Category: Culture and Lifestyles
If he plays music too loudly, let it go. But you could rehab other unsavory behaviors.
For the most part, men treat manners like women treat football teams — we don’t know much about them and we’re not pressed to learn. But if your guy’s less than couth, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with an ape. Men can change — just not too much at once. If your guy’s social skills need a minor touch-up, here’s how to handle it. But if his offensive behavior always puts you in a tight situation, trade him in before he takes you down with him.
Forgive and forget
These types of blunders are more about personal taste than bad manners, so try to shrug them off instead of nagging to get your way:
You don’t like how he dresses.
He plays music too loudly in the car.
He eats too quickly/noisily/unhealthily.
He doesn’t turn down the TV when you get a phone call.
You disagree on how much to tip.
There are ways to change his behavior, like offering him a trade of something he wants in exchange for minding his manners. “My boyfriend refused to tip more than 15 percent,” says Mary Stevens from Oak Bluffs, MA. “So we made a pact. If I think the tip should be bigger, he puts in extra cash, and I have to give him a back rub.” But bargaining isn’t necessary. Sure, you could struggle to change the idiosyncrasies that make your man an individual, but he may resent you for it later.
So unless his tweaks cause major conflicts (like if they affect your values, relationships with others, or well-being), let them ride. “When you have to do favors to make a point, you’re just making the best out of being bribed,” says advice columnist Harriette Cole, co-host of “Pulse” on XM Satellite Radio’s Take Five channel and author of Choosing Truth: Living an Authentic Life. “You can live with a 15 percent tip.”
Fix him up by toning him down
By any definition, certain behaviors are impolite, so if your guy’s an offender, you can help him become appropriate. Some specific examples of when you can indeed jump in:
He curses too much.
His table manners are suspect.
He makes jokes about your relationship to your friends.
He makes no effort not to control his bodily sounds in public.
These types of behaviors happen because he doesn’t know any better. In situations like these it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Be honest. If your man is a keeper, he won’t object to a little refining. “Give him a gentle course in manners so he can flow with you wherever you go,” says Cole. Some specifics: Don’t embarrass him by calling him out in front of people. Wait for a moment when you are alone together or can at least take him aside someplace where others can’t see or hear you. It’s not what you say but how you say it.
Be honest but use a gentle, non-patronizing tone. A line that never fails is, “Darling, please listen to me for a second. I want to help you see something you may not see. I think you may not have realized how it came across tonight when you were (cursing about your boss/joking about our love life/burping a lot). I think it gave people the wrong impression about you…” Now that you’ve told him what went wrong, he can do damage control — or you two can figure out how to fix it together. If you think he owes someone an apology, don’t be afraid to tell him so. “If he loves you, he should have noticed you don’t talk or behave a certain way, and if you’re meant to be, he’ll take the chance to redeem himself,” promises Cole.
Forget trying to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. Certain behaviors are indicative of deeper problems that won’t be solved by a simple conversation:
He’s rude to people he doesn’t know.
He always has to be right.
He’s immature for his age.
He belittles you in front of people.
He’s jealous of your friendships.
This bum from Bumsville is the reason fathers are overprotective. It may seem romantic to date a bad boy who needs fixin’, but this character is broke beyond repair. “I dated a guy who didn’t like my friends, especially the guys,” says Sarah Phillips, 27 from San Francisco, CA. “He couldn’t give me a concrete reason why he didn’t like them, so I dumped him rather than giving up my friends.”
It’s tempting to stick with a bad boy, but don’t delude yourself, he’s not going to change. And possessive or disrespectful behaviors are often the first signs that a guy will become emotionally and even physically abusive. Bottom line: You’re too good for him. “It doesn’t matter how cute — or generous — he is, if he doesn’t have a clue about how to talk to you with respect, he doesn’t deserve a second chance,” says Cole. “He is the way he is. Jump ship before you’re locked in.”
Cheap flattery will get you nowhere, but original praise can do wonders.
You’re face to face with a woman who has you dazzled… and tongue-tied. Learn the right way to flatter her from our pair of etiquette experts.
The statement, “Gee, Suzie, you look nice today,” used to arouse giggly tingles on the playground, but as a post-pubescent suitor, your compliments better be more focused. Warm praise can defrost those first icy moments of early dating, as well as subtly advertise your attraction. Later, compliments are standard daily fare for keeping a relationship fresh. How do you spice it up? Allow us to share nine secrets:
1. Offer praise that’s original, not stale.
A dating-scene veteran with luxuriant locks has heard dozens of times how lovely her hair is. Either craft a new quip (“Your red and gold highlights make me long for autumn”) or else bypass obvious compliments in favor of lesser-named qualities (“Your posture is flawless… do you take ballet?”).
2. Look for cues.
Where has your date invested her energies in preparing for your time together? A freshly-painted French manicure begs for recognition. Also, when someone has clearly invested their time or money in an area of interest, you’ve got a ready-made subject to compliment. “Wow… that’s quite a collection of snow globes.” This particular phrasing has the secondary advantage of making an observation without actually saying whether you like it or not.
First, forget about all the clueless first date advice you’ve ever heard before. Next, get ready to blow him away… and actually enjoy yourself while you’re at it. Nothing calls bad advice, as a first appointment – bring this, that, and do not in any case say that – all in order to capture a guy you’re not even sure you like… yet.
Not only do these rules say the opposite of pleasure (and having fun is not the point here?), But they can also end up being turned against. Who wants to look rigid or eager to please because you follow a certain set of guidelines rather lame than simply being yourself? What are – trust us – is always more attractive than any script.
“The best strategy for a great first date is to go into this in order to simply have fun, instead of harboring an agenda to win,” said Lionel Tiger, Ph.D., a Professor Charles Darwin Anthropology at Rutgers University and author of The Decline of Males. “That way, you can also meet as tenacious and carefree, that are inherently attractive qualities.”
Living in the present
If you clicked on this guy and when you met, it is tempting to jump into the future mental – can it be that? Stop there, and curb your expectations or you will not have fun. “If you put too much importance to the meeting, you’ll spend the whole evening to assess how it goes and stressing about whether you’ll see it again,” said Sheenah Hankin, PhD, a psychotherapist in New York and author of confidence. “This prevents you from fully enjoying what is happening in the present.” It also means that you are not committed – or to engage – as you may have.
Remember that only one night, and then just relax and let go. “A first date is an experience,” said Tiger. “Adopt a laissez-faire that it would work on or it might not.” And, hey, even if ultimately sparks are not there the night n is not a wash. You’ll probably come away with new insights or interesting story to add to your repertoire.
Be honest disarmingly
It goes without saying (not) What it does not tell her about the weird conversation you had with your ex last week or disclosure that you are PMSing. But if you talk to a guy with the same ease that you unattended when you are chatting with a friend, relax and things will get better. It provides the date does not appear to be an interview, “says Hankin. So, tell a funny moment that happened at work earlier in the day or describe an experience that your crazy friend recently through a former boyfriend.
We naturally trust and feel closer to people who are open, according to Hankin. She suggests trying a technique called negative revelation: Research has shown that disclosure of a minor weakness of yours (that you’re afraid of heights, for example), others like you and around you feel at ease because they see you more human.