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Didi’s Manners & Etiquette: Dating Etiquette Updated + More

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Looking for a date on Valentine's Day or any night? Is it polite to ask your reference why he didn't give you a glowing recommendation? Funeral etiquette for what to say and not say to the survivors. 

Looking for Love in the Right Place

Let's say, I'm not conventionally good looking. What girls call hot. Which is why I haven't used conventional dating sites that use an 'appearance-based match-making process.' I can't use someone else's photo in the hope of getting my foot in the door, so to speak, long enough to get to know her and she me, because when we eventually meet I'm not the guy in the photo from the dating site -- she'll be disappointed. What is a guy like me to do to find true love? By the way, I am 37-years-old, really six feet tall, and keep in shape. I also am gainfully employed and love sailing. 

~John, Rhode Island

Why not try a mobile app like Tinder? That tells you who is also available nearby. As of January 2015, over 1.5 billion Tinder profiles have been seen -- and literally swiped -- leading to more than 21 million matches made every day. Yes, John, there is someone out there for everyone. Perhaps, many more than you can imagine. Despite it's reputation as a fast hookup site for casual sex, there is something to be said for the numbers.

On a mobile app such as Tinder, you would be less likely to fall head over heels for someone who lives on the west coast.  You wouldn't waste time chatting up a woman online for months to finally score her phone number. What you see is pretty much what you get -- an expanded ocean of potential partners through a matchmaking mobile app that uses geolocation technology.

Researches have concluded -- after a century of studying what makes people click -- that romanic relationships cannot be predicted through curated text and a handful of photos. Two people can only become romantically compatible after they have already met in person and experienced a chemistry between them. Your smartphone may be the key to helping you find a mate faster.

Swiping to the right those photos of women that turn you on and swiping left those who don't interest you, will whittle down your search eliminating improbables until you find a match in the gallery. Perhaps, for only one night -- or for the rest of your life. The numbers are on your side. 


Can I Ask Him What He Said?

I didn't get a job I had my heart set on. All throughout the interview process I felt I had a good shot at the perfect job for me. Never did I feel to the contrary. Unfortunately, I didn't get it and I'm guessing that one of my references gave me a lukewarm report. Can I ask him what he said? 

~K.S., Boston

Absolutely, call the reference. Tell him you applied for a job you really wanted and thought you had a good chance of getting, and you want to know if he received a call for a reference. Ask him point blank. If he gave you a good reference, he'll tell you. If he did not, it is better to know, so that you don't use his name in the future.

Should he offer an explanation as to why he had not been more enthusiastic, listen and thank him for his honesty.

On the other hand, if your reference is vague about being asked, don't probe. As a professional, he really should have the integrity to tell you that he either didn't return the call or didn't give you a favorable reference. Going forward, you are better off knowing how he responded to the call asking about you. Thank him for taking the time to talk to you before cutting off the conversation.

The person who initiates the conversation by making the call, ends the conversation. 


When to Stay Silent

A friend of ours died in a car accident recently and we're not only at a loss for words, but we're at a loss for the right words to say to his family and friends of the family. They have a child who is in school with one of our children and it has been difficult telling them what to say and what not to say. Please, give us some badly needed guidance. 

~Anonymous, Rhode Island

When in doubt as to what to say and what not to say it is advisable to say as little possible. The best thing to say is that you have been thinking about them. The worst thing to say is "How are you?" Obviously, they are not feeling great and you cannot take away the pain. They just lost their father or husband.

Your feelings of helplessness shouldn't keep you from reaching out and encouraging your children to reach out to their friend. Don't underestimate the power of love. Words give us power, so let the adult or child find the right words. Most importantly, tell good memories. Children dealing with loss have many of the same feelings and needs as adults, but fewer resources and coping skills to deal with their feelings. Any way to ease the pain of mourning is welcome.

We all mourn in our own way and in our own time, and have individual patterns and outlets for grief. Sometimes it is best to say nothing and just be with the person, or give a big hug instead of saying anything. If you have a favorite memory of the deceased, share it.  Or simply say: 'I am sorry for your loss,' 'I wish I had the right words, just please know that I care about you and your children,' 'I can't say that I know how you feel, but I'm here to help any way I can.'

It would be insensitive to ask for details about the accident, such as, 'Was he wearing a seatbelt?' You simply wouldn't ask a question like that. Someone will probably tell you, anyway. Or say things such as, 'He is in a better place,' or 'There is a reason for everything,' or never 'You're still young you can marry again,' or 'I know how you feel.' Stay clear of bringing in God and religion, because you never know, the survivor could be very angry at God right now.

Let the widow know you're thinking about her and check up on her from time to time, because, after all, when the out-of-town family and friends have gone home and she is alone, your friend will need you most. When the children are back in school and she is alone with her pain -- and her memories. Let her know that she and her children are in your thoughts and prayers and that you're here to help. 


Do you have a dilemma about love, family and life in general for Didi? Go ahead and "Ask Didi."  If your Question is used, we can withhold your name and/or location. 


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