DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a widow, and I like my married surname from my deceased husband. I am remarried and want to hyphenate my new married name with my previous married name. Is this appropriate? -- What's in a Name, Detroit
DEAR WHAT'S IN A NAME: There is no hard-and-fast rule about what to call yourself when you remarry. Many women who have been married a long time and who feel closely identified with their married surname keep that name and/or hyphenate it upon remarriage, reagardless of whether they were widowed or divorced. This may be true for you and, if so, it is perfectly acceptable.
I recommend that you speak to your husband about your decision and ensure that he understands your reason for the hyphenation. It would have been best to have discussed this before marriage, but since you didn't, by all means, address it now.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I just finished reading your response to the woman who is constantly being shoved in the store by rude customers. I have encountered these problems also, and I think your advice was fantastic!
Sometimes people ARE unaware of what they are doing. By speaking to them in a (somewhat) loud, soothing voice, they will react in a positive manner, and most respond and say they are sorry. Acting in kindness is a sure way to defuse a situation that could turn out negative. Also, your kind attitude may influence them to be more aware in the future. Thank you for your positive energy! -- Staying Up, Washington, D.C.
DEAR STAYING UP: All of us have a choice in how we react to situations that present themselves. Of course, it can be incredibly difficult to resist arguing or becoming agitated or hostile when someone treats you rudely. It is a natural instinct to want to lash out and defend yourself. Although it may be tough to stay calm and to try to redirect the negative energy in moments like this, it is the better option. In my experience, the way to turn the tide begins with the moment of awareness. When you realize you have a choice, you can decide not to engage in destructive, knee-jerk behavior.
I am reading a wonderful book about the art of communication that would be perfect for all of us. It's called "Conversation Transformation: Recognize and Overcome the 6 Most Destructive Communication Patterns," by Ben Benjamin. It has examples of situations where people find themselves ready to engage in verbal warfare and suggestions for how to defuse the moment and artfully create the space for effective communication. I highly recommend reading it.