Dear Abby: My husband and I have two daughters whom we have taught to use good manners. We are proud that they always remember to use their “pleases” and “thank yous” and many people have commented how polite they are.
My problem is that most of their friends have little to no manners at all. They never thank me when we carpool places or take them out for lunch or dinner. I rarely hear “yes, please” when I offer food or beverages at my home. Even my daughters say it at home!
Should I correct their behavior by asking them “What’s the magic word?” Should I tell them I want them to use their manners when they are with me? Should I speak to the parents about it? Or am I expecting too much?
I’m sorry you didn’t mention how old your daughters’ friends are, but if they are over the age of 10, I recommend against asking, “What’s the magic word?” It would be more diplomatic to talk to the girls privately and convey your message.
If you prefer they use better manners in your home, it is your right to say that to them. However, if you call the parents, the parents may think you are criticizing their parenting skills (and they wouldn’t be wrong).
As to whether you are expecting too much, frankly, you may be. Sadly, adults who never learned good manners themselves can’t pass them on to their children.
Dear Abby: About a year ago, I loaned a small amount of money to a close friend I have known since childhood. She promised to pay me back, but has yet to do so. I wasn’t too concerned because it was a minimal amount, but a few months ago she asked to borrow a larger amount. Again, I didn’t hesitate to help her out because she has been there for me several times in the past in important ways — although they weren’t financial.
Because the recent loan was a large one, I would like to be repaid. How do I tactfully ask her for the money without seeming petty or like I’m nagging? (I don’t like confrontation.) And is it too late to ask that the previous smaller amount be included as well?
Friend, not an ATM
You don’t have to be confrontational, and I wouldn’t advise it anyway. In light of the fact that your friend has made no effort to repay the first loan for an entire year, it would be neither pushy nor nagging to ASK when she intends to start. If she can’t come up with the entire amount, perhaps she can repay a little each month. However, if she can’t/won’t start paying you back, you may have to accept that you won’t be getting any of your money.
In the future, you should not lend anyone money without first getting a signed note stating that the money is owed to you and when it will be repaid. That way, if necessary, you can take the matter to court and have a leg to stand on when you get there.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.