234 votes
Accepted

What is the etiquette for asking a dog owner before I pet their dog?

Always. My dog is a black labrador; an abused rescue I found at a shelter. When I got him (a male), he was limping and terrified. If you touched an ear, he would yelp like you kicked him: somebody had ...
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  • 5,932
226 votes

As a pedestrian, how to get someone to stop following you in a car?

How about frequent changes of direction? On foot, this can be done in a heartbeat. But repeatedly turning the car around is gonna get old real quick ;) This is a non-confrontational way to discourage ...
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  • 1,865
190 votes
Accepted

Complimenting a female co-worker without coming across as flirting?

Coming from my experience in receiving compliments from men I didn't know very well, I'd suggest focusing on complimenting the shirt vs complimenting the person wearing the shirt. For instance, ...
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  • 22.6k
183 votes

My cousin doesn't know that I know he received money that belongs to me - how do I approach him about receiving the money?

I'd be direct but offer him the opportunity to still come clean on his own. Maybe something like: Hey, I heard from the buyer that the money was transferred to your account. Would you be able to ...
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  • 22.6k
168 votes
Accepted

How can I give out my telephone number to my neighbors without implying anything?

I'm female, so I don't have a lot of the concerns you would have, necessarily... or a different set of concerns, but the solution I would personally accept if a guy moved in next door to me would be ...
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  • 14.2k
163 votes

Is it acceptable to violate table manners in public due to my disability?

Can you violate table manners in public? Of course you can. Everyone can. In fact until someone learns them it's likely that they will be unintentionally violating them. Table manners are just ...
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  • 8,404
133 votes
Accepted

As a pedestrian, how to get someone to stop following you in a car?

Judging from already available answers, this will be an unpopular suggestion, but here I go. In my experience, the most sensible course of action is to not be confrontational at all, and 1. to query ...
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131 votes

As a pedestrian, how to get someone to stop following you in a car?

I think you handled the creeper appropriately, and yes "creeper" is an appropriate word to use in this case. One thing I would suggest is to walk to the nearest friendly neighbor's house and ask for ...
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  • 54.7k
122 votes
Accepted

How to quickly end a date?

Reddit has a lot of threads regarding this question. Generally, the most honest way to do this, according to what I've seen on that particular forum, is to gracefully say, "I'm sorry but this ...
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  • 32.3k
107 votes
Accepted

Arguing science with a passionate non-scientist?

There's usually not much benefit in arguing in a situation such as you described. When people have passionate opinions on topics, it is extremely difficult to discuss a different perspective without ...
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  • 6,431
88 votes

What is the current etiquette in the US and UK regarding a man holding doors for female companions?

In basically safe places, as pubs and bars in the US and the UK are supposed to be, the protecting behaviour towards the woman accompanying you does not make much sense anymore. I feel like the ...
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  • 9,713
88 votes
Accepted

How do I respond to someone apologizing for coughing/yawning?

It's probably best not to say anything. Unless there is something remarkable about the involuntary response, there really isn't a reason to reply to their reflexive remarks after it. Think of it ...
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  • 8,404
88 votes

Complimenting a female co-worker without coming across as flirting?

Jess K.'s answer is spot-on, but I wanted to add some additional detail. The challenge is not only what your friend says but how he says it. Body language, eye contact, tone, cadence, and other ...
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  • 6,787
87 votes

What is the etiquette for asking a dog owner before I pet their dog?

Don't touch anyone or anything without asking. This applies to dogs, children, people (especially the bellies of random pregnant women and yes people do that), you name it. There is simply no reason ...
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  • 10.1k
86 votes

Is it rude to ask tourists where they are from?

Is it in general a bad question to ask westerners ? Some westerners (and people from anywhere) are inclined to be very private, but I've stayed in many hostels and hotels and I can't imagine someone ...
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83 votes
Accepted

Is it rude to offer my seat up on public transit to someone who is much older than me but not yet a senior?

No - it is not rude to offer your seat. To anyone. If a particular individual decides to be offended, that is up to them, but you are within your right to free up your seat for any reason you like. ...
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  • 4,050
82 votes
Accepted

What is the etiquette for asking whether someone has a special diet

The etiquette is for people with dietary restrictions to tell the host about it beforehand. But it happens that these people forget to tell the host, and to prevent awkward situations at the dinner ...
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  • 4,799
79 votes

Is there a polite way to ask a kid to "move along"?

From an outsider's perspective training/exercise with a dog looks a lot like play. Particularly curious kids won't recognize a difference. You could just try explaining it to them in age appropriate ...
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  • 54.7k
77 votes

How can I decline someone's business card with tact?

TAKE THE CARD. It's not dishonest, because everyone knows that just giving someone a card doesn't make it 100% or even 50% that the person will ever call you or use your services. You are asking how ...
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  • 2,010
76 votes
Accepted

Is it acceptable to violate table manners in public due to my disability?

Yes. In fact, "table manners" are a matter of circumstance, as anyone with a background in etiquette should tell you. It is not physically possible for you to conform to my manner of eating, so I ...
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  • 1,172
74 votes
Accepted

How do I treat my friends to something without it being awkward?

I've been in your friends' position. The way the benevolent benefactor made me feel comfortable was to set bounds. Consider it from your friends' point of view. "He's invited me, but I know this ...
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67 votes

How to find out if a party received your gift if it hasn't been somehow acknowledged?

In this case a simple... How was the restaurant? ... should work. Without saying which restaurant, if they haven't opened the box they'll be a little confused and ask "which restaurant?" At which ...
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  • 54.7k
61 votes
Accepted

Should I help pay for a traffic ticket someone got while helping me?

There are two possible situations of this kind. The first is, he got the ticket in the line of duty. E.g., he had to park in the "wrong place" to unload your furniture, and got a ticket as a result. ...
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  • 5,571
61 votes
Accepted

How can I decline someone's business card with tact?

As someone who works in technology as well, it seems like business cards proliferate like rabbits in Australia. Vendor reps expect to give out cards. They prospect for leads and don't expect that ...
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  • 32.3k
59 votes

Who should identify themself first on the phone: the caller or the person called?

If you are the caller, it's required that you give your introductions unless they are known colleagues and relatives. From Phone Etiquette by Hiltmon: It is the caller’s responsibility to ensure ...
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