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customs etiquette and manners

Did Dr. Seuss Lie to Our Kids?

A 12-year-old thinks the premise of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” belies structural racism. What’s a parent to do?

Confessions of a ‘Second-Class Grandchild’

A reader wonders why her ex-stepmother’s mother doesn’t lavish her with gifts.
What Different-Looking People Would Like You to Know Before You Stare

What Different-Looking People Would Like You to Know Before You Stare

It's human nature to be curious, but when confronted with someone who looks different than you do, here's what they'd like you to know before you stare.

My Friend Won’t Share Her Boyfriend’s Age. Should I Be Worried?

A reader wonders how much is appropriate to say when a pal is dating across a seemingly significant age gap.

What’s Wrong With Three Women Going Camping?

A mother is so strongly opposed to her daughter’s summer plans that she tried to secretly bribe her travel companions.

Can We Be Friends if We Can’t Talk About Money?

Her best friend lost a lot during the Great Recession. Does that mean finances are off the table?
Counter Service Tipping: Who Gives?

Counter Service Tipping: Who Gives?

Those customer-facing, touch-screen payment systems in restaurants are confounding customers in the U.S. and beyond.
Why We Feel Compelled to Say ‘Bless You’ When Someone Sneezes

Why We Feel Compelled to Say ‘Bless You’ When Someone Sneezes

Attributing divine blessing to a sneeze may serve various functions when ordinary explanations are lacking.
The Awkward but Essential Art of Office Chitchat

The Awkward but Essential Art of Office Chitchat

We regret to inform you that you need to make small talk with your co-workers. Here’s how to master it.
The Chefs Reinventing the Midwestern Supper Club

The Chefs Reinventing the Midwestern Supper Club

Once a mainstay of midcentury dining, the convivial establishments have reappeared, even as the meaning of “all-American” has become more complicated.
A Linguist’s Guide to Quid Pro Quo

A Linguist’s Guide to Quid Pro Quo

The Trump-Zelensky dialogue could be used in a textbook chapter on conversational analysis.