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Positively Polite: Rules For Meeting The New Social Standards

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Times and technology have changed, and when it comes to what’s acceptable and what’s not, so it seems, have the rules of the game. And, in a world that makes it mandatory to be not only polite, but also politically correct, some of us may need to correct our current behaviour.

· Cell phone conundrums: Kids should be told NOT to call during a work day except when checking in or in case of emergency. And, the same rules apply when you are having a private dinner with your friend or spouse. Should you cell phone go off, it’s best to presume it’s for a good reason and answer it than risk not dealing with an important and time sensitive issue. If it’s not important, keep it short and sweet and remind your child of the rules, when you get home (that is). Then, apologize to whomever you are with and give them your full, undivided and uninterrupted attention.

· Dating Dynamics: I can remember as early as back in High School feeling awful about having garnered the attention of a friends affections, even if they weren’t going out yet. And, though (serious) relationships seemed to come and go, I never felt right about dating a friend’s ex. But, even in more mature circles, it seems that not only relationships but marriages come and go, so what if you’re attracted to a man whose child is in your class? This can be tricky, especially if the kids are friends. On the other hand, it’s likely you can get to know this person simply BECAUSE of your kids and their friendship and on a level that will put dating pressures to the side. Besides outside of work and mommy activities, it’s not likely you’re hanging out in a host of places that make it conducive to meeting a single man, let alone one that will understand the ramifications of divorce, singlehood and or parenthood. Just remember to take things slow (for your sake AND the sake of the kids). And, while you don’t have to keep your “friendship” entirely on the down-low, it’s best to be careful and discreet. And, of course there’s no reason to disclose any of the details, even is someone asks. If you want to respond to prodding questions, keep it short and sweet, simply acknowledging the courtship and nothing else.

· Blogging “Blunders”: With more and more folks making their living off the Internet we all know or will eventually come across someone with an online business. And, this person may ask us to not only purchase their product but log into the site and blog about its many benefits. If it’s a good friends and you do genuinely have interest in the topic or product, make time to help her out, at least once. However, if the person is simply an acquaintance and or you don’t’ care for the product or the discussion topic, simply explain that your schedule won’t allow you to do her any justice but that you’ll see about doing what you can, but without giving false hope or making any promises.

If on the other hand, you find her side something you disapprove of and can’t be somewhat honest about, explain politely that while you’d like to help out, it’s not your cup of tea and you can’t in good conscience do it. You can even say that you prefer to be a private person and don’t feel comfortable chatting online, especially about certain subjects or topics.

· Cleaning up your act: With everyone being super germ-conscious these days, some may wonder about sanitizing hands before dining out or at a friend’s house. After all, you wouldn’t want to offend anyone. While it’s best to use the restroom to wash up you may find yourself in a rush at a sandwich shop, eating on the run, or engaging in some impromptu noshing at a backyard bbq. In this case it’s not necessarily offensive to discretely sanitize. And, if your at a restaurant you may want to offer your friend a squirt or two, too.

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