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Time to Address Table Manners

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: We need help in handling a family situation that arose during a Thanksgiving visit. My brother-in-law has no table manners.

He generally forgoes silverware and eats whatever he thinks appropriate with his hands. He does this both at home and in restaurants. Fork food is shoveled onto the fork with his fingers rather than a knife. Picture that -- with turkey and gravy. Then he wipes his hands on his pants. The napkin is reserved for blowing his nose after he eats.

My sister watches in apparent disgust but doesn't say anything. They have been married for more than 40 years. Nobody wants to sit opposite him as he shovels food into his mouth. How do we handle this behavior? -- Disgusted

Dear Disgusted: It's shocking that after 40 years of marriage, your sister has not said anything and still watches in disgust. His behavior at the table is awkward and unappetizing for everyone. You have to speak with your sister about it. If he is invited to Thanksgiving and is going to sit down with the family, he must use a knife and fork, and under no circumstances can he use the napkin to blow his nose at the table. If he cannot behave, you might put him at the kids' table, though his atrocious manners would set a terrible example for children.

Tell your sister that unless he shapes up his table manners, he is going to have to sit out of dinner. Maybe he can come over for drinks before dinner, but he will lose his right to sit with the family at dinner. He might not even know that what he is doing is so bad. That is why it is up to your sister (his wife) to tell him!

Dear Annie: This is regarding "Seeking Opinion," the senior woman who was debating whether to ask for a ride to her church.

I think there was a missed opportunity to engage the church to help. Churches that I've attended readily stepped up by providing a ride, which also served to create and build a connection between the rider and the "chauffeur."

I would have recommended contacting the pastor of her church and asked for help arranging a ride. If they didn't eagerly respond, I'd recommend finding a new church that did. A lack of response indicates that church is not her "tribe" -- time for something better. -- Exploring Options

 

Dear Exploring Options: What a great suggestion! Thank you for sharing this keen insight, and it sends a powerful reminder message to pastors everywhere.

Dear Annie: This year, I am grateful to have hosted a meal and love with two other family units who were far from their own families (in several ways).

You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends -- and show them the caring you wish all biological families would have. -- Friends Are Family

Dear Friends Are Family: Thank you for sharing.

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"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

 

 

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