thank you. Do you send that separate? Nope. You're just like, "Hey, thanks so much! Moving you to the BCC."

Nick: Yep. "Okay, bye!"

Leah: "Great to meet you, Lisa!"

Nick: And then, away you go.

Leah: And then, we're at it.

Nick: So, relatedly, the Reply All ...

Leah: Oh, this is really a big one.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I don't know why it's happening.

Nick: How long have we had email, as a society?

Leah: Uhm, since we've had, "Don't go chasing waterfalls ..." I mean, it's ... It goes back.

Nick: That's a good one ... I mean, forever.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: Basically forever, and we are still confused, as a society, as to the proper way to use the Reply All feature.

Leah: It's really ... I was on a great one this week that- it was a volunteer chain, and it was asking who's gonna bring what? It was specific to each person and not related to each other.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Every person was replying all. I didn't know how to be like, "Are we in a circus?!" I can't ... I'm already getting ... What's happening here?

Nick: Yeah, it's rude. It's definitely rude because it's disrespectful of people's time.

Leah: It's so much- so many emails coming in - bop-bop-bop-bop-bop-bop ...

Nick: Yeah. I think the general thought is, first, do we need to Reply All? Is this something you need to do? Before you do it, take a step back.

Leah: I get that sometimes people do it by mistake.

Nick: Ugh ... I mean, is it a mistake? You switched the buttons [crosstalk]

Leah: Sometimes people ... Sometimes, because I notice that sometimes people CC when they meant to BCC.

Nick: Yeah, I mean, email problems happen.

Leah: It happens.

Nick: Okay, fine.

Leah: But take a look-see.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Are you Replying All?

Nick: Let's double-check.

Leah: Or are you just sending a reply?

Nick: What I do, if I'm sending a mass email to people - and it is not required that everybody knows everybody else's response - is I actually send the email to myself, my email address, in the To field. Then, I BCC everybody else. This is good if it's actually a bulk distribution list at a company, like, 'Office@' or whatever it is; or if it's individual names. That way, if somebody wants to Reply All, they can only reply to me.

Leah: Right. Then, also, sometimes people don't want everybody else to have their email address.

Nick: That's also true. I'm actually always shocked when I get some solicitation and then, I see colleagues, or my competitors, all in the list of recipients. It's like, "Oh, okay ... I see. I see what's going on here.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Then, sometimes what happens is those people see my email address and then, add me to their list.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Then, another question that you have had is when can you end the email exchange.

Leah: Yeah. This one is ... I've been so excited to get into this because-

Nick: Leah's been begging for an answer to this for quite a while.

Leah: I just ... Until we get the answer, I'm still writing back, "Thank you," and then, they write, "Thank you;" Then, I write, "Thank you," and then, "Oh, no, thank you for looking," and then, "Oh, thank you for saying 'Thank you for looking.'"

Nick: It's too much ...

Leah: You know? This is for business, not for friends.

Nick: Even for friends, it's too much.

Leah: No, for friends, I know. I'm out. I peaced out.

Nick: Oh, wow! Okay, so in a business context, you feel guilty that you're ending it-

Leah: It makes it sound like ... Last week, I had a great meeting. I said thank you. I said the thing that was asked. Then, they just wrote back, "Well, thank you," and da-da-da ... Then, I was like, "You will not respond. It's done!"

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Because then you're giving them work. But still, every once in a while, it pops into my brain, "Should you have emailed back, and thank you?" You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah - no is the answer.

Leah: Okay, so I don't.

Nick: I think, in general, you want to only write thank you back at all if it's actually a sincere thank you; like, "Oh, I have to think this person," or if it's important that you acknowledge receipt of the email.

Leah: I think it's when you had a meeting, or there was a thing that happened, you message that person: "This was great. Thank you so much. Here's the thing."

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: They write back, "Thank you so much," then, it's done.

Nick: Right. I mean, we acknowledged receipt; we appreciated them doing something for you; and then, we're good.

Leah: Right. I always just want to follow back up: "No, no, no, thank you!"

Nick: Yeah, I think anytime you send a 'You're welcome' email, and that's all the email is, then that's just too far.

Leah: Oh, I would never say, "You're welcome." I'd say, "Thank YOUuuu ..."

Nick: But it would have the same flavor as a 'You're welcome.'

Leah: Right. I understand.

Nick: One time, somebody wrote back, "yw," lowercase, and that was the whole email. I actually didn't know what that was at first glance. It was like, "Y ... W- What?" but it was like, "Oh, you're welcome ..." I was like, oh ... now you actually wasted a lot of my time deciphering this.

Leah: Right!

Nick: So, that's rude.

Leah: That's weird. This was actually gonna be my vent today, but I believe that it goes into the deep dive-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: -this was ... To what you just said. If you ask for something, or you ask a friend to introduce you to somebody, or you- say you message me requesting information on something, and I respond, I think that it's disrespectful if you don't respond.

Nick: Oh, yeah [crosstalk] because I've just done something for you.

Leah: Yeah, it happens so much!

Nick: Yeah. I mean, it's like a gift. You've given somebody a gift, so they should acknowledge that gift.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: Same principles. You have to acknowledge the receipt of the gift with thanks.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: When you don't, I'm not going to give you another gift in the future.

Leah: Yeah, if you ask me for information, and I give you the information and then, you don't acknowledge receipt in any way - not even a thank you - I'm not going to do it again.

Nick: Yeah. Unsubscribe from that friendship.

Leah: Yeah, it's weird.

Nick: Another question that we actually got on this topic was about people were worried about sounding too harsh in an email and were thinking that exclamation marks, or emojis were a way to soften the blow, and wanted our thoughts on this.

Leah: Is this business or friendship?

Nick: This is formal; it's a little formal.

Leah: Well, I am a huge fan of exclamation points, and I've been told not to use them, but I'm bucking the rules because I'm an enthusiastic person!

Nick: Right.

Leah: But I'm using my exclamation points for fervor, and-

Nick: Fervor!?

Leah: -not in anger.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So, I don't know if it's ... I don't think you need to lessen the blow with an emoji.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Unless it's a friend email.

Nick: Yeah. In a friend email, do whatever you want, but-

Leah: Yeah. In a business email, I don't know if we're using emojis.

Nick: I think, for exclamation marks, I don't think you really need them. It also feels like- if you're worried about tone, then rewrite the words. Adding the exclamation mark is not going to make a difference in the tone; rewrite the sentence. Then, with emojis, I have rarely received a professional email that had emojis, and I thought, "I respect this person more now." This has increased my sense of their professionalism. You can never go wrong by not having an emoji.

Leah: Yeah, I definitely sometimes worry when I'm being direct and to the point that it's coming across as rude, just because I feel so ... We've been taught so much to couch things, and ... But then, when I get emails that are just direct and to the point, I don't feel like they're rude at all. I just feel like I could just answer the question.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So, I think it's a thing that we just sort of need to be like, "It's okay to just send this. I can send this. I'm not being rude, I'm just giving information."

Nick: But I think what helps is when you write this email, if you use proper address, and capitalization, and grammar, and punctuation, it feels less rude. If I just send you a lowercase email, and I'm like, "do this before noon" - no punctuation, no capitalization - that feels a little aggressive.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But if I'm like: 

Hey Leah,
Please do this before noon.

Somehow this feels nicer. 

Leah: Right.

Nick: It's like, I said please; I used punctuation; it comes across as less of a demand. Lastly, I think, with email to anybody is just remember - it's not confidential.

Leah: Oh, no! You write it down, expect it to be forwarded, screenshotted; it is publicly owned.

Nick: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So, just keep that in mind.

Leah: Keep that in mind! I'll even say to people ... I have a response to this: "I'll tell you in person."

Nick: Yeah, yeah. Can't subpoena Leah Bonnema.

Leah: You cannot subpoena me!

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: Woo-hooo!!

Nick: Wait. Is that supposed to be a howl?

Leah: You know ... No, it wasn't. I was gonna do a WOO, and then, I remembered that we were howling prior.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: So, I ... Then, I was ... It was already lost.

Nick: Okay, so it was a little hybrid-

Leah: So, I just committed into it.

Nick: Okay, pick a lane ...

Leah: [Laughing] Oh, wow! Wow!

Nick: Our first question - probably one of the most controversial questions that we've ever had, and I've prepared for the hate mail we're going to get - here it is: "Are you allowed to recline your seat on an airplane? Leah doesn't want to answer?

Leah: Oh, I'll answer.

Nick: Okay, yes or no?

Leah: You're allowed to recline.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: They have reclining.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: I don't do it.

Nick: Okay, so walk me through your logic.

Leah: I'll walk you through it. I get on the plane; I recognize, wow, these seats are close together!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I don't need to be under someone's chin.

Nick: Mm hmm.

Leah: I might, if the person in front of me reclines, recline an ootz ... Just and ootz; just to give myself that little ... But some people lean all the way back in it, right away. They don't even notice if your thing is out.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Unbelievable!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: We are stuffed in like sardines.

Nick: So, this topic, people feel very passionately about this. Some people say definitively no, under no circumstances are you actually ever allowed to recline.

Leah: I mean, you're obviously allowed to. It's there.

Nick: Right. I do think you are allowed to recline. You have paid for the seat; the seat does allow reclining; you are within your rights to recline. However, I think you've got to read the room.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: So, if the person behind you is six foot five, maybe you don't want to recline.

Leah: Yeah, or if they are balancing a child.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Also, I don't know if you need to recline within the first three seconds.

Nick: True.

Leah: Just to be like, "I'm owning my space, and nobody can tell me anything, and I'm going all the way back!"

Nick: Marking my territory.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: Also, before you recline, if you've made that decision, check to see if somebody has their laptop out.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Check to see if there's a cup of coffee there. You know? Take a little look.

Leah: Yeah, because people will go back real hard-

Nick: Real hard!

Leah: -when you have liquids!

Nick: Yeah. So, I've definitely had my laptop in precarious positions before, where I was like, "Oh, you are about to break this thing."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I mean, for me, I never recline because I don't think it makes things more comfortable. That inch difference, to my life, it feels the same.

Leah: Yeah-

Nick: I don't notice a difference.

Leah: At all! The only time I recline is if I'm losing that inch on the other end.

Nick: Yeah, and I think if you are a tall person, and you really do not like when people recline on you, I think you should not use the knee-defender thing. Do you know about this?

Leah: No!

Nick: It's this little plastic device that you hook on to the seat in front of you that actually prevents it from reclining.

Leah: Really?!

Nick: Some airlines have banned it; yeah ... That's, I think, not allowed.

Leah: Oh, yeah, that's crazy!

Nick: Etiquette doesn't allow you to sabotage-

Leah: You're bringing on sabotage equipment?

Nick: Right. So, I don't think we do that; but I think if you are very tall, you want to declare this early, while we're boarding; while we're standing in the aisle, so we can see how tall you are. Then, with the person in front of you, you may want to say, "Hey, I'm real tall. Do you think you're gonna be doing a lot of reclining on this flight?" If they are, and they don't want to be sensitive to you being tall, then this is a great opportunity to see, like, can we do some switcheroo? Can the person across the aisle switch around with you? Can we move it around so that everybody's happy, and not waiting like midflight-

Leah: Or you can get that seat ... Yeah, get that seat that is behind the row that doesn't recline.

Nick: Oh, yeah, the emergency exit seats typically don't recline.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah, true. Yeah, that's good. One thing that people do say, who are tall, are, "Why should I be punished and have to pay extra for an upgraded seat just because I'm tall?"

Leah: Yeah. I assume that everybody's going to recline. I know it's going to happen, and I'm not going to get upset about it. You're allowed to recline. I'm not going to recline too much because I just don't want to be in someone's business. But if you are going to recline, like you were saying, just be aware of the liquid, and the computers, and stuff. You don't have to throw your whole body into it.

Nick: Right, right. Okay, so I think we have a good answer there.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah, all right. Our next question is from a aunt about her niece. She writes: "Is it okay to remind my 21-year-old niece about my birthday, not to get a gift, but to at least call her auntie on her birthday? I was brought up to respect my elders, and I expect the same from the young ones in my family. As for this particular niece, I've always gotten her gifts on her birthday throughout her life, and she used to at least call me to tell me happy birthday on mine, probably after being reminded by her parents. But it turns out that she's grown up to be very self-centered and somewhat snotty. I'd like to remind her about respecting her elders and at least having the graciousness to remember her auntie's birthday after all these years. What say you? Tell her about it myself, or keep mum?"

Leah: Do you wanna go first on this one?

Nick: Sure. So, in general, I think Facebook has ruined birthdays. The idea of remembering somebody's birthday used to be a nice thing.

Leah: Right.

Nick: It actually was an example of thoughtfulness. It's like, "Oh, that person wrote down my birthday somewhere where you write down things and then remembered to look at that place every year and then remembered to reach out to me with a phone call, or an email, or a card!"

Leah: Right.

Nick: How revolutionary!

Leah: Right!

Nick: Now, with Facebook, it's just like, alert, alert, Leah's birthday, hit Like ...

Leah: Right. So true. Because I got rid of my personal account, and I just have a business account, I lost the birthday reminders.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, I've written down everybody who is a close friend into my personal calendar. It did make a difference because, now, I reach out - not on Facebook - on birthdays.

Nick: Oh! Old school!

Leah: But I do think people who grew up with Facebook are used to just writing, "Thumbs up. Happy birthday," on social media. I also think this demographic, 21, is right in the middle of somebody's self ...

Nick: It's about them.

Leah: Self-obsession era.

Nick: Mm hmm. At this age, this is not the type of person that's going to remember their aunt's birthday.

Leah: Right, or if they do, it's like a thumbs up, as you're saying, on Facebook. They're right in the middle of their "Me, me, me, me, me" years.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: That being said, you could also just stop giving her things on her birthday.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think that is one solution here ... If she's not interested in birthdays, in general, as a topic, well, then, she's not interested in birthdays.

Leah: Then you can pull back on your generosity.

Nick: Yeah, yeah. But, on the flip side, you want to also still set an example of how things should be done.

Leah: Right.

Nick: In general, the etiquette rule here is that it is rude to correct other people's behavior.

Leah: Right.

Nick: You're not actually allowed to correct other people's behavior. The whole point of this show is that I'm annoyed by other people's behavior, and I talk about them behind their back with you. This is not rude! Talking about people's etiquette behind their back - totally acceptable. I don't do it to their face.

Leah: Nick's being sarcastic.

Nick: No ...

Leah: We're not allowed to comment on other people's behavior to them.

Nick: No. Correct.

Leah: But you are allowed to say to people what you need, and I think the goal would be to be upfront and not passive-aggressive about it.

Nick: Mm-hmm. Yes. You could have a clear conversation with her, I guess, about-

Leah: I'm not saying with her- this, in particular, but I'm saying-

Nick: In general.

Leah: In general, since you're saying-

Nick: In the world.

Leah: -since you're saying, in general, etiquette is about that we're not commenting on other people's behavior; but I'm saying you are allowed to set limits on yourself.

Nick: Well, etiquette is not about correcting other people's behavior-

Leah: Correcting other people's behavior.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, you're not allowed to go through life and be like, "Oh, what you're doing right now is rude."

Leah: Right.

Nick: You can't actually really ever do that in a polite way.

Leah: Right.

Nick: You're just adding more rudeness into the world.

Leah: But you can say, "This doesn't work for me."

Nick: You're allowed to set boundaries. Yeah, no problem. The one exception to the 'you're not allowed to correct other people's behavior' rule is if you're a parent, or you have a parent-like role.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, if the relationship between this aunt and niece is like, "I am a parent to you. One of my roles in your life is that I'm offering you moral and etiquette guidance," then you would have the opportunity be like, "Just so you know, it is a nice thing when you remember people's birthdays." If that is not your relationship, and you're just sort of a more distant family member, where it's not your place to correct their behavior, I think you've got to let this one go.

Leah: Yeah, or you could tell her mom [inaudible] that sister, and be like, "Oh ..." I don't know.

Nick: Yeah, I guess you could be like, "Oh, I was hoping to hear from Lisa ..."

Leah: Yeah, it could be like, "I'd love to hear from you guys on my birthday."

Nick: Yeah, I guess you hope the message gets over to the niece.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: It won't.

Leah: Or, you could be like, "Hey, I'd love to ..." You could message the niece- I don't know if you're in the same area? "For my birthday this year, I'd love to grab a coffee, or hear from you."

Nick: Oh! Okay. I mean, I get the sense that she's not interested in seeing the niece, who's ... What is she? She is-

Leah: 21.

Nick: -and she's spoiled, right?

Leah: Self-centered and somewhat snotty.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Like to remind her about respecting elders.

Nick: Yes. I don't get the sense that the aunt really wants to have coffee with this person.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Just wants to make the point.

Leah: I guess ... But, I mean, that's a sideways way to make the point: "Love to hear from you on my birthday. Do you want to grab a coffee?" Knowing they won't grab a coffee, but maybe they'll remember. Then, if they don't-

Nick: No more birthday gifts for you, niece!

Leah: Yeah, I don't know. I just do feel like 21 is just a rough- it's a rough time.

Nick: Yeah, but I don't give that a pass. Just because you're 21 doesn't mean that you have a free pass to act inappropriately or be rude.

Leah: But you're saying that she shouldn't comment on it.

Nick: I am saying that it would be probably rude for the aunt to comment on the niece's behavior if she forgets.

Leah: Right. So, in which case, if she can't comment on it, and we're not giving her a pass, the only thing that she has left is to find a reason to let it go, which is to be like, "She won't be so selfish in 10 years."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, she doesn't have to think about- because you don't want to carry around being angry at somebody-

Nick: True. True.

Leah: -because that just hurts you.

Nick: Right.

Leah: You can either - since we're not commenting on it - not give her things on her birthday, or, in your mind, tell yourself-

Nick: "Oh, she's 21 ..."

Leah: -"Oh, she's 21."

Nick: Okay, I see what you're saying. Okay.

Leah: We're not giving them a pass for them; we're giving them a pass for us, so we don't carry it around.

Nick: Ooh, that's so wise!

Leah: You're only poisoning yourself.

Nick: Oh, can we put that on a pillow?

Leah: Absolutely!

Nick: We have a lot of pillows going.

Leah: Yeah, we have a lot of pillows! I'm going to need a significantly larger apartment.

Nick: Our next question: "Is it rude to use the bathroom at a business if you're not a customer?"

Leah: I never do it. People will always be like, "Just run into that place," and I'll be like, "But I didn't buy anything."

Nick: Yeah. I don't think there's a good answer on this one.

Leah: I don't either.

Nick: There's not a definitive answer to this one.

Leah: Obviously, sometimes, it's an emergency, and you just have to use a washroom.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Maybe you walk in, and you just say, "Can I just use your bathroom really quick? I'm having an emergency."

Nick: I think asking permission is nice.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: That always gives you a pass then because what are they going to say? No?

Leah: I mean, they might.

Nick: Right, and then, what are you supposed to do? Go anyway?

Leah: No, then you leave.

Nick: Right. You respect-

Leah: You'd be like, "What if I buy something?" and then, you buy the cheapest thing.

Nick: Right. I mean, I guess some people make the distinction between is this a chain store, or restaurant, or place, or this a small mom-and-pop? Is a Starbucks different than an artisanal one-off bakery?

Leah: Right. For example, I'll just be honest, I often use the washroom at Barnes & Noble's.

Nick: Okay. There's still Barnes & Noble? Okay.

Leah: Union Square, north of Eugene Square.

Nick: Okay, right.

Leah: It's four stories. They have two washrooms.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I know it's there. If I'm out in the city running back and forth all day, that's my spot.

Nick: Yeah, and that feels fine, right?

Leah: But I also ... I'm going to buy things there.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Not maybe at that exact time.

Nick: Okay, but at some point.

Leah: At some point ... I have purchased many items from Barnes & Noble.

Nick: Right, so you feel like you've earned that toilet paper.

Leah: Yes.
. Nick: Yeah, I guess-

Leah: But I'm not running into a small restaurant.

Nick: I guess if you can do it in a way that doesn't disturb their customers-

Leah: Right, that's ... Because Barnes & Noble's is so big, I feel I'm not being disruptive in any way.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I'm not walking through the middle of a dining room.

Nick: I guess if you aren't disobeying the 'Bathrooms are for Customers Only' sign-

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: You're respecting all signage; then, I guess it's okay.

Leah: I mean, I see ... I have tons of friends who just walk into anywhere-

Nick: Presumably places with bathrooms.

Leah: With bathrooms.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: No, they just walk into anywhere, and they're like, "Is this corner okay?" And are just like, "Why wouldn't you?" But I feel like I'm being- I feel like I'm trespassing.

Nick: Yeah, and I guess if you have to ask this question, then maybe it isn't the right bathroom for you.

Leah: Yeah, just find a place that seems ... Unless it's an- sometimes, it's an emergency, and I feel like most people understand that. If you go to the front and say, "Hey, I really have to use the restroom. May I please?"

Nick: Yeah. "Please give me the long ladle with key?"

Leah: Yeah, or the code. I've seen people do it at my pharmacy when I was just in line to pay for groceries. Not groceries, but canned goods. I'm not buying my fruit and vegetables at the pharmacy ... Not that I'm above it, but they don't offer that. I've had people run in and be like, "Do you guys have a restroom? I'm ..." and they've been like, "Yeah, sure."

Nick: Yeah. Okay, so I guess use your discretion.

Leah: Just ask politely or go to a place where it's very big.

Nick: Right, so no one notices.

Leah: And nobody cares.

Nick: Anonymity is key.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay. Our last question is: "Most of my friends are bilingual, but a few people who hang out with us are not. Is it rude for us to speak Spanish around them when we know they don't understand, or is it okay? We aren't talking about them? Sometimes we just forget." Yeah, I think it's rude.

Leah: I mean, sometimes, you slip into a few little words-

Nick: And that's fine. It's not like you can't ever do it, but I think you want to then include that person in the conversation.

Leah: Yeah, and then just be like, "Oh, I just said ..."

Nick: Gotta translate, live.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah. I think a similar situation is if four out of five people are all talking about some television show they all like, and the fifth person doesn't watch that television show, a little bit of conversation about ... I don't know? What do you watch?

Leah: What do I watch?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You know I watch all the BBC murder shows.

Nick: Okay, such as?

Leah: Broadchurch-

Nick: Broadchurch. Fine.

Leah: Oh ... The best!

Nick: So, if you are having a conversation with friends about Broadchurch - I have not seen Broadchurch - you're welcome to have a little bit of a conversation about it, but you have to somehow include me somehow.

Leah: Right.

Nick: We can't have an entire conversation about this thing.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I think similar rules apply.

Leah: It's exactly the same as speaking Spanish around non-Spanish-speaking people.

Nick: Eguale!

Leah: Eguale! [crosstalk]

Nick: So, do you have questions out there? Do you have preguntas?

Leah: Do you have preguntas para [27:48 Spanish language] Oh, no, that's for them. Para nosotros?

Nick: So, do you have questions for us?

Leah: [Laughing] Do you?

Nick: Do you want to do this is in Spanish? So, do you have questions for us?

Leah: Preguntas para nosotros?

Nick: Then, please send them to us. You can send them to us through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can leave us a voicemail - (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729); you can also send us a text message there, too, but we'd really actually love to hear your voice, so please leave us a voicemail! You can do it in any language. We'll translate it!

Leah: We'll figure it out or try to translate!

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: [Singing] Vent or Repennnnt!

Nick: This is our opportunity to either vent about some bad etiquette thing that's happened to us recently, or we can repent for some bad etiquette faux pas we've committed.

Leah: Which rarely happens.

Nick: It happens, though, but for today, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I'm going to repent.

Nick: [Gasp] Oh ... What did you do?

Leah: Well, I've actually messaged you this, and you forgave me.

Nick: Oh, I did already? Okay.

Leah: But-

Nick: I don't remember what this was.

Leah: -you understood why it happened.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But I still am thinking about it.

Nick: All right, well, share with everybody.

Leah: This is the same Greenmarket where I have done my gratitude for the-

Nick: The Door.

Leah: The Door.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, I come in, often, very late because it's open 24 hours, and I'll be coming back from gigs. So, I come in, and ... I know the man who works - multiple people - but this man works late, and he was eating a dessert at the counter. I said, "Oh, that looks fun," because it was not an a ... It was this funny little Jell-O cup.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I love the packaging! It was great packaging. He said, "Oh, try one!" and he was offering it to me-

Nick: Sample.

Leah: A sample. I was having- my stomach was not good that day, and I felt like he wanted me to eat it with him. It wasn't like a "Let's take it home."

Nick: Oh, like, "Let's have this communal experience together."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: :And I can see how much you like it."

Leah: Yeah. "I'm sharing this thing with you that I love."

Nick: Right.

Leah: I got so anxious about trying to ... I didn't want to explain my stomach thing and go on; I didn't want to be rude. Then, I didn't want to take one because I felt like that would just be taking something.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, I was like, "Oh, no, thank you so much, but it looks so fun!" Then, when I left, I was like, "He was just trying to share something with you, and you could have just taken it because he was offering it to you and be like 'Let me have it later for dessert,'" and I could have just taken it.

Nick: I think you could have taken it. I think what you did was also fine. I don't think what you did was offensive.

Leah: I just feel bad. People ... Someone was sharing, and I just flew into a panic about my stomach. I didn't want to explain it and then, I didn't want to just take something. So, I ... But I could have just been like, "Thank you," like with a compliment.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: "Thank you."

Nick: Leave it there.

Leah: And just ignored the fact that I knew that he wanted us to eat it together and just been like, "Thank you so much for sharing," and just-

Nick: Voila ...

Leah: -took it with me and then, not eaten it on my own time.

Nick: Well, is the door open for future samples?

Leah: No. I think I hurt his ... I felt like he was reaching out and I just closed the sample door.

Nick: Wow. Never to be opened.

Leah: Which is fine by me. I don't want the samples. But-

Nick: You don't want to hurt his feelings.

Leah: I don't want to hurt his feelings. I want- I'm normally delighted to share.

Nick: Well, okay.

Leah: So, I feel ... Mr. Greenmarket, thank you for offering. It was just a long drama about my stomach that I didn't feel you needed to hear, but I should've just taken it.

Nick: Speaking of taking things, I would like to vent.

Leah: Wooo! Shocker ...

Nick: This has happened, and it continues to happen, and it happened last night at dinner. I do not like, when I am dining, and I have finished my entree, you are still working on whatever it is- you're working on it, which, as we know, is not a phrase we say. But you're continuing to enjoy your meal, and somebody will come along and ask to remove my plate while you are still eating. I don't like that. You should leave all the plates until everybody is done because it makes me feel I'm a fast eater and that's a judgment on my eating speed. Or it makes you feel like you now need to rush your meal. It's like, just leave everybody's plates. I don't understand why restaurants need to remove plates rapidly. If there's some category of diner out there that's annoyed if a plate is left on the table for too long? So, I don't know what that is.

Leah: It happens a lot here. I had a friend this weekend who got cleared-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: They were trying to clear while she was eating!

Nick: While she was eating? She's like mid-bite?

Leah: Yeah. She was like, "Oh, no ...!"

Nick: No, fork is still in the mouth ...

Leah: But I think what happens in New York is they're telling all the-

Nick: They're trying to turn tables.

Leah: Yeah, trying to turn tables, and they're telling people, "Go out! Do something! Clear! Clear!" So, people trying to look busy.

Nick: Oh, is that what it is?

Leah: I mean, that happened when I was- when I used waitress, they'd be like, "What are you ...?" If you were ever standing for a second, they were like ... People are just looking busy.

Nick: Oh ...

Leah: But it is very- it's gotten out of control!

Nick: It's out of control. Yeah, and I just think it's rude. I think restaurants of any caliber - this is not even a fine dining or a not fine dining - like at all ... All restaurants should just wait until everyone is done eating.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Before you clear plates. So, that's my vent.

Leah: I totally understand.

Nick: Thank you.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned not only of the existence of finger bowls-

Nick: Okay.

Leah: -but I now know what to do if somebody places a bowl of water in front of me with floating petals and lemon. I'm not gonna freak out!

Nick: Don't freak out!

Leah: I'm not gonna drink it.

Nick: No anxiety needed.

Leah: I'm not gonna put my face in it like it's a moisturizing-

Nick: Not a spa day. Mm-hmm.

Leah: Right? I'm going to know how to handle it.

Nick: Okay! See?

Leah: Delightful!

Nick: Now you know.

Leah: Now I know.

Nick: I learned that there are still Barnes & Noble's; people still go to stores to buy books.

Leah: They're really terrific.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: [Whispering] And they have bathrooms!

Nick: And they have bathrooms, which you can just use.

Leah: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Nick: Well, 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 thank you note on my custom stationery. Please subscribe to the show and leave us a nice review, wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram. Our Instagram is great.

Leah: Nick puts so much wonderful, wonderful-

Nick: I do it myself!

Leah: -work into it.

Nick: You can see my handiwork. So, follow us on Instagram, and check us out on Facebook. We also have a newsletter, so you can sign up for that and see other things on our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, and we'll see you next time.

Leah: See you next time!

Nick: Bye!

Leah: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: Okay, now it's the time of the show where we do cordials of kindness. This is Leah's opportunity to make us say nice things. I only give her 30 seconds. Here you go! Go!

Leah: My fiancé loses things sometimes, and he recently misplaced his keys. I was like, "I'm gonna go find them," because I knew they were findable ... I went to every place that he went, and at every store, people made a concerted effort-

Nick: Oh, he left his keys-

Leah: Somewhere.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: I said, "Oh, hey, if you see these keys ..." and people actually paid attention to me. Then, one lady found them. So, I would like to say a huge thank you to people who look for lost items and who also find things of people's, and then actually hold them, or return them, instead of just keeping them for themselves.


Nick: Okay! That's nice.

Leah: It's really wonderful.

Nick: Leah makes me do this, too. So, all right ... And the timer begins. So, I would actually just like to read a very nice review that we got-

Leah: Oh!

Nick: Because seeing the reviews actually warms my little heart, so here's one of them. "I found the show by accident, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'm confirming long held practices and learning new things. I can't wait for the opportunity to use the theme song to raise etiquette awareness. I plan to sing [singing] 'Were you raised by wolves' to highlight the offending behavior. I've shared the podcasts with other manners-loving friends.


Leah: Fantastic.

Nick: So, that's very nice. I don't think you should go out and sing our theme song to strangers, but I like the idea-

Leah: No, no, I think if they want to, they can.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I don't think we should respond to kindness with rules.

Nick: Okay, fair, fair. We just say thank you!

Leah: Thank you!

Nick: Thank you.

Leah: You want to sing it? Sing it!

Nick: Fine, sing it.

Leah: Sing it loud! Sing it proud!