DEAR ABBY: I am a flight attendant for a major carrier. I encounter rude passengers every single day, as well as people (including children) with no manners. I accept that not everyone will be friendly to me. Some people are not capable of being friendly, and others may be going through personal issues and not realize they're being rude.
I have a colleague, "Joel," who can't get past this. If a passenger doesn't say "please" or "thank you," Joel will respond with, "What do you say?" or, "What's the magic word?" or a sarcastic, "You're welcome!" if a thank-you hasn't been given. I am appalled by this. While I agree that manners are important, I don't feel it's my place to educate our passengers. Joel gets his point across with a rude, condescending tone.
What's your take on this? Is Joel out of line or offering a valuable lesson? How can I voice my objection and tell him he's embarrassing his co-workers, the passengers and himself? -- ATTITUDES IN ALTITUDES, IN FLORIDA
DEAR A IN A: From my window seat it appears there may be stormy weather ahead for your co-worker. However, this is a lesson he will have to learn for himself, so stay out of it. One of these days when he asks a passenger what the "magic word" is, someone is going to give him one that can't be printed in a family newspaper. Yes, Joel is out of line, and when enough passengers complain about him to the airline, he will suffer the consequences.
DEAR ABBY: I am an accepting person who can make friends with just about anyone. Among my friends there are some who identify as homosexual. I value their friendship because they are caring, honest and funny -- traits I look for in any friend.
My grandparents -- whom I am close to -- are not so accepting. They have strict beliefs regarding homosexuality. So whenever I want to talk to them about something interesting that happened when I was with my friend and his or her partner, I'll catch myself hesitating. I want to be able to talk to them, but I feel like every time I mention a gay friend it causes tension. Is there a way I can be graceful about this without stirring up bad feelings? -- RAINBOW GIRL IN SPRINGFIELD, MASS.
DEAR RAINBOW GIRL: Yes. Ask your grandparents if they'd prefer you tell them all about your activities and whom you spend time with, or if they'd rather you remain silent about your gay friends. Explain that you sense tension when you're open with them, and ask if they'd feel better if you were selective in discussing your life, your friends and your interests. That way the choice will be theirs.
DEAR ABBY: I am a middle-aged man with an older sister who criticizes the way I sneeze. She thinks my sneezing isn't "restrained" enough. It's not a question of direction or whether I put my hand in front of my mouth or not. She believes if I don't try to stifle my sneeze I'm uncouth. In my opinion, sneezing is a natural automatic response and serves to relieve whatever causes it. What do you think? -- SOMETHING TO SNEEZE AT
DEAR SOMETHING: I agree with you. And I am not convinced that trying to stifle a sneeze is healthy because it's nature's way of expelling something from the nose that is irritating. Sneeze away, and -- God bless you!
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