Advice: My caregiver doesn’t knock before entering my home

Plus, my dog, his lawn, our feud?

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Is it bad manners not to knock before entering another person’s apartment? I have a caregiver and a niece who do this.

Anonymous / Boston

It is very bad manners. Have you asked them to please knock before entering? If you have, and they are still barging in like the wacky neighbor in a sitcom, maybe start locking your door from the inside. Or at least hang a jingle-bell strap on your door (they’re probably on deep discount this time of year!) for an alert.

Also, while this probably isn’t what’s happening with you, let me take this opportunity to mention that people under 25 or so much prefer to text when they arrive rather than knock or ring a doorbell. It’s been an abrupt generational shift in manners.


Last winter, our neighbor accosted my son — swearing violently and repeatedly — for letting our dog urinate in front of his home. I went to talk to the neighbor, and he said he was very angry because his young children might play in the snow. He apologized but said my son should know better. I said he should put up a “no dogs” sign. He has not. He seems like a responsible, decent person, not a bully who yells at strangers. How do I broach this with him?

F.F. / Boston

Let it go, let it go.

He’s sorry that he swore.

And your dog, in his snow

Won’t be peeing anymore.

I’m sorry about that. But the sentiment stands — you don’t have a conflict to broach with him, so . . . let it go.

You’re not giving in on some principle if you decide to treat him like the decent, responsible guy he shows himself to be most of the time, and put last year’s unfortunate incident behind you. Yes, he ought to get a sign, and people ought to know better than to let their dogs pee near other people’s houses, and children ought to know not to play in yellow snow.


Dogs resolve conflict by separating, then literally shaking it off. They’ll turn their attention to other things, and eventually share space happily again. They don’t need to talk anything out, and neither, in this case, do you.

Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.