July 6, 2020

Texting During Therapy, Cutting in Lines, Uninviting Guests, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about cutting in lines, scraping teeth on forks, sending thank you notes for checks, handling a therapist who texts during sessions, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)

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  • If I'm first into a parking lot, does this mean I should also be first in line?
  • Is it rude to scrape your teeth on a fork?
  • What should you do if you feel unwelcome on a conference call?
  • When should you send a thank you note for a gift check?
  • What should I say to my therapist who is texting during my sessions?
  • How should I decline an invitation when I already have company?
  • What do I do about my husband inviting guests to our home without my permission?




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

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: A bonus episode!

Leah: Hot episode!

Nick: We have some great questions. The first one is, "I went to a small farm near my house yesterday that sells produce twice a week. There was a short line forming when I got there. There was a car behind me, when it turned into the small fenced grassy area that serves as parking. I parked to the left to create a new row as the right side was filled with cars. The person behind me parked next to me, then gathered her canvas bags, and got to the line right in front of me. Grrr." She wrote 'Grrr.' "Admittedly, I may have been having a produce-greed thing going on, but I technically got there first. I know I would have let me go first, since I drove in first. Thoughts?" I feel like you've had this happen and have struggled with this.

Leah: Oh, you're absolutely right on.

Nick: [Giggling] Okay, what would you do?

Leah: I have a multi-layer thought.

Nick: Bring it!

Leah: My first thought is I think, sometimes, we serve as our listeners' Vent or Repents.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: Obviously, you sometimes need to vent because people are just out there being rude!

Nick: Yep! Just willy nilly! Right and left.

Leah: Obviously, you were trying to do ... We would all hope that everybody functions as a community. You're starting a new line, so there's room for everybody.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Instead of being rewarded, somebody cuts you in line.

Nick: Yes, and what happens is we see that we are not rewarded for our polite behavior, so this reinforces the idea that actually being polite is to my detriment.

Leah: Which it is not. I mean-

Nick: It's not!

Leah: I visualize this person pulling in next to you and then, climbing out of their car so fast and running, so they can beat you by 30 seconds.

Nick: I mean, that's what it seems like, yeah.

Leah: I want you to know that I appreciate you starting a new row, and someday, there will be a person that lets you go first. I believe that it's good to continue to be that person who bes polite because one day, it's gonna just make somebody whole day!

Nick: Uh, I mean ... That's a little far [Laughing]

Leah: I really am an emotional person, and I go all in. I just don't think that you should-

Nick: I mean ...

Leah: You're totally in the right.

Nick: You are definitely in the right. You've done nothing wrong. It would have been nice had this person let you go first. That would have been the nice thing. Yes. Said another way if you are going into a store ... Let's say you're walking into Starbucks. I hold the door open for you. You walk in. It would be nice for you to then let me go in front of you.

Leah: Yes, that's a [crosstalk]

Nick: That would be the correct way this should unfold. This car situation would be the same thing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Like, I held the door open for you, but I should not be penalized for doing that.

Leah: Right.

Nick: You should then let me go up. So, yes, this is how society should work. That is the rule for how this should be handled. Obviously, people violate this rule. What can you do about it? Also, what I have noticed is that people who do this, who cut in front, they don't know they've done something wrong. So, if you glare at them, it will have no effect.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: They will be immune to this ... Because I've tried. I've tried to give someone the death stare, and they're like, "Why is this person staring at me?"

Leah: Do you think - if they don't know - that it's worth bringing up?

Nick: What? What are you gonna say? Like, "Oh, I was actually here first"?

Leah: I think some people do that-

Nick: I mean, but you weren't. You parked first-

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: -but you weren't in line first.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I think that conversation is never gonna end well.

Leah: Oh, it's never gonna end well.

Nick: No.

Leah: I'm just saying because you brought up, you don't think they notice.

Nick: I don't think they necessarily notice, but I don't think that conversation will make them a better person.

Leah: No, I agree with that. I always think to myself-

Nick: It's just gonna make you seem petty.

Leah: I wish them well. I wish them well.

Nick: Yeah, well, you don't even have to do that, but you just have to keep your mouth shut.

Leah: No, I say that in my head; it's to remind myself.

Nick: [Giggling] Okay. I see.

Leah: To remind myself that I'm wishing people well.

Nick: Oh, okay ... Our next question is: "Can you confirm that scraping one's teeth on a fork while eating is an etiquette crime? Same for scraping cutlery together while cutting food." Yeah, confirmed.

Leah: Confirmed. That's my-

Nick: Confirmed ...

Leah: I think everybody has a thing that's their thing.

Nick: I think this is everybody's thing!

Leah: Yeah, but scraping noises? I mean, I'll have to climb under a table. I can't-

Nick: So, you know, if Leah Bonnema-

Leah: It sets off my whole thing!

Nick: -is saying this is too far, it's too far!

Leah: [Laughing] That's so true!

Nick: [Giggling] Our next question is ...

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: I mean, do you have anything else that had here?

Leah: No, that's a great point.

Nick: That's it! Our next question is: "My company has twice-weekly conference calls with about 40 people. The purpose is to update everyone on whatever our CEO wants to say." We'll call him Chad. "Usually, Chad asks for thoughts and sometimes, people chime in; sometimes they don't. Many times, I feel like when I chime in, it is unwelcome, and I can't suss out if I should just keep my mouth shut. This also feels particularly strange because I've had a rather nice working relationship with Chad in the past. Do you have any advice on the right way to behave here? I decided that this coming week, I'm just going to be quiet to make myself more comfortable and see how I feel, but I just can't tell if that's the right thing to do."

Leah: I feel like this one's complicated.

Nick: This one is definitely complicated, yeah.

Leah: Because we're missing-

Nick: Well, we don't know what she said, so [Laughing]

Leah: Don't know what she said. I also don't know ... Conference calls, Zoom calls, anything not in person - the when to speak and when not to speak - the rhythm is hard to get.

Nick: That's true. That's very true.

Leah: Sometimes, things just ... When a comment came, somebody isn't ready to respond because of the rhythm of the conversation. That's a possibility.

Nick: Yes. Although this seems like the content of what she was saying was unwelcome.

Leah: Right. Then, it becomes is this ... The politics around it, we don't know.

Nick: Yes. I mean, the first thought I had was, does Chad actually want to hear from anybody, or does he just want to hear himself speak?

Leah: But she's saying other people have spoken up, and it's been taken well.

Nick: Yeah, that's true. I mean, in general, I don't love the idea of an employee ever feeling like they can't share their opinion. I don't think that's ever a healthy thing in an organization, where you have an employee that-

Leah: That's why I don't like that idea of, "I'm not gonna say anything," because I also particularly feel like women feel like they are unheard in business.

Nick: Right. I don't know if this is a man or a woman, but-

Leah: Oh, I thought you said ... For some reason, I thought you said she.

Nick: Uh, I don't know.

Leah: That's why the office politics ... If the person is responding to people equally, and it just happened that it's something- you came at a bad time, that's a different conversation. But if the person only responds to their top level- you know what I mean? I feel like it's just loaded.

Nick: Yeah. I guess the next step, if we wanted to offer an action item, would be to talk to maybe your direct boss, if there's another layer between you and the CEO, here, and say like, "Oh, on those conference calls, is my level actually invited to speak? Am I supposed to be jumping in, or is this just for managers only?" Or, "On that call, when I said this thing, it felt like the response was weird. Is that just me?" I think maybe just clarify it, and talk it out with whoever is also on this call-

Leah: Yeah, I think that sounds perfect.

Nick: -to help you navigate those politics, yeah. Because I think, in general, we don't want to feel unwelcome, obviously. In terms of etiquette, we never want to make someone else feel unwelcome. So, if that's happening here, I think that would be considered rude.

Leah: Right, and I do think there are some calls where people just don't want any other people to give feedback. They're just giving information.

Nick: Yeah. This is being presented as like a town hall, where everybody's welcome to chime in.

Leah: Right. So, in that case, you should feel welcome to chime in.

Nick: Yeah. I would say go for it, but, I guess, read the room, and talk to your colleague, or somebody else who was also on the call to give you a reality check about what's really going on.

Leah: I like what Nick said up top of this question, which is you should feel, at your workplace-

Nick: Yes.

Leah: -like your opinion is valued.

Nick: Yes because if it's not, then it's like, what are we doing here?

Leah: This is assuming that you didn't jump in with a knock-knock joke.

Nick: Right. Yeah, that's something- we don't know the content. I mean, maybe the thing you said was stupid. Yeah.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Yeah, maybe ... Maybe what you said wasn't welcome, yeah. It's possible.

Leah: But we're assuming that that's not what it is because-

Nick: We're assuming that it's not the case.

Leah: -you're a person who writes letters. We're thinking about your behavior.

Nick: Yes!

Leah: Obviously, you didn't jump in with a-

Nick: You're a conscientious that does a lot of self-reflection and work.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: We appreciate that. Yeah, I would like to think that this was a one-off event and that this is not a pattern at your workplace, but I think it's worth exploring further.

Leah: I think so, too.

Nick: Our next question is: "I know sending checks for a graduation gift is so last decade, but for graduates who live far from me, I haven't found a better option - but I'm open to one. Is it just me, or is it tacky for the receiver to cash a check before a thank you is sent? I'm feeling very old-fashioned, but I've taught my kiddos to not cash a check that is a gift before a thank you has been mailed or a phone call has been made to say thank you." Leah, what's a check?

Leah: Oh, um, so you ...

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: It comes in this little book-

Nick: Cool!

Leah: -and it has perforated edges, and you ... It's a "book" of checks, and then, you would write the person's name on it, and the amount of money-

Nick: We joke, but 50 percent of our audience has no idea what a check is.

Leah: No, I know!

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: I still write checks, and people make fun of me.

Nick: Yeah, there are certain things I still have to write checks for. It's true, yeah. I mean, basically, a check is a piece of paper. It's an IOU that grandparents send grandchildren, and-

Leah: My grandparents are old-school. They went ... I got a $5 bill.

Nick: Oh, nice! I get $5 checks, so there you are. I do think that when you are giving a gift, and it's a check, I think it is nice to acknowledge that gift before you cash that check. I don't want the clearing of the check hitting my statement to be the first time I know that it was cashed. I want to hear from you first.

Leah: Yeah, I just never thought about it, previous to this.

Nick: Yeah. Checks clear a much faster, these days, than they used to-

Leah: Oh, they can clear that day.

Nick: You could definitely get it cleared same day, yeah.

Leah: Sometimes, you wanna get a check in because you're afraid it's gonna bounce, so ... [Giggling]

Nick: All right. It says a lot about the people who hire you.

Leah: [Laughing] Oh, everybody knows! They know! The people that hire me will say, "You better get that check in ..." [Laughing]

Nick: So, yeah ... I would definitely write that thank you note before you cash it. I think that would be nice. In terms of alternative gift ideas, if that's what we're looking for, I guess Venmo-ing your grandchildren a graduation gift ñ cash - that definitely has-

Leah: I really loved getting a letter from my grandparents.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, especially if it's drawn upon some local savings bank you've never heard of in a small town [crosstalk]

Leah: You know what I mean with their ... I really loved that arriving in the mail.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: It'd give me such joy.

Nick: Yes, especially if it's a pastel card with flowers on it.

Leah: Yeah, and a nice thought. You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I think it's a wonderful- it's a lovely gift, and a lovely tradition. I feel like this is another pre-vent, where they want to feel like it's okay to want to be recognized for it.

Nick: Yes. I mean, presumably, the thank you note does come eventually is what I'm hoping.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Do you have any ideas what a grandparent could give as a graduation gift that I guess is cash but is not sent as a check? I guess there's really no other way to do it.

Leah: I feel like they like giving a-

Nick: Well, she says that she hasn't found a better option, and she's open to one. So, can we give her a better option?

Leah: There's always gift cards.

Nick: Yeah, I guess there's gift cards, although ... I guess that's kind of the same idea as a check. Yeah.

Leah: What I like about a check is seeing someone's handwriting.

Nick: Oh, okay. You do a little graphoanalysis on this?

Leah: No, I just- it makes me feel close to them.

Nick: Oh, okay. Hm.

Leah: I save things with my relatives-who've-passed-ons' handwriting.

Nick: Yes. I mean, I guess them saying-

Leah: They always write a little fun thing in the note.

Nick: Oh ... Okay.

Leah: "Good job! You didn't fail!" You know what I mean?

Nick: [Laughing]

Leah: Like a little nice note. [Laughing] I'm kidding. I'm kidding! Nobody wrote that.

Nick: Wow! Okay. Love that positive reinforcement!

Leah: No ... But you know what I mean? I don't think it's outdated. I think it's a nice ... If you want to give a check, I think that's really nice.

Nick: Yeah, no, I'm happy to take your cash. No problem.

Leah: I haven't found a better option. Well, I mean, the options are cash ... If what you wanna do is money, gift cards-

Nick: Gift card, money order, wire transfer, Venmo, PayPal.

Leah: Unless you want to-

Nick: Attorney escrow check.

Leah: -say, "I'm gonna put money towards this thing I know you're gonna need next year in school, or whatever you're doing for your next step ..."

Nick: Yeah. Okay. You can earmark it. Yeah ... Okay. Point being, thank you note should go very promptly.

Leah: Yes. You should be getting a thank you note.

Nick: Yes. Our next question is: "I just had my first FaceTime therapy session and my therapist was texting quite a bit during the session. I think she's old enough to know that people can hear you texting on the same device you're video chatting on. I could also tell I didn't have her full attention. How do I politely tell her that I know she's texting and that I'd like her to be fully present without it getting weird?"

Leah: May I?

Nick: Oh, please!

Leah: You should have your therapist's full attention during therapy.

Nick: For sure, yes!

Leah: So, you shouldn't feel bad about that.

Nick: No.

Leah: I also, as Leah Bonnema, love giving everybody the benefit of the doubt.

Nick: I mean ...

Leah: So, in the benefit of the doubt and-

Nick: How?

Leah: -knowing that you should-

Nick: [A little louder] Howww?

Leah: -have this, I would say-

Nick: How are you gonna give the benefit of the doubt to this therapist?

Leah: -directly ... I would say directly, "I can't tell if you're texting, or taking notes."

Nick: Ah-ohhhh. Okay.

Leah: Because therapists do take notes.

Nick: Okay, yeah. True.

Leah: They do have to look down to do that.

Nick: Okay, okay.

Leah: If I had a long relationship with my therapist- because they have to know you can see them texting-

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: -so, they must be doing something else! Otherwise, it seems egregious!

Nick: Well, also, this letter-writer is saying that she doesn't have the full attention of the therapist either. So, if you're taking notes, you probably are still paying attention, most likely.

Leah: But I'm saying people do look down to take notes.

Nick: Yes. Okay. So, we will give the benefit of the doubt. However, if texting is happening-

Leah: If you say, "I can't tell if you're texting or taking notes," and they say, "Oh, sorry, I was texting," then you could say, "Please don't do that."

Nick: Uh, yeah.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Yeah, yeah, I think that's good, yeah. I guess another benefit of the doubt could be that this is actually a therapy technique that they are-

Leah: I mean, now, even this benefit of the doubt's a little far.

Nick: They are using sort of like negative modeling of bad behavior to make you realize how texting, and being distracted affects other people ... Maybe-

Leah: I mean, are my benefit of the doubts that crazy? Because-

Nick: I mean, sometimes, yeah.

Leah: The other thing is I don't know why I feel this need to be aware of what other people might be going through, but it's just a part of my personality, and I'm not gonna feel bad for it.

Nick: No, don't apologize!

Leah: Thank you, Nick. Sometimes, people have emergency patients-

Nick: Okay.

Leah: -and you're like, "Oh, do you have something you need to deal with? Then, we can focus ..."

Nick: Yes. I think you want your therapist's full, undivided attention at all times.

Leah: And you deserve it! It's not just that you want it. That's what they're there for.

Nick: Right. I guess if you, as a therapist, knew that you were expecting an important text, or an emergency call, you would say that up top, at the beginning of the session.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Be like, "FYI, I'm expecting maybe an emergency call. I may need to take it. That may happen. Fair warning."

Leah: Right.

Nick: That'll be good. Hypothetically, emergencies do happen during a session.

Leah: Oh, I think they do.

Nick: In which point, yes, I guess you would need to- you should excuse yourself.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Be like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I need to reply to this text," and then go back to your full and undivided attention. I think to try and do it on the sly is not a good strategy.

Leah: No, it's not a good strategy, at all. I'm just trying to think of what exactly this person should say.

Nick: Well, I think the first thing I would do would be if I see the texting is happening, I would just stop talking. I would just stop and wait until they were done with whatever they were doing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Eventually, they'll notice I stopped talking.

Leah: Right.

Nick: And they'll be like, "Oh, is there something wrong?" It's like, "Oh, I just wanted you to finish whatever you were doing."

Leah: Yeah, I think that's fair to say.

Nick: Because that kinda sounds nonjudgmental and a little value-neutral, even though the subtext is like, *"Um, I'm paying you by the minute here, and that's coming out of my time ..."*

Leah: You should be allowed to have their full attention.

Nick: You deserve it, yeah. I think if you wanted to say something a little further, you could just say, like, "Oh, I'm not sure I had your full attention."

Leah: Yeah, I think that's a great line.

Nick: Then, you could further say, like, "I would really like to have your full attention," I guess would be the next thing.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Then, the next level up would be like, "Would it be better if we scheduled for another better time?" Be like, "Oh, should we just end the session now and reschedule?" That feels a little more aggressive-

Leah: I think that probably on the first one, they'll be mortified. If not, then something's amiss.

Nick: Well, you would think they wouldn't do it in the first place, but the person that texts during your therapy session? Maybe the mortification gene is broken.

Leah: Yeah, I don't know what's going on there.

Nick: Yeah. I think then, once this has happened to you, I think, if it happened once, okay. If it's happened more than once, I think you have to find a different therapist.

Leah: Yeah, if you bring it up and address it upfront, in a polite manner, and then, they continue to do it, I think there's-

Nick: Yeah, that's pretty disrespectful.

Leah: Yep [crosstalk] That's the whole point of therapy is to have somebody listen.
Nick: Right? Yeah, to have a safe space where you feel like you are being heard.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Yeah. So, that's what we would do. Our next question is: "My mother passed away last year. After the event, I was informed by my siblings that we had to send thank you notes to everyone who came to her funeral. There were over 100 people in attendance and given the different roles of my siblings in our mother's care, this task fell to me. I was shocked to learn that this was even a thing. I've been to dozens of funerals in my day, and I don't recall ever receiving a thank you note. Honestly, if I had, I would have thought it so odd. I mean, who needs to be thanked for attending a funeral? How many grieving people are even going to think to do this? Is this a regional thing, or archaic? I told my kids that they do not need to do this when I die. Am I wrong?"

Leah: I hadn't heard of this.

Nick: Yeah, yeah ... This is, uh, not a thing, so ... [Giggling]

Leah: I've never been to a funeral where I got a thank you note and nor would I expect one!

Nick: Right. One way to think about it is when you are attending a funeral, you are paying respects to the deceased. So, the person who would ordinarily write you a thank you note would be the deceased. They are exempt from having to write you a thank you note.

Leah: They are.

Nick: So, when you think about it in that way, yes, of course, there's not going be a thank you note to you. Yeah ...

Leah: You're not giving the family jobs to do during their time of mourning!

Nick: There's also that, but if you have done something nice for this family and kind of went above and beyond ... If you were a pallbearer, or if you did a reading at the funeral, or if you brought over a casserole, or sent nice flowers, or you did something for the family, or one of the relatives of the deceased, then, a thank you note would then be sort of required, at some point. It is nice to acknowledge nice things that people have done for you, but those are from you, as the living person. You received the nice thing. So, that's what would trigger a thank you note. Just showing up to the funeral, that does not trigger a thank you note.

Leah: Yeah. I also think, often, when people pass on, the people close to them are sort of in a cloud. They're just functioning.

Nick: Yes. Oh, funerals ... When you have someone die, the rules of etiquette ... Definitely, there's much more slack for you.

Leah: Yeah. I mean, I wouldn't- if I dropped off a casserole at my friend's house, I wouldn't expect ... I just want them to know I'm thinking of them. It's a funeral.

Nick: Yes, and at some point, it would be nice to sort of acknowledge all the nice things that were done for you, but, yeah, there's no time limit on it. You don't, obviously, give the casserole expecting a thank you note. Don't even expect to get your dish back!

Leah: I think some people don't even remember things that happened during very high-stress, or emotional times.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But definitely, you don't have to send a thank you note to all the people that came.

Nick: Yeah. Our next question is: "I recently had a friend over to chill and hang out. Let's call her Lisa. Then I got a call from another friend asking if I wanted to go to her house and hang out, but I said no because I had Lisa over. Then, to end the call. I said, 'I really wish I could come.' After I hung up, I realized that Lisa heard me, and I felt bad because I love having Lisa over, but I also want my other friend to be aware that I would love to hang out, too, but that I'm busy. What would you do? What should I say for next time?"

Leah: This is another one that I feel is trapped in the same brain as me.

Nick: Oh, really?

Leah: You don't think so? This one didn't have the same flavor as ...?

Nick: Uh ... I mean ... What I love with this question is that it all comes down to tone.

Leah: Oh, that's true!

Nick: Because when I read this, I was like, "Oh, I can't come over; Lisa's over, but I would love to hang out sometime. Sorry."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: That sounds fine.

Leah: I feel like that you shouldn't ... I assumed it was said like that because-

Nick: No, but the tone here is like, "Oh, I can't come over because ... Lisa's here."

Leah: Oh, yeah. Then, that's not ...

Nick: "I would love to come but, got Lisa here, and you know ... Lisa ... So ..." [Giggling]

Leah: I didn't even think of that reading of it.

Nick: If you say it like that, and Lisa hears you, then it'd be like, "Oh, you don't want me here. Oh, okay ..."

Leah: I assumed that this person just wanted everybody to feel as wonderful as possible, but you're right, that was a possible reading of it.

Nick: I mean ... Tone. Yeah, tone. Etiquette, on some level, always comes down to tone.

Leah: I mean ... Did you say Lisa's here in a way where it made Lisa feel like a burden?

Nick: Yeah! Yeah, I did.

Leah: Oh, no ...

Nick: Yeah. You did. Oh, you're just having a totally new take on this question.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: Yeah. Then, to end the call, I said, "I really wish I could come over." Yeah, tone.

Leah: Oh, wow. Okay.

Nick: Yeah, so what can you do next?

Leah: Well, I think the original way you said it would have been totally fine.

Nick: Yes [Giggling]

Leah: You can express to people that you wish you could see them, but you have somebody here, and, you know, next time ...

Nick: Yeah. "So sorry, Lisa's here now, but I would love to hang out."

Leah: Yeah, that seems-

Nick: Yeah, very nice and normal.

Leah: Very nice and normal.

Nick: The fact that this question has been written to us, and someone took time to write us this question-

Leah: So, you think they feel guilty?

Nick: -means that ... Well, it also means that Lisa is mad at her now.

Leah: I guess they're just gonna have to apologize.

Nick: Yes, I think I would clarify. Yes, I would clarify. Because, also, you can express regret that you can't do something without making your current guests feel bad.

Leah: Yeah, you can just say, "I just meant to express regret because that person I felt was feeling left out. I didn't in any way mean to insinuate that I didn't want to be with you. I apologize."

Nick: I think let's text Lisa; throw some animated GIFs in there; and just say, "Oh, didn't mean it to come across that way."

Leah: Perfect.

Nick: Our last question is: "I'm a 60-year-old nana, and my husband and I own a large home on a beautiful lake. We love having guests, but I would prefer inviting them myself. Instead, his side of the family texts us when they are coming, and usually stay seven to ten days, with their grown children. There are several brothers that come, and their visits always overlap, so we end up with about 10 people. They are coming from out of state, and my daughter has three very young children who I live close to and help with. I'm planning on not being there this year when they all come, but I know my husband is gonna think I'm rude, again, to his family. What would you say to them?" Hmm!

Leah: Hmm. I just love when someone says they're a nana because my dad's mom was my nana.

Nick: [Giggling] I like that detail. Yeah.

Leah: I think that- I feel like you can have a conversation with your husband about how many people can be at the house and how people need to organize in advance, so it's manageable.

Nick: Yes, it does sound like our letter-writer believes that guests should be invited.

Leah: Right!

Nick: And-

Leah: Which doesn't seem insane to me!

Nick: Not an insane thing, no. I feel like I also believe this. The husband, however, believes that it's okay for guests to invite themselves. These are very incompatible styles of hosting people in your home, so I think, yeah, they do need to have a little conversation about how we're gonna handle this, yes.

Leah: I think it's fair to feel that 10 people just showing up at your house, inviting themselves, is a lot to handle.

Nick: For sure, yeah. I think you are correct to feel irked by this. Unfortunately, you are still a host in your home, so, unfortunately, these people are now guests, regardless of how they became guests. So, I think it is a little strange to just peace out and disappear while they're there. I don't know if I love that. I feel like you probably should be a host still, unfortunately ...

Leah: I think you need to have the conversation about when they come, and if they refuse to change it-

Nick: Well, the invitation has already happened. I don't think we can unring that bell. These people are showing up.

Leah: Sometimes, you just can't have that many people around you for that amount of time without losing your mind!

Nick: Oh, sure.

Leah: She's now not been able to set up any healthy boundaries.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: You have to take care of yourself a little bit.

Nick: Yes, that's fair. I mean, one of the problems is it sounds like this is not the first time this has happened.

Leah: Right.

Nick: This has been going on for a long time.

Leah: So, I feel like she's at the end of her rope on this.

Nick: Maybe. Yeah. I guess, here's a potential solution. One is we need to have a conversation with the husband about how we're gonna do things in the future; like this has to be the last time this happens.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Any future invitations, there needs to be a conversation about how that's going to go down in advance, and there needs to be consensus. Hopefully, we can come to some agreement in the future. For this event, the invitations are already there. Those people are coming. They're coming to your house. I guess you should show up a little bit. Maybe you don't need to be there for the full 10 days that they're there, but I feel like you should show up for a few meals, show your face, participate a little bit, because if you totally disappear, I guess that's totally rude. It definitely sends a signal that you don't like these people, and you don't want to be around them.

Leah: I mean, you may be wanting to send that signal.

Nick: Well, in which case, okay, yeah, then, great! Then send that signal and know that that's the signal you're sending.

Leah: You could say ... It's possible; some people get- like, "I have migraines ... This is a lot for me. I'll come back and forth, but I can't be ... There's a lot of people running around." I'm not saying she has migraines, but some people ... You know what I mean? I don't know what the full situation is.

Nick: I don't think there even needs to be a full situation. I don't love the idea that there would be all these people in my house that I did not invite that I now have to entertain and host for.

Leah: No, I don't think so at all, but I was just saying that because you're saying that you think that she should stay, and I was trying to say reasons why I think she should be able to go.

Nick: Well, yeah, okay. I guess why I think she should stay is that she is still a host, I guess ... Right? She's still a host.

Leah: Well, she was kinda host forced upon her. What I think is happening is that, often, people will be like, Iím gonna show up at your house," and then, her husband was like, "Yeah, that's fine." My guess is that Nana is the person that handles everything-

Nick: Who always deals with ... Yeah. Exactly. She's the one that has to deal with it.

Leah: So, she's like, "Okay, but then you have to be the person to do the laundry, and cook the meals because I had no ability to set up boundaries in my own home as to when they were gonna be here."

Nick: Yeah. That may be something that's happening here. Yeah. So, you feel like it's totally fine for her to just not be there the entire time?

Leah: No. I mean, I feel it's edgy. I feel it's real edgy.

Nick: Right. Yeah, it is. That's why I said she should show up a little bit as a compromise.

Leah: I want her to be able to protect her mental and physical health. If 10 people that you didn't invite, and clearly, this has happened many times, is a lot! At a certain point, you do have to take care of yourself.

Nick: Okay, so are we agreeing?

Leah: I think we can't, necessarily, because we don't know what the conversation was before. Has she already said-

Nick: I think there's been no conversation before; that historically-

Leah: I think that she needs to have a conversation.

Nick: Yes. We agree that that needs to happen. We need to have a get together, where we air this out and we get to some agreement about how invitations happen and who the people are, how many there are, who does what, when they're here. We need all that.

Leah: And then, also, how the house- how people can get downtime when the people are here.

Nick: Yes, that's a good separate conversation, but when you are a host, it is important to not have to host 24/7.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Your guests need to be good guests, which means they leave you alone sometimes.

Leah: If you have that conversation and then it doesn't go anywhere near the way you want to have that conversation, then I think you have to set up a way to take care of your mental space and be like, "I'm gonna have to be away for the time. I'll come back for some meals, or whatever."

Nick: The barbecue on Sunday, yeah.

Leah: Maybe you'll have that conversation, and something will actually change.

Nick: Maybe. It does sound like this is unsustainable, currently.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And that we do need something to change. But, yeah, I think we need some healthier boundaries.

Leah: I think you are allowed to set healthy boundaries.

Nick: Always. Always. Always.

Leah: But have the honest conversation with your spouse up top and see if there are things that can change. Maybe somebody could stay in a hotel.

Nick:Oh, that's not happening here.

Leah: I'm just throwing ideas out-

Nick: No! [Laughing] This is a lakeside- big house-

Leah: Tent on the lawn! Tent on the lawn!

Nick: Tent on the lawn ... Yeah, I don't think that's going to make that better, but I think if she just felt like she had control over the guest list, and the dates of arrival, and the dates of departure-

Leah: Which she should be able to have.

Nick: Always, yes. The dates of departure should always be established in advance. So, that's what we would suggest.

Leah: Good luck!

Nick: Yeah, good luck. Well, thanks for all these great questions, everybody.

Leah: Really great questions!

Nick: If you have questions for us - and you do ... Oh, yes, you do! - please send them to us. Send them to us at our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can leave us a voicemail. You can send us a text message. You can slide into our DMs.

Leah: Woo! So many ways!

Nick: [Giggling] We would be delighted to answer them. We'll see you next time!

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

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