Newport Manners & Etiquette: Saying NO, Vaping Etiquette & Terrible Teens

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


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The dos and don'ts of Vaping Etiquette, seven great ways to say NO, the terrible Teens, and whether to trust an untrustworthy Neighbor were all questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week.

Seven great tips for gracefully saying NO 

Q. I very much want to be a good citizen, good friend and help people out, but there are times when I want to say NO, but end up resenting having said YES. 

My friend asked me to spend a day helping her pack and move. Recently separated, she is moving into a smaller place. She assumes that because I work from home I can take off for a day and work for her for free. I told her I would think about it and get back with my answer.

It may not sound like a huge commitment, but it means that I would have the back-aching chore of taking out two car seats (then fastening them back in again the next morning) and laying the seats flat in my SUV for her stuff that I'm packing. Also, I would have to pay a sitter to pick up my kids from school, walk them home, and stay with them for an undetermined period of time until I get home! Please let me know what I should do as soon as possible.  Name withheld

A.  When a person hesitates with hems and haws, catch that as a NO. Here's hoping your friend got the hint when you put her off by stalling your answer. Stalling means MAYBE. MAYBE usually means NO. Phone her to say, "That day doesn't work for me."

Saying NO:  

  • Don't make detailed excuses.
  • Don't lie, you could get caught.
  • Don't feel guilty about saying NO.
  • Don't give mixed messages such as, "I should be working, but I want to be helpful."


When one NO is not enough, repeat the same answer: "That day doesn't work for me."


If she changes the day, be truthful, "I can't take a day off from my work." 

Support in a different way:

  • Give her a firm NO answer within a day.
  • Be honest, say you have to work and suggest someone else who might be able to help her move. Look for 'Guy with Big Truck' ads in your local paper and give her the phone number. 
  • If she says she can't afford to pay for help, offer to give her the cost of having you hire a sitter to mind your kids -- if you had said YES.                

Stick to your own priorities. When saying NO, say it fast, be brief when explaining why you're saying NO, and offer support in a different way.


Understanding your terrible thirteen-year-old

Q. Every once in awhile my daughter and her husband find that they both have business trips out of the country during the same period of time and ask me to drive to Cambridge to stay with their three children for a week or so. 

When they were younger is was a pleasure to have a grandchild bring me a book and say, "Read to me, Nana." Now the eldest is in college, the middle child is in boarding school, and I am alone with the arrogant youngest, who resents having me there and seems depressed. She is surly, rude, and uses unbelievably foul language.

I've mentioned her bizarre behavior to my daughter, who laughs it off, saying, "That's the way 13-year-olds behave." I find that hard to believe.  Nana, Springfield, MA


A. As you no doubt remember, most 13-year-old girls have reached the end of puberty. Hormones have changed your granddaughter's brain during the last two years. Her body is more mature than her brain and she's trying to figure out how to be a teen. 

  • According to many studies, girl teens express depression more openly and more easily than boy teens, so her rude behavior, as deplorable as it may be, is understandable. She acts out with you.


Children nowadays experience a more prolonged adolescence. What used to be a two-to-four year period biologically is now a 15-year period culturally. Puberty starts before the teen years, but the social skills and cultural aspects of adolescence don't triumph until much later. Girls have a longer period of time to figure out who they are, what skills to develop, and they have to be in school longer to reach their objective.

  • Your 13-year-old granddaughter is struggling to become a teenager.
  • Kids don't necessarily want to feel happy. Feeling sad helps them develop intense feelings - extremes of happiness and sadness.
  • Puberty makes many kids seek conflict and behavioralists believe that this kind of experimentation can be a good thing when it isn't violent or self-destructive.


Most pubescent kids like feeling the intensity of their own feelings. Intense sadness can be novel and exciting for a thirteen-year-old. Studies show that eventually most of us prefer being happy and having positive emotions than to being negative and feeling sadness. We don't all want to be happy all of the time. 

Perhaps your granddaughter feels close enough to you to know that she can express her deepest emotions around you. Over the years, you have made it safe for your granddaughter to express her emotions. Don't take her rudeness personally.


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Top 10 etiquette tips for romancing vaping with courtesy

Q. What exactly are the etiquette rules for vaping? When and where is it acceptable to vape? My boyfriend, a former Marlboro man, seems to think he can vape anywhere. As a non-vapor myself, this has become a source of discontent and argument.  Madelyn, Cleveland, Ohio


A.  You're not alone. According to a recent survey of e-cigarette users (paid for by Vype e-cigarettes in the UK), 57% of their users are as confused as you are about vaping etiquette. Eighty percent surveyed said that they tried to be courteous when around non-vapors, and actually agreed that at least a third of fellow users were inconsiderate of those around them while vaping.

As vaping becomes more mainstream, the smog may be lifting on the rules for vaping. Even though there is no official etiquette for vaping, that doesn't mean that vaping is globally acceptable. It is not.

The hard and fast don'ts of where and when to vape:

  • Never ever in bed.
  • Nor in a ticket line.
  • Not during a job interview.
  • Not in the presence of children.
  • Always honor 'no smoking' signs in restaurants and public transportation.
  • The worst never, is never in an elevator, car or other confined space.
  • Don't when you see a no smoking sign such as those outside a hospital, theatre, shopping mall, airport terminal or office building.


It goes without saying that he wouldn't vape in someone else's home without consent. Or at a party -- unless the host was vaping.

As far as smoking in your home, do what other couples do when one on them smokes a cigar or pipe, have a designated time or place when and where he can smoke. Perhaps, after he's helped you with the dinner dishes, but only when he's opened the window. But certainly, not while you're both cooking.

Vaping is a courtesy on both sides

  • As your boyfriend is a former tobacco smoker, cut him a bit of slack. It's a social minefield, and you both have my sympathy. 
  • If you want to work it out, you will. After all, in romance, vaping is a matter of consideration on both sides. 
  • We all have our bad habits. You either put up with his habit or move on.


Acceptable Dos:

  • Always ask first. Most public spaces make their policy known.
  • That said, do find out about a hotel's policy before booking, because you can be fined if the smell of smoke is detected in your room -- no matter how sweet it is.
  • Do consider that if your boyfriend is an ex-tobacco smoker, vaping has far less toxicity. 



To trust or not to trust an untrustworthy neighbor

Q. A neighbor wants us all to donate money to fund a 'green project' on our street. He says it will cost $10,000 to dig up the old cement sidewalk, plant the greenery, and replace the sidewalk. It seems like a lot of money, but it will create a long evergreen hedge to block an unseemly asphalt parking lot enclosed by a wire fence. He made no mention of upkeep in terms of trimming and pruning this hedge of vines - nicknamed by botanists as the wintertime creeper - to keep them tidy and healthy. When asked. he said he would pay for the yearly maintenance.

Our problem is this: twice in the past this neighbor volunteered to do something nice for the neighborhood and then reneged. Neither time were neighbors asked to donate money. Both times we waited patiently for him to make good, but with no results.  Name and location withheld


A. Your worry should be less about whether or not the leader of the 'green project' will follow up with his promise, than whether your neighborhood really needs this particular 'green project.'

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her forthcoming book.


Related Slideshow: 25 Things You Must do This Fall in New England - 2017

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Take a Trip up Mount Mansfield 

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Book a Weekend Getaway to Twin Farms

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Visit Connecticut's Glass House 

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