Confab | 002 | Pillars of Hope | Conduct

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Modern Manners | Our resident Southern Gentleman guides our readers through the complex maze of contemporary etiquette
by Jimmy Hoard

Politics has made my Facebook life a little crazy. Whenever I post or share something on political on Facebook, it tends to get a lot of discussion and it seems I even have some trolls among my friends that are just wanting to stir things up. I recent post on the EPA I made seemed to fire my friends up from both ends of the spectrum. I definitely look up to some of my friends that are super brave and post exactly what they feel and don't seem to worry about reactions, but I don' think I'm that person. I don't want to unfriend some of the folks that are being obnoxious but I'm really tired of the time and effort it takes to address them. Am I being a chicken if I decide to only post/share my political opinions with a few select friends?
- Selective Sharer, Columbus, OH

Dear Selective,
It’s time to put on your big girl panties. If you’ve got friends that have nothing better to do that to troll posts and stir the pot, then cut them loose. If they’re friends that are worth it, they’ll check in with you to find out why they’re no longer on your list. If they don’t, they were not worth it to begin with. You’ll be better off without them. Your political stance is important and you have every right to share your feelings on social media. To everyone! And you’ll know what feels right to post and not to post. Everyone has they’re threshold. But, if someone doesn’t like what you post, remember what my momma always told me. “They’ll get glad in the same pants they got mad in.” It’s been my life’s motto. Noone’s opinions are more important than your own and no one is important enough to make you feel bad for voicing your feelings or opinions. Also remember, social media is just that. Social media and nothing more. People feel more free to be abrasive when they’re not face to face so everything can be taken with a BIG grain of salt. Happy posting!!

I'm hosting a dinner party in a couple months for 20 guests from very different backgrounds (supporters of an arts group). I know for sure there are people that are on either end of the political spectrum and many that fall somewhere in between. Should I make a comment early in the evening to 'leave your politics at the door' or should I let things roll naturally so that people can discuss ideas...but risk some arguments and hurt feelings. Aren't dinner parties FOR discussing ideas?
- Big Ideas or Small Talk, New York, NY

Dear Big or Small,
The first thing that popped into my head when I read your question was, don’t try to control people. That will accomplish two things. It will make them feel resentful and make you feel like a failure. People are going to do whatever they want to do whether you make suggestions or not. So take a deep breath, and look forward to your fabulous event. Conversations are natural and flow like a river. You never know where they might end up. Meanwhile, I think you already have one thing going for you. All your guests are supporters of the arts. You are likely to find that they have more in common that you think. If you have a little faith, you’ll find that people who come together for a cause are bringing their best game. And honestly, if someone upsets the evening’s apple cart, the crowd will rally for you. This group sounds like a smart, driven, passionate gang. As do you. Plan well and let your event be whatever it is going to be. It’s going to do that whether you worry about it or not. And who by worrying can add another day to their life? Enjoy!

OK I give up. How much are you supposed to tip an Uber, Lyft, or other car-sharing driver?
- Confused Commuter, Portland, OR

Dear Confused,
I have many friends who love the ride share world from both the rider side and the driver side. Here’s what I have found out. Uber discourages tipping. They feel that the driver’s fee is generous enough and a cash free service is the smartest way to go. It’s their model. Any driver who tells you different is going against Uber’s policy. They don’t even offer a way to tip electronically. Lyft is different. They allow tips to be added in electronically after each ride. I would say that tipping should be at the rider’s discretion. Obviously an Uber ride does not require or expect tipping and Lyft does so that can help with your decision on whether to tip. It may help to know that both services suggest that drivers present a clean, positive and safe experience for their riders. So if a driver has a clean car, free of clutter, is friendly and courteous, and doesn’t terrify you along the way with sudden starts and stops, feel free to tip. If any part of the ride is lacking, all services allow you to rate the driver and provide comments. Just remember, commentary is best used to help a driver improve their experience or reward them for doing a good job. Being mean or hateful serves no real purpose but to hurt someone and diminishes you as a rider. Be constructive! Help provide a safe and serene ride for the next person. And if you want to know how much, I’d think 10% to 15% of your total ride cost is fair. More is always welcome if you see a driver making an extra effort!