Newport Manners & Etiquette: Handling Eye Rolling, Body-Shaming & Graduate Guidelines
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Q. My boyfriend has the annoying habit of looking upward and giving me the eye roll when he disagrees or doesn't like something I've said. When we're at dinner, after he's executed the eye rolling, he'll take up finger drumming and make a sarcastic comment. To signal me that he's impatient, he'll tap his fingers on the table when he's lost interest in what I'm saying or that he thinks I'm rattling on too long or that he totally disagrees with my opinion. I love him but when he behaves like this it feels like a relationship deal-breaker. How do I get my feelings about his bad behavior across to my boyfriend? HB, Atlanta, GA
A. Nothing is more corrosive to a relationship than the ongoing behavior you've described. Your boyfriend may not know he's annoying but if he does, he may not know how to control his despicable nonverbal behavior. They are bad social cues. The ability to control body language is one of the keys to social success.
- Eye rolling is the equivalent of the door slam, the shrug, the smirk and the sarcastic tone of voice that are all acts that show disrespect and arrogance.
Using a sarcastic tone of voice and eye whites to convey blatant social cues, like rolling your eyes behind someone's back or refusing to make eye contact, are unconscionable behaviors. They are simply ways to shame someone.
- Much like name calling, sarcasm expresses disgust. He shows signs of being a covert narcissist. Tell him that his body language and tone of voice is sometimes (or often) unacceptable because it makes you feel belittled.
- When he doesn't agree with you he should have the decency to say why outright instead of using the passive-aggressive eye roll. Stop him at the eye roll and call attention to how he's handling his negative -- or perhaps ambivalent -- feelings.
One of the traits of a well-mannered person is having the ability to refrain from using inconsiderate body language and sarcasm to show that you disagree. Tell him that. Not that it sounds as though it will do much good.
Q. Our eleven-year-old burst into tears last night and told us that boys at school made fun of her by calling her "whale tail." She's pleasantly plump, but she has a lovely disposition and is very bright and funny so has lots of girlfriends and a gay guy friend. Her brothers are also chubby, so they don't tease her. When we asked the boys if their chubbiness has been made fun of at school, they said they hadn't. Making a big deal of this will only call attention to the unfortunate name calling, and could lead to making "Whale Tail" a permanent nickname. What do you suggest? LL, Salem, MA
A. First of all, help your daughter to persevere when being bullied. The kids who are bullying her now are the same boys who will be bullying her next year and the year following that. You need to bully-proof your daughter by building up her resilience.
- Make sure nobody in the home is teasing anybody about being overweight, because if a child feels secure at home she will be more resilient to name calling outside the home. When kids consistently accept who they are, they are better equipped to handle the cruel bullying in the schoolyard.
- Encourage your daughter to try different activities to find one or two she can become engrossed in, such as a musical instrument, drawing, painting, singing, cooking, basketball, acting, until she finds her passion.
- Don't be the makeup mom who overpraises her child for achievement she doesn't deserve, because she'll see through you. It backfires.
- The compliment should match the accomplishment.
- When she's upset, teach her to calm down by being mindful of her reactions to having been teased. Have her draw a cartoon, do a jigsaw puzzle, practice yoga, make a healthy salad for the family, or read a book.
- Suggest that she be brave and talk directly to the person who teases her to tell him that he makes her feel badly when he calls her names, even if she needs an adult to facilitate the conversation.
At the end of the day, you don't want to support maladaptive thinking, because negative thoughts contribute to a child's low self-esteem and insecurities. You don't want her to dwell on the teasing.
As a parent you can't protect your daughter from being bullied on the school playground. Nevertheless, you can build up her resilience by giving her effective coping tools that will serve her into adulthood.
Being considerate of other people's feelings is good etiquette.
Guidelines for college students
Q. My students not only call me by my first name, but their emails are equally casual and disrespectful. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are sloppy. Furthermore, they don't address me by my surname, nor do they use my title. How do I encourage students to address me as Professor Brown or Dr. Brown, as opposed to using a greeting such as, "Hi there" or "Hey," in their emails, or no salutation or closing at all? Transitioning into the workplace or graduate school, they should learn to put more polish and protocol into all their emails. Dr. Brown, Providence
A. Dr. Brown, it may be too late to have an effect on this year's students. Don't be timid, you are not trying to make friends. Your job is to prepare students for the real world. At the start of the your next session set guidelines: "In my classes I command a certain amount of respect and the use of protocol. The same respect you will expect from younger people when you're my age.
You are to address me as Professor Brown or Doctor Brown in person, or Dr. Brown in emails. Your emails to me are to be as grammatically correct as would be expected in all written material.
Attach a memo of your etiquette requirements to every syllabus, as well as to your website. It should cover:
- Learn to use a greeting, either in person or in an email, address your professor formally by his or her title and last name.
- When your professor has a Phd., address him or her as Professor Brown or Dr. Brown.
- Use spellcheck and grammar check.
- Have an email address that isn't cutesy or sexy. You're not trying to impress someone on DateMySchool.com.
- Always use a closing along with your full name at the end of your email. We can't be expected to identify you by your email address alone: Kind regards, Elmer Fudd.
Q. Is it possible to ask our son's relatives and our close friends to send him money instead of a boxed graduation present? He needs money for college. He doesn't want some random article of clothing, bedding or towels. We're having a graduation party early in the evening with the older people and then he's going off with his friends. I know guests will feel that they have to bring a wrapped boxed gift: he won't pretend to act gushy about having to unwrap it in front of them. Cecily, Worcester, MA
A. It would be more polite to ask for gift cards and suggest stores he'll use. For instance gift cards for CVS, J.Crew, Bed Bath & Beyond could be utilized before he leaves home -- or at college.
- A Starbucks or a Subway can be found pretty readily in most college towns.
- The only problem with gift cards is that they can go missing, but so can checks.
- Placing a twenty dollar, fifty dollar, or hundred bill in a gift envelope with his name on it, would probably work best.
- Be honest with your family and friends. Just say, "Zack doesn't want stuff, he only wants cash."
Cash in a envelope is something a guest coming to your son's grad party can walk in with, hand to your son, and in return receive a firm handshake from the graduate. Tell your son that. Get the word out: Gift card or cash. Don't expect him to write a thank-you note, but spending a smidgeon of time with a gift giving guest can go a long way.
Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.
Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s 2017 College Commencement Speakers
New England Tech
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox Legend
Commencement Date: Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.
David Ortiz led the Red Sox to three World Series championships starting with the 2004 title that snapped Boston's 86 year drought.
Boston would win again in 2007 and in 2013, with Ortiz being named MVP.
Ortiz, who retired after the 2016 season, finished his career with 541 home runs, which ranks 17th on the MLB all-time home run list, 1,768 RBIs and a .286 batting average.
Among designated hitters, he is the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (485), runs batted in (1,569), and hits (2,192).
The Red Sox will retire his number 34 on June 23 at Fenway Park.
Patrice Wood, News Anchor at NBC 10
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 20
Patrice Wood has been at NBC 10 for over 37 years, joining the station in 1980.
Wood studied journalism in college, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University.
She then worked as a news anchor/reporter for WDHO-TV in Toledo, Ohio, and held several news positions with WBGU-TV in Bowling Green, Ohio before coming to NBC 10.
She has received multiple volunteer and professional awards, including the Silver Circle award from the New England Association of Television Arts and Sciences and the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award.
Roger Williams Law
Professor David B. Wilkins, Former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
Commencement Date: Friday, May 19.
After graduating from Harvard, Wilkins clerked for Wilfred Feinberg, a United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
In the 1981-1982 term, he clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall at the United States Supreme Court.
He is currently the Lester Kissel Professor of Law, and Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School
Brown Honorary Degree
NOTE: Brown does not invite Commencement speakers for the College Ceremony.
Daveed Diggs will deliver the Baccalaureate address to the Class of 2017 on Saturday afternoon, May 27 in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America.
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 28
Daveed Diggs, Actor and Rapper
Diggs rose to fame on the New York theatre scene following Tony-winning performance in the roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway sensation “Hamilton.” For these roles, Diggs also earned a Lucille Lortel Award for best supporting actor.
He is currently guest starring on ABC’s “Blackish” and will appear in HBO’s mockumentary “Tour de Pharmacy” alongside Andy Samberg and Will Forte.
Currently, he is producing a comedy pilot for ABC. Diggs earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown in 2004 with a theatre arts concentration.
Brown Honorary Degree
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 28
Robert De Niro, Actor
De Niro won his first Academy Award for best supporting actor for “The Godfather: Part II” in 1974. Six years later, he received the Oscar for best actor for his performance in “Raging Bull.”
In 2009, De Niro received the Kennedy Center Honors and the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film. In 2011, he served as jury president of the Cannes Film Festival and was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards.
He is co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Enterprises, a diversified global media company based in New York City.
Other Honorary Degrees
- Donald Hood, Visual Science Expert
- Indra Nooyi, Businesswoman
- Richard Parsons, business executive
- Rosemarie Waldrop
Vladimir Duthiers, CBS News Correspondent
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 21, 12:30 p.m.
Duthiers, a 1991 URI Political Science graduate, is a CBS News Correspondent and news anchor.
He has reported on everything from the Ferguson, Missouri shootings to the police-shooter manhunt in Pennsylvania.
Duthiers started his broadcast career in 2009 on the CNN news program “Amanpour” before becoming associate producer for Anderson Cooper 360
URI Graduate School
Thomas Farragher, Boston Globe Associate Editor
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m.
Farragher is a columnist and associate editor at The Boston Globe.
He has spent almost 40 years using his instinct, talent and dogged determination to find, research and share genuine stories.
Farragher was part of the Globe’s Spotlight Team whose courageous research and sustained determination revealed a decades-long cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by priests within the Archdiocese of Boston. Its series exposed and catalogued the mistakes, sins and crimes that were at the core of what became a national crisis.
The team received a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003.
Jon Batiste, Musician
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 21
Batiste has teamed with many well known musicians in various genres of music, released recordings of his own, performed in over 40 countries and has appeared as an actor in both film and television.
He has recorded or performed with artists including The Soul Rebels, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Jimmy Buffett, and Questlove among others.
Since September 2015, Batiste has been the music director and bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and its band Stay Human.
Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chief Executive Officer for GE
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 20.
Immelt has held multiple global leadership positions since joining GE in 1982, including roles in GE's Plastics, Appliances, and Healthcare businesses.
In 1989 he became an officer of GE and joined the GE Capital Board in 1997.
He was named president and chief executive officer in 2000.
Immelt earned a B.A. degree in applied mathematics from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.
Bryant Graduate School
Gary Furtado, President & Chief Executive Officer of Navigant Credit Union
Commencement Date: Thursday, May 18
Furtado has worked at Navigant for 37 years and spent 27 of them as its leader.
He also serves as a leader, volunteer, and advisor to community organizations including the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, the Pawtucket Foundation, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club, Little Sisters of the Poor, Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America, Advisory Council; Pawtucket Rotary Club; Providence Performing Arts Center, Special Olympics.
Furtado has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Board of Trustees and is currently on the Care New England Investment Committee.
He earned a bachelor’s degree and masters of business administration from Bryant University.
Johnson & Wales Graduate Ceremony
Neil Steinberg, president and CEO, Rhode Island Foundation
Commencement Date: Friday, May 19 at 11 a.m.
Steinberg joined RI Foundation in 2008 from Brown University, his alma mater, where he served for four years as vice president of development and director of the most successful fundraising campaign in Brown’s history.
Prior to that, Steinberg worked for FleetBoston Financial, where he rose to the position of chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Bank Rhode Island
Johnson & Wales Undergrad Morning Ceremony
David L. Warren, PhD, president, National Association of Independent Colleges and University (NAICU)
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 20, 8:45 a.m.
Warren was named president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) in 1993, after nearly a decade as president of Ohio Wesleyan University.
Prior to becoming president of Ohio Wesleyan, Warren was the Chief Administrative Officer of the City of New Haven, from 1982 to 1984.
From 1978 to 1982, he held a variety of positions at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio, including senior vice president and university provost.
From 1968 to 1976, he held administrative and faculty positions at Yale University, including Assistant Secretary for State and Community Relations, and Executive Director of Dwight Hall.
Warren earned his bachelor's degree in English from Washington State University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his master's degrees from Yale University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Michigan.
Johnson & Wales Undergrad Afternoon Ceremony
Charles M. Royce, chairman and portfolio manager, Royce & Associates, LP
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 20, 1:45 p.m.
The afternoon ceremony will take place at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 20.
Royce has been the portfolio manager for Royce Pennsylvania Mutual Fund since 1972.
Before that, he served as the Director of Research at Scheinman, Hochstin, Trotta and as a security analyst at Blair & Co.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.
Dr. Sonia Nieto, Advocate for Social Justice
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 13
Well known author and researcher Dr. Sonia Nieto will serve as the undergraduate commencement speaker at RIC’s 163rd commencement ceremony.
Dr. Nieto has devoted her professional life to finding answers to questions of diversity, equity, and social justice in education.
Her research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Nieto has written or edited 11 books and dozens of book chapters and journal articles, as well as a memoir titled Brooklyn Dreams: My Life in Public Education.
RIC Graduate School
Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Acting Commissioner of Postsecondary Education
Commencement Date: Saturday, May 13, 2:30 p.m.
RIC alum and Rhode Island’s acting commissioner of postsecondary education Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier ’73 will serve as the commencement speaker at the advanced degree ceremony.
In her career, Dr. Dann-Messier has focused on promoting student success and developing the workforce at all levels.
Under President Obama, she served as Assistant Secretary of Education of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, where she led the Department of Education’s efforts in adult education and career and technical education and helped shape the administration’s policies on community colleges and correctional education.
Dr. Roy Peter Clark, Author
Commencement Date: Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m.
Dr. Clark is the author or editor of 18 books and has taught writing for almost 40 years as senior scholar at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies St. Petersburg, Florida.
Books that he has written include Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, which ranks as one of the top books about writing sold in the United States.
A graduate of Providence College, Clark studied English as a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program and graduated summa cum laude. He presented the class oration at commencement.
He earned a Ph.D. in medieval literature from Stony Brook University in 1974 and was an assistant professor of English at Auburn University before becoming writing coach at the St. Petersburg Times in 1977.
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