How To Be A Good Dinner Guest | Dining Etiquette

Dining Etiquette | How to Be a Good Dinner Guest

Dining Etiquette

Knowing how to be a good dinner guest will ensure that you are asked back at another time. There are common rules of etiquette when you are invited to dine at someone’s place.

The following tips may help to make your stay more comfortable and impress the host. An invitation to dine at someone’s home is a gift; make sure that you are a good guest.

  1. Respond to the Invitation as soon as you can – When you are invited to dine at someone’s place make sure that you accept the offer within a reasonable period. This will allow them to plan their time as well as offer alternative dates if you have a scheduling conflict.
  2. Clarify WHO was invited – In most cases, the invite will come from a friend and it will likely not be a formal written invitation and they will say who is invited.  Still – that doesn’t mean that your children are invited unless expressly mentioned in the invite (be it phone, email or engraved invitation). If the invite doesn’t mention your children, say something like “Great! Let me just make sure that I can get a babysitter for the night!”.  When you say that, it will give the host the opportunity to either say “Don’t be silly – bring the kids!” or they will say “Can’t wait to hear back if you can make it!”.  if they say the latter, then your kids, no matter HOW wonderful you might think that they are – are just NOT invited.  Don’t bring them anyway.  Seriously – DON’T!
  3. If you have any dietary issues – Let them know of any dietary concerns that you may have. This will help the dinner to be prepared and eaten without any discomfort. If you are on a gluten-free diet, gently let them know that.  If you know that your host is not familiar with any restrictions that you have (vegan, gluten-free, kosher, etc), offer to bring a dish that you can eat.  A guest doesn’t want to show up and only be able to eat salad, bread and butter.  On the other hand, most hosts would be embarrassed (and somewhat annoyed for not knowing in advance) to go to the time and effort to prepare a meal, only to have their guests not eat it.  This is a 2-way street. If you have bona-fide food allergies or restrictions, POLITELY mention them to your host (and no “I hate anything with onions” doesn’t count)
  4. Give Cancellation Notice – If you should need to cancel, make sure that you do so within a reasonable period. This usually means an advance notice at least 48 hours ahead of the date planned. Your host might be shopping and preparing foods in advance and if something comes up, you want to minimize their cost as well as their inconvenience!
  5. Don’t cancel unless it is an emergency – once you have accepted an invitation, then you are bound by it.  Don’t back out at the last minute because you are too tired, or you had a bad day at work.  Your dog died?  You have the flu (or even a bad cold, especially if your hosts have small children)?  You are bleeding out of your eyes?  Those are good reasons.  Not realizing that is was the Season 4 Premiere of The Walking Dead that night is NOT a good reason!
  6. Arrive on Time- When invited for a dinner party, it is vital that you arrive on time. They have spent the time ensuring that the food is bought and prepared properly. Do not be late and cause the food to be overcooked. “Fashionably late” is only for very large parties (and even then, it is considered rude to show up late)
  7. Bring a Gift- It is important that you thank the host by bringing a gift to the dinner. This can be a bottle of wine, a salad, or even a dessert (although wine or chocolates are always best.  In the case of a formal dinner party, bringing a dish could be considered rude). If you have no time to pick up something to bring to the host, send something through the parcel post as a thank-you gift.

The above tips are just common dining etiquette, and should be followed at every dinner that you are invited to attend. Knowing proper dinner etiquette will help to ensure you are invited back another time.

10 Rules of Parking Lot Etiquette Society Should Follow

parking lot etiquette and manners

Parking a car is a simple process. Although anyone can park a car, people are constantly getting into altercations in parking lots with other drivers. Why is this? To be blunt, it is usually because someone is being rude or selfish. Calm, rational people rarely duke it out verbally or physically in a parking lot. Still, crazy things happen when you put lots of people in a confined area and expect them to get along. If everyone would follow some simple rules for parking, we would all have a place to park and no road rage incidents to worry about.

Here are my top ten parking lot etiquette rules to follow:

1. Leave the Ferrari at home if you are going to double park – Most people don’t double park so the ones that do really stick out like a sore thumb. If you have a car that is so valuable that you feel the need to double park, then leave it at home when you visit the Piggly Wiggly.

2. Don’t block traffic for a great spot to open up – Sitting and blocking an entire lane of the parking lot while you wait on someone to leave the store that parked on the front row is obnoxious. If someone is actually backing out, that is fine. Otherwise, you are not being very thoughtful by dominating the entire lane.

3. Observe the fire zones/loading zones – Pull into virtually any parking lot of any size and check out the loading/fire zones. They will almost always have a car or truck parked there that doesn’t belong. This includes cars sitting and idling. All it takes is one fire or emergency to understand why it is a big deal.

4. Handicap parking is for handicapped people – Duh!

5. Don’t squeeze it in just because you can – We all know someone that does this. They pull into a parking lot and find the tightest possible spot for their SUV just so they can brag about how they got it in there. Don’t be that person.

6. Let pedestrians pass – Pedestrians in a parking lot are always going to be in the right if you run them over. Give them plenty of room and be prepared to let them cross when you pass the front of the store. That brings me to…

7. Move slowly – There is absolutely no reason at all to drive fast in a parking lot. Only bad things can happen when you do this, so slow down and take it easy.

8. Keep kids beside you and not pushing the cart – If you are planning on letting your small children push your shopping cart, at least wait until you are in the store and they can only knock over wine displays and banana stands. As horrible as that may be, it is better than denting that Cadillac. Keep kids right by your side for their safety as well.

9. Put your cart back – When you do come out with your shopping cart and you are ready to climb back in the car, for Heaven’s sake put the cart back in the shopping bin. Don’t leave it out there for other cars to attempt to dodge.

10. Put your finger down – Road rage is an ugly thing. Keep your wits, calm down and don’t even think about showing your finger to anyone over a parking spot. People do it all the time and it needs to stop in a civilized society!

What tips would you add to this list of parking lot etiquette? Sound off in the comments below!

Giving a Woman a Gift | Clues For The Clueless!

gift-giving-etiquette

Giving a Woman a Gift – Clues for the Clueless

Giving a woman a gift is not rocket science. Right out of the gate, however, I am going to address the elephant in the room…men are not always the most intelligent gift givers. They give out some of the most lame brained, ignorant gifts ever thought up. The problem is an old one. The Neanderthals probably thought that giving their cavewomen new rocks to ground up grains with was a great gift too. Men simply don’t get it and for good reason…their focus is usually a bit off.

Think about it….when men are buying a gift, what exactly is on their minds?

  • Are they thinking about whether the gift will get them sex?
  • Are they thinking about how it might benefit them?
  • Are they thinking only about cost?
  • Perhaps they are men of rare intelligence…it is rare that they show any.

I kid, but it does make one wonder. Giving a woman a gift is really not all that tough. Here are some tips for the clueless for giving a woman a gift:

If the gift is going to benefit you, odds are it is a bad choice.

When you pick out a gift for your woman, the key is to think about what she loves. This is not an opportunity for you to finally get her that blender she has talked about. You should buy her the blender just because, dude.

If it is see-through, you are probably headed for some trouble.

Lingerie is a gift you get because you want to make her feel special. She will not feel special if you get her lingerie for her birthday. She will see right through you. Save this for Valentine’s Day as an add-on gift with something else.

There are few things that belong in the kitchen that should be on your radar.

Do you really think we don’t know that you will be eating the results too?

Appliances will get you a black eye.

Giving a woman a gift and getting your laundry done should not be related. This goes for ovens, vacuum cleaners or toasters too.

Find something that she has talked about

Women love using code language but we are pretty direct about certain things. Items we would love to own is on that list for sure. If you have been listening, you already know what we want. If not, then there is no saving you.

Be sentimental but don’t be cheap

What is the difference?

Writing your wife a song and then performing it for her on the guitar with a nice bottle of wine at your favorite private spot is sentimental.

Giving your wife a coupon for a kiss is cheap.

Don’t confuse the two.

Giving a woman a gift is really about common sense, guys. Think about what they want, consider who the gift is going to benefit and listen to what they have recently hinted at. It really is that simple.

No go buy her something nice.

Facebook Etiquette Questions

More Facebook Etiquette Questions

Who do you turn to for Facebook etiquette questions? It is not always an easy thing knowing what to do on Facebook. More importantly, knowing what not to do can be just as trying. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there were some type of Facebook guru out there that had all the answers?

Fortunately for you, I am just that person. At least I am the best thing you have going right now, so pull up a chair. Here are some Facebook etiquette questions I have been asked along with my wise answers for your perusal:

How much sharing is too much where your own content is concerned?

I understand that need to put yourself out there. If we are creative, entrepreneurial or trying to build a brand, a Facebook presence is important. There is a fine line between putting your name and brand out there and swamping every friend you have with oceans of self-serving content. Perhaps you might consider sharing something of theirs on occasion. It is amazing what sharing the love can do for their patience when it comes to your content blasting their cell every five minutes. Share, but be considerate of others.

Is it proper to stalk the pages of high school crushes on Facebook?

Most all of us have gone hunting an ex or two to see what they look like, who they are with and how ugly they have become since they were with us. While this might be fairly normal behavior, it is not without rules. If you are going to do this sort of thing, you have to follow the most important ones. Here are the rules that can’t be broken:

  • Never spend more than five minutes looking at a picture. Then it becomes a bit weird.
  • If you feel the need to make a comment, aim it at the couple and not the ex personally.
  • Never listen to music that was popular back then…when you were with the ex.
  • Step away from the keyboard if you begin to yearn. Yearning for someone you have not spoken to since fifth grade is not going to end well….ever.

Should you share what you ate this morning, afternoon and evening?

Some people on Facebook like to post every single thing they eat. This is no big deal, but these same types generally post every single thing they do period. If they are not a chef and are including a recipe, they are probably just making me hungry for the fun of it. That is not good for anybody. What is it that they always say? Don’t poke the bear? An occasional food post is fine, but I really don’t need to hear about every last thing you eat.

Why is posting my naked, drunk by the poolside photos a bad thing on Facebook?

If I really have to answer this, you have no right to be on Facebook at all. Still, there are countless of these on Facebook for the world to see. The bottom line is that you should not be sharing anything that you would not want your mom or dad to see. Cause guess what?

They can probably see it too. Along with your boss, your pastor, your teachers, your friends, your boyfriend….get the picture?

Why is it a bad idea to “like” every status randomly for speed’s sake?

There are those out there that simply have to like every single status update that comes through their feed. It is like a contest. I was looking over my Facebook feed and in just a short five minutes, I came across the following:

  • A mother talking about the loss of a child.
  • Someone that lost her pet of 15 years.
  • Someone that broke his leg.
  • A sister that was talking about her brother that died overseas.

What do these status updates have in common? People were liking them. What is likable about these posts? Nothing! They are terrible. These are the posts where you should comfort and take the time to type a kind word or two. If not that, then type nothing at all. Rather than think that people are actually that cruel, I have to believe that they simply were running through their status updates and trying “catch up” with all their likes. This is silly. Read the status updates and then decide what is appropriate.

Is it ever a good idea to poke someone on Facebook?

Though poking is a heck of a lot of fun in real life, it is not very fun on Facebook. This feature is so antiquated it is not even funny and the joke is old too. Get rid of it!

Why do people say things on Facebook that they never would in real life?

Generally because they are cowards. If you are being brave behind a keyboard, that is just sad. Never say anything that you would not say face to face. You know who you are and you know if you are doing this. Stop it, because we usually know who you are too.

That concludes this particular session of Facebook etiquette questions. If you have any questions you would like answered, let me know in the comments below. I will try to include them next time around!

Wedding Etiquette for Step Parent

bridezillas

Step parents are a scary proposition to many wedding planners and with good reason…there are a ton of various social minefields possible when you bring parents, step parents and weddings together. While some families are fortunate enough to have good relationships with their exes new spouses, others find it to be a complete train wreck. How do you deal with these situations in weddings and how does that work?

Here are some tips for wedding etiquette for step parent:

The bride and groom are numero uno – What the bride and groom wants plays heavily into these decisions. If the groom is closer with his stepfather than his biological dad and he asks him to stand up beside him, then honor that. Likewise for the bride. When they have an opinion on the subject, it should be the overriding answer to the following issues. Otherwise, you may consider the following rules as a general guide.

Write invitations to make all happy where possible – Invitations are a tricky proposition but can be handled rather easily by simply saying “The parents of” and leaving out names. If you do list the names, go ahead and list all involved parents if needed. Brand new step parents would not need to be included in most cases nor would they expect to be.

Taking her down the aisle – This is completely up to the bride, but you certainly can involve a pair of parents. If you like, have one on either side. Step dad could bring you in and then dad could bring you the rest of the way. Whatever the case, the bride is in charge of this all the way.

Seating issues – For Heaven’s sake this one is easy but people make it so darn complicated. All you have to do is make sure they all are on the front row together. At the reception, place them at two tables, both up front and center, each with their current spouse. Seating issues should never be a problem and if they are, perhaps the adults should take a look at just who is getting married.

Loudmouths not allowed – No matter what the issues may be between parents, if they can’t get along for the wedding they should not be present. Seat them apart from one another, avoid each other and whatever else is necessary, but anyone that can’t control themselves should be asked to leave. Weddings happen only once (hopefully) and it should be a joyous occasion no matter what your family history is.

Really, wedding etiquette for step parents should boil down to the needs and wants of the bride and groom. That pretty much covers the entire issue if you are putting the focus where it should go.

Phone Interview Etiquette

talking-on-cellphone

As we move towards a more high tech future all the time, phone and web interviews are becoming more and more popular. Why not? They are convenient, can do wonders for a nervous applicant and allow employers to look at twice as many potential employees in half the time. Along with this comes a whole new set of considerations for potential employees. How do you navigate these types of interviews properly?

Here are some phone interview etiquette tips for those that are not familiar:

Keep your information handy – When you interview on the phone, you should have your resume in your lap or on the desk in front of you. Don’t leave it in a file, across the hall or anywhere else. You don’t get to put your potential employer on hold.

Ditch the cell phone – Bad connections, funky ringtones, dead batteries and similar problems can all be avoided by using the good old fashioned landline. Don’t risk it with a cell phone.

Get rid of your interruptions – If you have the ability to turn off your call waiting, do so. Make sure kids and other distractions are in another room and that you are totally freed up to deal exclusively with the interview. The last thing you or they will want is interruptions.

Write everything down – If you have it in writing in front of you, repeated questions will be unnecessary. Nobody likes to repeat themselves over and over again. As they give you pertinent information, take notes as you go.

Know what you want to ask as well – If you have questions you want answers to, have them written down as well. Trying to remember them last minute is always irritating for you and the interviewer.

Speak clearly and don’t eat anything – If you are slurping on a milkshake while you try to phone interview or crunching potato chips, you are not going to get the majority of jobs. Leave the snacks for later.

Finally, dress the part – This is common sense if you are having a video phone interview, but it holds true even when you are doing a straight phone call interview. Why? Your attitude, demeanor and tempo will be different if you are dressed for success. If you are sitting there in your Superman pajamas discussing the ability to sell life insurance to professionals, somehow I think they will know. Put on a suit or at least some nice casual clothes folks.

Phone interview etiquette is much like any other type of interview. Treat it professionally and with respect and prepare beforehand, and you will be just fine.

Do you have any tips to add?

Proper Gift Giving Etiquette

gift-giving-etiquette

Proper Gift Giving Etiquette

Giving someone a gift is not really all that tough but you would think it was rocket science on occasion. Some people are just not blessed with the gift giving gene I guess. Giving a good gift requires that we think outside of ourselves, so I guess that can trip some folks up occasionally. Also, some people just don’t have the creative mind that it takes to come up with something truly unique and exciting.

These mistakes of gift giving are generally understood, but some gift giving mistakes are simply rude. How do we navigate the waters of giving out gifts without offending? Are there rules? Here are a few tips to help you out:

Re-gifting is okay…sometimes

If you receive a gift from your Aunt Samantha in Chicago and you decide your friend in Los Angeles would like it better, go right ahead and re-gift. The key here is to make absolutely certain that your re-gifting can’t be discovered. Hurting someone in that way is unnecessary and cruel.

A late gift is better than no gift

Gifts are optional expressions of gratitude or celebrations. You are not obligated to do anything at all, but generally speaking we should gift at appropriate moments. Many people find themselves in situations where they are unable to give a gift at a given time. This leads to avoidance behavior and other stupid mistakes. Instead, apologize and send your gift later. Friends will understand and those that don’t are really not someone you need in your life anyway.

Gift cards are okay…but not supreme options

Generally speaking gift cards work just fine these days as gifts. There are some notable exceptions…the Weight Watchers gift card to your uncle who has put on a few pounds and didn’t notice yet for example. Gift Cards are awesome when you are unsure what to get, but a personal gift that you picked out yourself is always better.

Keep in mind that the receiver is the one that should be happy…not you

It is a natural instinct to inject our own thoughts and opinions when we are gift buying. Imagine you are shopping for someone that loves country music and you love metal. That would be hard to shop without your own biases sneaking in. The key is to completely turn off that part of our brain and focus entirely on what you would want if you were them. What you like doesn’t matter.

Include the gift receipt

Re-gifting happens because people get things they would never use. Why not give them the option of getting something else if they don’t like it? The key is to put the receipt in with the gift and not to make a point of identifying it. Many people point out that it is in there and it comes out wrong. Just put the receipt in there and let them do as they may.

Never give with an agenda

There are those out there that still give gifts with an agenda or an expectation of something in return. This is so tacky and it always ends up in disappointment either for the gift giver or the gift receiver. If you have an agenda, you should save your money and simply give them a hug. Agenda givers are always obvious to the receiver and it is the ultimate insult to many.

Proper gift giving etiquette is really all about considering the person you are buying for, leaving your feelings at the door and giving with a pure heart. If you do these things with regularity, the blessings will come back to you a million times over.

Workplace Email Etiquette | Rules to Follow!

workplace email etiquette

Workplace email etiquette is something that is often overlooked but is vitally important in an office setting. Without some types of rules and etiquette, there would be complete and total grammatical anarchy and misunderstood smilies flying everywhere. If your workplace needs a lesson or two on this growing problem, share this article around with them. The life email you save might be your own.

Here are several workplace email etiquette rules to follow:

Leave the humor out - If you don’t, there is a good chance that someone is going to get offended or think you want something you absolutely don’t. Some people are genuinely incapable of understanding sarcasm, so leave it out as well.

Keep it quick and to the point - While your flowery words are awesome when you are writing your journal, they are not particularly popular when your boss is looking for simple numbers. Make it simple and quick.

Please don’t type in ALL CAPS - There are a number of situations where all caps makes sense. For example, you are writing an article about someone that is about to have a meteor dropping on their head. LOOK OUT would be perfectly acceptable then. There are precious few moments at work when this makes sense, however.

If you would not say it to your boss, forget about it - Guess what Sherlock? Your boss will probably see it if you go ahead and do it anyway. Consider yourself warned.

No Smilies or text speak - OMG! I am ROFL at such a silly notion! There is a decent chance that you will no longer be taken seriously if you send this type of language to others in your company. Save it for your teenager.

Always proofread – Check your email first and remember that your professional life is…well…professional. If spelling is one of your weaknesses, then you need to learn to be a better speller or take the risk of people not taking you seriously

Use normal fonts and sizes – You might think that pink scripture fonts are spectacular and that making them twice their normal sizes are fun, but you will look like a fifteen year old to your employer in most cases. Keep it professional with Arial or Times New Roman and a simple 12 pt. setting. There is no reason to ever send an email in pink anyways. Ever.

Workplace email etiquette is not a tough thing to learn and it is really all about common sense. The last thing you want to do is look silly…right?

Follow the rules people. You will be glad you did!

Tips For Being A Good Overnight Guest

overnight guest manners

When you are staying overnight as a guest with anyone, you want to be courteous and respectful.  There are some basic etiquette rules that must be followed if you expect to ever be invited back.  If you are not gracious and take their generosity for granted, you can really come out looking like a jerk. Here are some tips to ensure that never happens:

Bring a Gift

Whether you are blowing through town and a friend is nice enough to let you crash on his or her couch or staying for a few days in their guest room, be thankful.  They are saving you the money you would spend on a hotel room.  Something like a simple bottle of wine or a picture frame are both good ideas and they are inexpensive.  Showing up with just a suitcase might be construed as rude or discourteous. Break open that wallet and bring something to say thanks.

Their Home, Their Rules

Keep in mind that you are in their home and you should take their lead.  What you normally do at home is irrelevant.  For example, if your host goes to bed early, you should do the same.  Blaring a television or having lots of lights on when your host is trying to sleep is a quick way to lose a friend.  You also need to be aware of when your host gets up and consider how many bathrooms they have. Spending an hour in your best friend’s bathroom while they suffer outside the door is not a good way to get invited back again. You do not want to be sleeping on their couch until noon so get up when they do.  You should also let your hosts get ready first in the morning.  You can shower and get cleaned up after.

Replace What You Use

If you are using their hygiene products, food or anything else, replace it before leaving town.  At least be kind enough to ask if you can have certain things. You can also opt to bring things with you and then share these with the family.  This is a better option if you do not have time to run to the store before leaving.

Clean Up After Yourself

Your host does not want to clean up after you.  He or she is not running a hotel and you should not treat it as one.  If you use towels and bedding, gather them all and at least put them into the laundry basket.  If you are extra gracious, you can offer to wash them. If you use plates or cups, you should wash these.  When you leave, you should leave it exactly as you found it or better.

Roll With It

If your host has children or pets, there is a chance that there will be a personality conflict.  If your host’s five-year-old hates you, roll with it.  You are only there for the night and not having the kid’s blessing is not going to impact your entire life.  When it comes to pets, as long as they are not trying to bite and claw you in your sleep you can handle it. Not every animal likes every person.

Just remember that you want to leave a very small footprint when you visit someone overnight. Don’t leave a mess and offer to help when you can. Being gracious is rather easy if you listen to that little voice we were given during childhood. If it feels wrong, it likely is.

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

bridal shower gift etiquette

Bridal shower gift etiquette sounds like it should be pretty easy. I mean, you go and buy something off the registry (although you don’t HAVE to buy from the registry) and you are good to go, right? What seems like a pretty straightforward thing for most people actually can be quite confusing for others. You would be shocked at some of the gifts that people will show up with. Without getting too hoity toity about all this, here are some bridal shower gift etiquette rules to live by:

Make Sure You Register - Why? Consider this…Your old friend from middle school twenty years ago shows up.  You haven’t seen her since the days you went trolling the neighborhood during your “awkward, goth-vampire” stage. Because she is from out of town, and has no registry, she shows up with a vampire goblet for her ghoulish friend. If only you had registered and told her you wanted a gravy bowl instead, you would not be in this situation.

Register.

But Don’t Put The Registry Information on the Invitation – Nothing says “don’t forget to give me a gift” like telling them right on the invite where you want them to buy you a gift.  Your guests can ask about where you are registered when they RSVP.

For Heaven’s Sake Keep a List - The absolute worst thing a bride can do is try to remember who gave what. It won’t happen. Rather than scramble and embarrassing yourself later, have one person with very nice handwriting keep a nice list of who gives what. This is not to make anyone feel bad…it simply is for thank you notes later.

Only Invite People That are Invited to the Wedding – Can you imagine being that one girl that is invited to the bridal shower but is not invited to the wedding? That person will feel like the bride simply wanted her gift. Nobody should ever be included in the shower if they are not at the wedding. That is tacky with a capital T and it would be extremely insulting….yet people make the mistake all the time.

Don’t Ask for Money – Themed bridal shower gift etiquette says that you can specify certain categories of gifts. You can ask for lingerie gifts, kitchen gifts, bathroom gifts and even…ahem…bedroom gifts. Under no circumstances can you ask for fiscal gifts. People do this sort of thing all the time and it is sad. Don’t be sad.

Don’t do the “Bridal Shower Gift Thank You Note” Registry Thing – Yes, this is a real thing. I went to a bridal shower once where on the gift table they asked you to fill out an envelope with your address and gift on it. This was meant to help them send out a thank you note for the gift. Uh….that seems rather tacky to me and it almost feels like they aren’t really thankful at all. If you are throwing a shower, don’t make people do this. It is one step removed from having someone write their own thank you note and sending it to themselves.

Bridal shower gift etiquette is really not a complicated concept. Simply take the time to be thoughtful of others and follow traditions. Register if you are the bride to give folks options that make sense and buy from that registry if you are a guest. If you can’t then pick a gift that is totally safe and logical.

Hint…it is not a vampire goblet.

How To Deal With Toxic Siblings

toxic-siblings

Toxic siblings can have a major impact on your life.  They can harm your relationships, interfere with your job and even affect your relationship with your parents.  You need to determine how much toxicity you can put up with and set your boundaries.  You may need to cut them out of your life completely for the time being in extreme situations.  Before going to such extremes, there are some other things you can try first to maintain your family.

Set Boundaries

You need to be clear about what you will tolerate.  Once they cross the line in to being toxic siiblings, it is important to let them know this.  Some people are completely oblivious to the fact that they are being obnoxious.  There are also people who think they are being supportive when they really are not.

Make sure that you let them know what subjects you are unwilling to discuss.  For example, you may not want to talk about work, your significant other or your physical appearance with your sibling.  If they do bring this up, simply tell them you will not talk about it with them.

Be Able to Walk Away

There may be times where telling them “no” just does not work.  This is when you need to just walk away and not engage them at all. Be consistent in your efforts to reach them, but walk away when they cross established lines.  There is no need to get into an argument.  This will make things worse and can lead to your sibling becoming more toxic than he or she already is.

Be the Bigger Person

There will be times when you want to fire back at their criticisms and comments, but it is important to be the bigger person instead.  You must avoid letting yourself get angry.  Yes, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to toxic siblings.  If you cannot just walk away, try changing the conversation.  Ask about something that will not spark any arguments or controversy.  For example, if you and your sibling are both fans of a specific sports team, toss out a question about this team.  This should get the conversation back onto a much friendlier track.

Be Clear About Their Role

While it is great to be close to your siblings, this is just not always possible.  If you are not too close or if they are just toxic, be very careful about what you share with them.  For example, do not give them details about work and your relationships.  This just gives them ammo to shoot at you whenever they feel like it.  Save your deepest secrets for your best friend or someone you can trust.

Accept and Forgive

This person is your sibling so holding resentment is not a good idea.  Being angry will also interfere with your life.  You need to accept who and how this person is and move on.  It is also important to forgive them for the things they have said and done.  This probably will not be easy, but you will feel lighter and more positive when you are no longer mad or resentful.

What are some of your tips for dealing with toxic siblings?

Etiquette Tips for Staying In A Hotel

hotel etiquette

Staying at a hotel is not a license to act like you are back at Spring Break with all your buddies. Although you are welcome to have a great time, you need to do so while acting like an adult. There are certain rules you should follow to ensure you always welcome to return when you finish your stay.

Here are some tips for staying in a hotel and being a good guest:

Tip Appropriately

Those working at hotels are not exactly raking in the bucks in their hourly pay.  They rely on tips for a large chunk of their income.  If someone carries your bags, brings you room service or parks your car, show a little appreciation.  A few bucks is plenty and they will appreciate it.  If you get to be known as a good tipper, you will likely get better, faster service too.  This is a win-win for all involved.

Check Out on Time

Do not make hotel staff and new guests wait for you just because you decided to sleep in.  Know when you must check out by and make it a point to check out at least 30 minutes in advance.  It is rude to check out late because it causes a lot of other people to need to rush to get that room ready for the next person.

Clean Up After Yourself

Just because hotels have housekeepers does not mean you can leave a huge mess.  Put all of the used towels and washcloths together, throw your garbage in the garbage can and make sure that everything that was there when you got there is in its proper place.  This will take you 10 to 15 minutes to do and will save a housekeeper valuable time.  On that note, you should also tip every day.  Housekeepers tend to rotate, so if you only tip on your last day, only the housekeeper who happens to get your room that day will get the tip.

Mind Your Manners

Say “please” and “thank you” when interacting with the hotel staff.  These folks work hard and a little kindness goes a long way.  Your tips do not make up for a bad attitude and rude behavior.  This goes for your fellow guests too.  Hold doors when you can, smile and just be polite overall.  This will help to make the entire trip more enjoyable.

Keep it Down

When you are in your room, make sure that you realize that there are likely people in the rooms next to, above and below you.  Blasting your television or radio is rude and can ruin a trip for someone around you.  This is a big place where the golden rule comes in.  You certainly do not want to be kept awake or jolted awake by noise, so be courteous to others as well.

What are some of your best tips for staying in a hotel?