March 1, 2021

Trespassing Nomads, Getting Loud in Hot Tubs, Receiving Unwanted Gifts, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about sleeping in friends' houses without permission, enjoying hot tubs at night, thanking people for unwanted gifts, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)

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  • What do I do about a friend who stayed in my apartment without my permission?
  • How to I handle my neighbor who thinks I'm being too loud in my hot tub?
  • Do I have to send a thank you note for an unwanted "gift"?
  • What is the proper etiquette for sending a gift when someone does pro bono work for you?
  • PSA: Please don't use your phone in waiting rooms




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


Nick: Hey everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And we got so many great questions from you all in the wilderness ...

Leah: [howls]

Nick: ... that we have a bonus episode. So here we go.

Leah: Ah!

Nick: Buckle up. This is a journey. Wow.

Leah: This one will make you sweat.

Nick: Quote, "I have an old friend from high school who frequently cancels plans last minute, and doesn't make much of an effort to maintain a relationship at all. She then moved to a different city with her boyfriend, and over the past year has rarely reached out or takes days to respond when I text to try and keep in touch. Recently, she and her boyfriend broke up, and she decided to begin what she's describing as a "nomad lifestyle," which led her to briefly visit my city last month. At the time of her visit, I was actually out of town, and she made a point to text me and say that she was sad we were not there the same time, and she would have loved to have seen me."

Nick: "She happens to be good friends with my current roommates, and while she was in town, I frequently saw posts on Instagram showing that she was in my apartment spending time with them. I asked one of my roommates where she was staying and they said, 'Oh, she's staying in your room. She said she asked you.' I was absolutely enraged. Not only was this a huge invasion of privacy, but I had been paying rent in a very expensive city for a room that she stayed in for free with no permission. I texted her to say that I just found out, and that I was so uncomfortable I didn't know what to say. Her response was extremely defensive and unapologetic, saying that she assumed it would be okay because she would have let me do
the same, and that she was planning on telling me that day—at which point she'd already been in my bed for a week—and that she was planning on leaving me a nice card and gift, but quote, 'I suppose it doesn't matter now.'"

Nick: "I told her that I understood she's trying to save money with her nomad lifestyle, but I've been paying for the room while I'm gone and she should repay me for the time she's been staying there without permission. She agreed and asked me to send her a detailed Venmo request, but she hasn't paid it since I sent it more than two weeks ago. My question is, am I justified in asking her to repay me for sleeping in my room for more than a week without permission? If so, how do I go about reminding her to pay me back as promised? I honestly had no desire to maintain this friendship before these events, so I am not terribly concerned about ending it on a bitter note." Oh, wow!

Leah: Wow, I just—I get so angry.

Nick: Yeah, I mean ...

Leah: Also, the audacity when some people have obviously been caught doing something untoward, and then put it on the other person.

Nick: It's a skill. That is a true skill, to be so bold as to try to make your bad behavior someone else's fault. I mean, that doesn't come easy to everybody.

Leah: [laughs] It's a very—it's a great, very generous way be like, "You know what?" That almost could be a response. "It's incredible. It's a gift you have, that you would take something where you are so wrong and try to make it my fault. I want you to know I think you have a gift."

Nick: I often think how wonderful would it be if I could be so bold and shameless? Like, how freeing would that be if you felt no shame, and could just act with impunity in the world? Like, wouldn't it be, like, liberating in some weird way?

Leah: I often think about that.

Nick: To not feel constrained about society's rules?

Leah: But then I think there must be a downside somewhere. Like, somewhere along your life, you realize, oh, I've been unfair and have bad relationships. Like, at some point it must catch up.

Nick: Oh, it always does. Yes, you're like, "Oh, why don't I have any friends? Why don't people want to spend time with me? Why don't I have any deep relationships that are meaningful?" Yes. No, these are all consequences of bad behavior and bad etiquette, which is why the show exists: to remind everyone that it's actually in your best interest to be polite to other people, you know? If you want to be selfish about etiquette, like, have at it. The result is the same, which we're happy with.

Leah: It's just so amazing that there are so many of us who over-worry about people's feelings that it keeps us up at night.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And here are people just doubling down.

Nick: These people!

Leah: Doubling down!

Nick: Yes! Also, I mean, there's actually a lot that I kind of love about this. I love the type of person who's like, "Well, I would have let you borrow my thing." And it's like, "Yeah, but I have nicer things than you do. I don't want your things. My things are not equivalent to your things. I don't want to borrow your thing."

Leah: When people say, "I would have let you do this, that's why I assumed you would let me do this," but then when the roommate said, was it okay, and then they said, "Oh, I asked," they know they're lying. They know they're lying.

Nick: Oh, yeah!

Leah: That's why they lied to the roommates. So then now they're trying to make you feel guilty by saying, "I would have done that." Well, if you would have done that, then you wouldn't have lied to the roommates. You would have said, "Oh, I didn't ask. I just assumed it was okay," if that's what you really believed.

Nick: Right.

Leah: But she doesn't believe that. And that's why she lied.

Nick: Yeah. Do we think the roommates are to blame at all here? Should they have sensed something was amiss?

Leah: Oh, yeah. The roommates should have double checked. I wouldn't let somebody in the house because somebody said it was okay.

Nick: Yeah, that's—I think I agree there, yeah. And also, we know this person. Like, we're friends with this person. We know what this person is capable of. Like, I can't imagine this behavior feels shocking to anybody who knows this person.

Leah: Also, if people don't live in a city, it's very different when people, like, stop at a house and stay. In a city apartment where it's like you have all your belongings in this very small space, to have somebody just randomly show up and stay in your space, it's not like they in the extra room over the garage.

Nick: Yeah, this is not a guest room, yeah. No, I mean, this sense of personal violation here is deep. I mean, this is your bed. Like, it doesn't get more intimate than that. Like, this is your inner sanctum. Like, this is your safe space, and you have been violated. So you are absolutely allowed to be totally infuriated by what has happened.

Leah: And she should absolutely repay you.

Nick: So here's the thing about that. I get that we want to punish her for doing a bad thing, and one of the ways we can punish her is to make her pay money. But I don't know if I agree with the argument that you are owed money here. Because the apartment was sitting vacant, your room was vacant. You were not going to be making money from somebody else. And she took a slot. It wasn't like an Airbnb rental that you weren't able to take advantage of because she was there. So I don't know if she "owes" you, quote unquote, because it's not a hotel room that she should pay for. If there is something that has gone wrong, like she broke something, or you feel the need to fumigate everything and, like, dry clean the sheets, I think, yes, you could get reimbursed for those expenses. Absolutely. But to prorate the rent, like, is that what you're gonna do? You're gonna prorate the week? It would be nice if she offered, but I don't know if we demand it from her.

Leah: I absolutely see what you're saying, but I don't think our letter writer is unjust in asking. Because this person is not treating this person like a friend. They're just showing up, using their stuff, threw their relationship away when they had a new boyfriend, completely ignored them. And now that they need something, they're showing up and taking it without asking. So if that's how you're gonna treat me, then you're gonna pay me.

Nick: Okay, yeah. This is not a friendship, this is a business relationship. Landlord and tenant.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay. Okay.

Leah: Obviously, if this person was a good friend, I'm sure our letter writer would have been like—I bet if this person had asked, our letter writer would have been like, "You know, I wish we'd talked more over this, but of course, I understand you're doing this."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But it's the lying! They lied and then is putting it on our letter writer. It's like, well, if you're not gonna treat me like a friend, then you don't get the benefits of my friendship, and you can pay for the room.

Nick: And then do we do something about the roommates who let this happen?

Leah: I would definitely tell them that it was uncool.

Nick: Yeah, definitely not cool.

Leah: I would say in the future, if somebody says that they have my permission, I would love it if you would check with me.

Nick: Right. And then I will un-deadbolt my door.

Leah: I mean, I see what you're saying that—but I just think this person is—once somebody starts lying to your face and making you think that you're being crazy.

Nick: Yeah. No, I get that she should be punished and there's a price that she should have to pay. But it turns out it doesn't matter, because I followed up with this person, the Venmo requests have all been ignored and it's, like, been a month now. So, like, you're not gonna get any money from this person. It's over.

Leah: I mean, I didn't think this person was gonna pay.

Nick: Oh, yeah. I mean, that was always gonna be a long shot, but yeah, confirmed. So I think we just have to move on.

Leah: Oh definitely, we have to move on, because you're not gonna get them because this person is garbage. However, if I was not here and a friend of mine was like, "Hey, I have a friend, can they stay at your house?" And I was paying rent, but that person was, like, needed a place. I'd be like, "Sure." I don't even need to know the person, as long as somebody vouches that they're not gonna do something. I just want to be asked. Once I'm not asked, it's trespassing. Straight up, that's what it is.

Nick: Right.

Leah: It's trespassing, and they should pay. And I guess I'm just repeating what I said because it's weird for me to feel so violent about something. But I just feel with the owed thing? I do feel she is owed, because they didn't ask her permission and then they were in her things. And I find it gross.

Nick: It's totally gross and horrible, agreed. But I don't think being paid money makes it right. Like, if you discovered that someone allowed someone to sleep in your house without your permission and then were like, "Well, here's $250." Like, that's not gonna make a difference for you. Like, the violation is the violation.

Leah: No, but she asked for the money. No, she's still gonna have the violation, but she's like, Well, if you're gonna do this, then I need to be paid for it."

Nick: And would that make you feel whole? And would you be over it and you would say, "Okay, this is a square deal," then?

Leah: I wouldn't handle this the same way this person handled it. This person wants money for feeling this. So in that case, I see that if that's what she wants to make her feel better that this happened, that that's what she should get. This is not what I would ask for.

Nick: I see.

Leah: Money wouldn't make me feel better.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, there's no price that I would feel good about this.

Leah: No, I would follow that person to wherever they go next.

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: No, I wouldn't. I say that I wouldn't. I'm a long game, 10 years, 15 years.

Nick: Oh, yeah. Very strategic, yeah.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Our next question is, quote, "How late is too late to be in your backyard talking? We spent a lot of money remodeling our backyard so we could have a little private retreat to relax after work. My husband and I have high-stress jobs, and enjoy having a space to check out at the end of the day. We put in a spa, and like to go out and relax after dinner a couple of nights a week, usually between seven and eight o'clock, and we'll sit there for about an hour venting about work or talking about weekend plans. The neighbor behind us made a comment to another neighbor that we are too loud, and asked for my phone number so she could confront me about it. We always try to be courteous and keep our voices down and any background music low. And we're usually done and in the house by nine o'clock on weeknights, and even on the weekends we aren't out there later than ten o'clock. Are we staying out too late? Should we be going in earlier?"

Leah: And this person sent us pictures and a video.

Nick: Yes, so we have collateral. So first, just to clarify, a spa is, I think, like a hot tub.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I think that's what we're picturing. And I know there's technical details about, like, is it attached or plumbed or is it mobile or there's, like, technical definitions of hot tubs. But yes, picture, like, a square tub of water with jets and bubbles.

Leah: And then there's—it's not connected to the fence. There's room between the hot tub and the fence for the neighbor.

Nick: Yeah. So in this situation, there's a hot tub under, like, a loggia, like a little, like, covered porch area.

Leah: Like a roof.

Nick: Like a roof or loggia, whatever you like.

Leah: For the utilitarian language people such as myself, it's a roof. [laughs]

Nick: And this is sort of like a standard suburban backyard. I can see the neighbor sort of a standard suburban distance away. So it's sort of that situation. And the video shows the sound level of what's happening. We'll post a link to it. There's nothing identifiable about it, but you can get a sense of what we're hearing.

Leah: It's a very calming sound.

Nick: Yeah, I actually kind of liked it.

Leah: I immediately kind of took a nap. I was like, "Oh, this is lovely."

Nick: So ...

Leah: May I just add one more thing?

Nick: Yeah, yeah.

Leah: I thought that you and I could do a whole show called Neighbors.

Nick: Are we neighbors? Do we have to live next to each other now?

Leah: No, we are not neighbors.

Nick: Okay. Oh, so definitively, Leah. I would be a delightful neighbor! Think of all the sugar you could borrow.

Leah: No. Oh, I didn't think it'd be the other way. I think it'd be the other way around, you would hate to be my neighbor.

Nick: Yeah. No, I don't care for the poppin.

Leah: [laughs] I know you don't care for the poppin. I keep horrible hours.

Nick: That's true.

Leah: You would be mortified. No, where we just handle neighbor situations. It's—we get so many that we just have to show up and be like, "Hey, we're next door. We're gonna figure this out.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Neighbors. But I—so go ahead. What you were gonna say.

Nick: Well, I was saying that I'm actually from Marin County, and we are famous for our hot tubs. We are so famous in fact, that George H.W. Bush got into huge trouble for making a hot tub joke about Marin. So we take it very seriously. I know my way around a hot tub. So to me, it sounded like a hot tub. Like, it's a standard hot tub sound. It was not louder than that. And it wasn't even on, like, a wood deck. Sometimes when you have a hot tub on a wood deck, it actually resonates louder and vibrates like a piano. So this was actually, like, on stone or cement. So it wasn't doing that. And I feel like these hours in this community, this is, like, in Southern California, like nine o'clock, ten o'clock, that's totally fine. Like, that did not feel outrageous. So I feel like these are neighbors that just want pin-drop quiet, which I think is unreasonable.

Leah: I agree with you 100 percent. And I actually don't even think it matters where they are. These are reasonable hours.

Nick: These are also reasonable hours, yes.

Leah: If you are a neighbor and somebody is zipping it up by nine o'clock and you can't handle that, you clearly need to move into the woods. Because—and this letter writer is clearly conscientious.

Nick: Very. Yes.

Leah: They just want to be in their backyard, speaking in low voices, sitting in water that happens to be bubbling until 9:00 p.m.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: That's not even—that's more than reasonable.

Nick: And I was thinking, like, is the sound any different than, like, the AC that's running outside of your house? Like, in Southern California, you have an AC, probably. Like, it's going to be a motor there. Like, there's a lot of ambient motor sounds in the neighborhood, I'm sure.

Leah: Oh, and we all have neighbors that have noises that we don't love or, like, habits we don't love. And it's sort of like an agreement that it's kept within reasonable hours. And then—but that's a part of being a neighbor.

Nick: Except for windchimes.

Leah: Except for windchimes. Then stop bringing in the evil spirits, and that's because they work all times of the day. If you're windchimes stopped at 9:00 p.m., I could deal with it.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It's 1:00 a.m. where the devil's coming through my window that I'm not into it.

Nick: So I think, like all noise complaints, I think the way to handle it if you are confronted by an angry neighbor, is you want to have empathy for their situation, and their feelings are valid. So you want to kind of approach it with a, how can we solve this problem together? And you could offer to, like, run the hot tub, go to their house to hear what they hear. Because maybe there are some weird echoey thing that your little, like, loggia roof is causing and, like, it's focusing the sound in a weird way. Or maybe they don't like the music soundtrack you're playing. And so, like, the bass is sort of carrying in a weird way. Or perhaps they just don't enjoy joy and the sound of laughter.

Leah: It's probably that one.

Nick: So whatever it might be. But I think going to their house to hear what they hear would be a good starting point, if they want to go there with you. And then if there's something you can do about it, I think I would make an effort. You know, maybe we can put an outdoor curtain, maybe, you know, to muffle sound. Or maybe we can do something different. I don't know. But I think just your neighbors are gonna have to also live with this.

Leah: I think, you know, as somebody who's worked in the service industry a long time, the first rule was whenever somebody'd say they needed something or something was off, we were to be like, "Oh, absolutely. How can we?" A lot of times it can't be fixed at all. People just want to say something because they're those type of people, which is clearly what this neighbor is. That being said, I think because I think this is a reasonable hour and you're obviously not being loud, it's within this person's choice whether or not they want to have to go through this dance just to be, "Oh, let me come and listen from your point of view. Let me—" it would be very nice of you to hear this person out, and then to still be like, "We're gonna keep it down at 9:00 and, you know, let me see if I can hamper the noise or—" that's you being kind. I don't necessarily think you have to do that. Because some people you give an inch, and then they're just gonna be like, it's a free for all.

Nick: Oh, that's true, yeah.

Leah: I think it's up to our letter writer how far down this road they want to go down with this person.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But I think as far as our letter writer who's worried, I don't think you're doing anything wrong.

Nick: I think you're not doing anything wrong based on the information presented, although we did not get any audio of you in the hot tub. So, you know ...

Leah: Or the—I thought the video was gonna be of the music. Like, how loud the music is.

Nick: Yes, it was just gurgling.

Leah: So if this is accurate, then they're just being somebody who likes to complain.

Nick: Yeah, all right. And that does happen. What do you think about inviting them over to use the hot tub?

Leah: I had that on the list. There's a big cross through it.

Nick: Oh, okay.

Leah: Because I have a thing about hot water hot tubs.

Nick: As opposed to cold water hot tubs?

Leah: No, I was gonna say any kind of a—I don't want to share my hot water with other people. I don't know, for health reasons?

Nick: Okay.

Leah: No, thank you.

Nick: Okay. Fair enough.

Leah: She shouldn't have to, like, get a skin thing because she's trying to make this person feel better.

Nick: Okay, valid.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Our next question is, quote, "My aunt recently stopped by to drop off some quote unquote 'presents.' For the most part, these were things that I think she's just clearing out of the house. For example, one item was a box containing British, Canadian and other coins and bills, probably around $5 in total. It's like the leftovers you might have after an international trip. Another 'gift," quote unquote, was an old piece of costume jewelry that she didn't want anymore, even though she knows full well that I never wear costume jewelry. It's all so strange. Do we send a thank-you card for this stuff? Or is she just clearing her house out and moving stuff to mine?"

Leah: I don't think you have to send a thank-you note for this.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, the rule is that we write thank-you notes for gifts, even if they're gifts we don't want, you still write a thank-you note for a gift. So the question is, is this a gift?

Leah: No.

Nick: Yeah. This feels like garbage.

Leah: Well, it feels like what they're giving you is a job. "Here, this is stuff I didn't know where to get rid of it, so I'm gonna give it to you. And now you have to figure out a place to get rid of it."

Nick: Yeah. You take this to the thrift store.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah. I think we don't necessarily write a thank-you note. I mean, I guess if you were on the fence about it, I would let you write a thank-you email or text. Like, oh, thank you for the fun currency.

Leah: I think they're asking for our permission to not. I don't think they're actually on the fence. They just want permission that it's all right to not send it.

Nick: Well, was it wrapped?

Leah: Because they don't want these things. They don't want them.

Nick: Well, not wanting a gift is not a reason to not write a thank-you note for it.

Leah: I know, but somebody's constantly clearing out stuff that's in their house, giving it to you is not the same as. like, hey, it's your birthday. I brought this and I don't like it.

Nick: Yes, I'll concede this point. Yes. Although you could certainly be getting rid of something in your house, that's a delightful gift. So ...

Leah: Oh, of course. But I'm not—I don't get that that's what this is.

Nick: This is not that, yes. I think our show is actually now called This Is Not That.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Yeah, I think you can just say thank you when you are receiving it, because I think you are being given this in person. So, "Thank you so much, Aunt, for the garbage." And then yeah, toss it in the box in the garage and take it to the thrift store on your next trip.

Leah: I think you could also—and I mean I'm wild. This has clearly been a wild day for me.

Nick: Uh-oh. I think—are you gonna say no?

Leah: Yeah, I am going to say—I think you could actually say, "I appreciate that you always think of us, but we're actually trying to pare down. And so if you come up with things in your house that you think we might like, we're actually trying to get rid of things. I appreciate you thinking of me, but like ..."

Nick: Okay. I mean, that's very polite and direct. I like that answer. It feels a little unusual coming from you, but yes.

Leah: Well, I'm at a breaking point in my life, Nick. Let's be honest.

Nick: Okay. All right. Well, benvenuto.

Leah: People just can't bring stuff that they want to get rid of and drop it off at your house for eternity.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And then you're stuck trying to find a way to be polite about stuff you didn't want. I mean, this feels like not only a literal thing, but a big metaphor.

Nick: I see. Yeah, and as a reminder, when you're giving a gift, I think you want to make sure that the person you're giving it to might actually want it or like it or appreciate it. And so if you have a gift that's not thoughtful, that's a bad gift, usually.

Leah: She's also just clearly clearing out her house. I'm trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff now. I have stuff that I think people might like, and so I just text them, "Hey, I'm getting rid of stuff. I feel like this might be something you'd like. You know, I'm gonna take it to a store otherwise." And then I send a picture. And if they want it, I'll give it to them.

Nick: Yeah, that's the right way to get rid of stuff and not pretend it's a present. Correct. Okay. Well, speaking of presents, our next question is, quote, "What is the proper etiquette around thanking a lawyer for pro bono work? A little back story. A family member recently put me in touch with an immigration lawyer, who graciously agreed to help my fiance and I navigate the process of applying for a K1 visa, you know, the 90-day fiance visa. We are very grateful for his help, and we'll both send handwritten thank-you letters, of course. But I was curious, is a gift such as wine or a fruit basket appropriate? I can't seem to find a definitive answer, and was hoping you all might be able to shed some light on the matter." Okay. Well, first of all, pro bono—for anybody who doesn't know—that basically is when you're doing something for free. Like, if you're a professional, like a lawyer or a doctor and you provide your service for free, that's considered pro bono. So basically, you got some free legal advice.

Leah: And I think it's very nice that you—I just want to say again, our letter writers? So lovely.

Nick: Very thoughtful, yes. Very conscientious. I have ideas. What are your ideas?

Leah: My ideas were that I knew that you would have great ideas. I also immediately thought of, even though this is not at all the same, but when we talked about the realtor who helped the people find the house that they loved, and you were saying—because they were writing lovely thank you notes, but I think that if you saw something that you thought they would enjoy that reminded you of this person, like, if they like fruit or you saw, like, a lovely plate or, you know, something that they said in conversation.

Nick: Yes. I think one thing I was gonna mention—and so you're on the right track—is when you're working with somebody and you know it's a pro bono situation, throughout the entire time you're with that person, you want to look for clues for what kind of gift you might want to give. So if you're in their office, like, look for clues. Like, oh, do they collect Lladró figurines? Or did they mention an offhanded comment about a whiskey that they had and enjoyed? Like, you want to just look for clues for what they might enjoy and what they might like. And I think it's very nice to try and do something that's super thoughtful like that.

Leah: I keep it in my phone. If I'm with somebody and they say something offhandedly—like you're saying—that they like something, the next time I'm near my phone when they're not looking, I save it as an event. Like, I'll save it for the future when I know that person has a thing coming up or when I know I'm gonna want to give them something, so that way it pops up on my phone. I remember that they mentioned this. So I save it as an alarm for the future.

Nick: Oh, that's very clever.

Leah: That way I'm not like, "Where did I write that down?"

Nick: So have you recorded the fact that I want a Toto NX1 toilet?

Leah: I have, actually. But I haven't been able to put in my phone, but I wrote it down already.

Nick: [laughs] Because I'm ready for one. You want to give me one? I'm ready.

Leah: It may just be a picture of one. But I felt like that would be a nice card. [laughs]

Nick: So the other thing I was thinking of is, especially since this is an immigration situation, what would be very thoughtful would be to give a gift that is related to the culture of the person and where they're from originally. So let's say this is a Swiss person that's immigrating to the United States, then some native Swiss product would be very thoughtful. Like, let's get a box of Teuscher champagne truffles or something. So whatever country you're from, like, something from your culture would be a very nice sort of gesture in this situation, I think.

Leah: I love that idea.

Nick: Right? Very thoughtful.

Leah: I think that's so nice.

Nick: So our last thing is a vent and a PSA.

Leah: Thank you for coming.

Nick: And so this is wonderful. And it's quote, "I'm writing to you as I'm sitting in a doctor's office waiting room. People, text all you want, but for heaven's sake, don't use your waiting room time to call and catch up with everyone in your address book. This is not the time or place to loudly discuss someone's infertility, hemorrhoids, divorce, favorite recipes, provide a weather report or initiate or participate in any other mundane, non-emergency conversation. These guidelines should apply universally in all situations, and perhaps should be recited daily, like the Pledge of Allegiance or the Lord's Prayer. One, please put your phone on vibrate. No one wants to hear your favorite ringtone at full volume. Two, please, if you must answer a call, leave the waiting area. Or if your mobility prevents leaving, keep the conversation quiet and brief. And number three, please, when you cannot leave the waiting room to answer a call or play your voice messages, do not use your phone speaker feature. Hold the phone to your ear. Oh, I feel much better. Thank you. Oh wait. Somebody's phone is ringing." I feel this, yeah.

Leah: Feel it!

Nick: I understand this frustration. I share this frustration. Thank you for this PSA.

Leah: I was recently in a doctor's waiting room, and there was a man in there with me and he was playing Candy Crush with no earphones.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: At full volume.

Nick: That's a sound I want to hear.

Leah: Yeah. Ding, ding, ding! And I was doing like—in my head I was like, "I'm so grateful to have health care. How lucky it is that I get to be in this waiting room. I don't need to jump at this person. I don't know what they're going through. So grateful." But in my mind I was like, "Shut it off!"

Nick: [laughs] So if you have any PSAs for us or a question, we would love to hear it. So please send it to us through our website,, or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message, (267) CALL-RBW. Just be sure you're not in a waiting room when you do it. And we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!