Let her show you how common sense, good manners and discipline can get you out of the fix you’re in.
NEIGH NO MORE
Dear Aunt Bossy,
My wife is a nag. She drives me nuts. “I wish you wouldn’t leave your dishes in the living room, I wish you’d use your napkin, I wish you’d put the seat down, please pick up your clothes, you should drive with both hands on the wheel,” and on and on. It never stops. What can I do?
Aunt Bossy is so happy to start with such an easy question. No one should have to live under these circumstances and if you do as I say, the nagging will stop overnight. Guaranteed. I’m putting the answer in bullet points so it will be clear.
• Take your dishes to the kitchen.
• Wash the dishes.
• Use a napkin
• Put the seat down and, in the meantime, aim.
• Pick up your clothes.
• Drive with your hands on the wheel.
All done! After all, Nagging is the Repetition of Unpalatable Facts. Good luck, and buy some flowers.
Common Sense: If someone keeps pointing out your traits, you should assess your habits.
Good Manners: We should all accommodate others, as we would have them accommodate us.
Discipline: This doesn’t take much.
Dear Aunt Bossy,
I want to have a party and invite my friends as well as some new acquaintances. I’m worried about introducing them to each other and how they will mix. What is the secret? I don’t have a big budget for food and wine, so suggestions there would be good.
Dear Sally Jo,
It is always a pleasure to point out that having lots of money to spend guarantees nothing. You can have a wonderful fete with peanuts and Two Buck Chuck, that wonderful wine from Trader Joe’s. The only thing that really counts at a party is the people.
You do have some choices. You can play it safe and invite people who have lots in common, or you can take a chance and invite the people you “owe” and hope it all works out. However, for a spectacular party just invite people you like and want to see and let them create the energy.
To me, the bigger the mix, the better. Age, socio-economic level, ethnicity, sex, length of friendship, all add spice. People will discover each other and meet people they wouldn’t have met otherwise, which is usually a treat. I say “usually” because sometimes it isn’t. I have an acquaintance who causes an uproar at almost every party because the men love her and the women don’t. Now, that is fun.
It is important, if you are mixing the group, to make it large enough so that there is real variety, and pay attention to seating. I still shudder at the memory of a friend’s dinner party last year where one group huddled at one end of the table, leaving the rest of the table out. It wasn’t a disaster because there were some responsible guests who made up for the lack of social grace of the others, but it could have been.
As the hostess, your job is to have a great time. Start by letting everyone see how thrilled you are that each of them came, and keep moving to be certain everyone is taken care of, both drink-wise and socially. If someone seems uncomfortable or is standing aside watching, get over next to that person and chat. You might find out they are having a great time observing.
As for food, drink, music, placement, etc., there are a million sources in the media. Spend some time planning, and then relax and have a good time.
Common Sense: Planning ahead sets the tone.
Good Manners: Taking care of your guests creates a good time.
Discipline: It takes work to keep your eyes open, your ears engaged, and your feet moving.
Aunt Bossy is Susan Murphy, an internationally known Communication Skills Coach who adores spending every winter and spring in Beaufort. Ask for advice @ Bossymurph@mac.com.