miss conduct

Avoiding the Rush

Tuning out talk radio in the office, plus rules for early arrivals and a houseguest who won’t leave.

I work in a two-person office with my boss. He listens to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk shows while we are in the office and when we are driving in the car to a job site. I am finding it harder and harder to listen to those shows, which I find increasingly offensive. In the car I generally can tune it out by bringing something to read. Would it be rude to bring a personal music player to the office and listen to it with headphones while I'm working, explaining that I find listening to talk radio while I work distracting?

 K.D. / Cambridge 

Of course it wouldn't be rude! Stop being a stereotypical guilty liberal. You're not even asking your boss to turn the radio off, you are merely saying that you would prefer not to listen to it. And talk radio is distracting, whether you’re listening to Rush Limbaugh or Terry Gross. If you're working in an office, I assume you're working with information, and it's hard to listen to one train of thought and read another (let alone talk to clients over the phone). Presumably your boss values a productive worker more than an ideological convert, so pop on those headphones.



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My boyfriend and I recently went on a double date. We arrived before the other couple and were seated right away for our 7:30 reservation. We ordered a bottle of wine; the waitress brought over four glasses but only poured two. We got to talking and couldn't figure out what the proper etiquette is: Do we wait to sit until everyone in the party has arrived? Do we order wine (or anything) while we are waiting? Do we drink the wine we ordered? Should we have waited at the bar? This has come up a few times, and we want to make sure we aren't offending anyone.

A.M. / Boston 



If the waitstaff is willing to seat you, there is nothing wrong with sitting down and ordering a drink to pass the time. Waiting at the bar is also an option (and sometimes better, as it allows you to see who is coming in). After all, aren't you rather relieved, when running late, to see that your friends have already taken the initiative to get drinks? You don't feel that your lateness has deprived them. Your dining companions surely feel the same way. However, don't order drinks for them, or a bottle of wine that you assume they will share, just in case they aren't in the mood for partaking that night.


I let a friend stay with me after her relationship ended. She quit her job a week after she arrived, and hasn't found another (it's been over two months). I decided to move, and told her to start moving out. For the last few weeks she has avoided the apartment when I'm home, spending her time (and money) shopping for clothes. Then she texted me offering to take me out for a pedicure as a thank you. I'm offended that this is her form of gratitude. Should I just stop talking to her once she's gone and hope she realizes why, or open the Pandora's box? A.B. / Boston   


You sound ready to move on, and your friend does not sound ready to accept the reality of her situation or behavior. Which means it's not about her at this point; it's about you. Why don't you write a "breakup letter" to her now, put it away, and read it again in a couple of weeks? If you feel ready to open the Pandora's box then, you can. If not, you can continue to let things fade, quietly. Either course of action can be done in a kind and courteous fashion, and, sorry to say, neither is likely to lead to any sort of revelation or epiphany on the part of your friend.


Miss Condcut is Robin Abrahams, a Cambridge-based writer with a PhD in psychology.