The Commercial Appeal

Colleagues argue about coffee shop etiquette breach


Adapted from an online discussion. Dear Carolyn: Egads. A colleague often goes to a local coffee shop to do his work. He likes the atmosphere and needs the “buzz” of the people to be really effective. The other day, he noticed it was really quiet for a while, but stayed as usual and left at his normal 4 p.m.

Then he saw a sign saying the hours of operation have changed: They closed at 2 p.m. No one said anything to him. He just kept sitting there working.

Now he and I are arguing because I think he should admit the error he made and offer a BIG TIP to the guy who stayed the whole time.

He just wants to pretend it didn’t happen – because while he knows most of the workers, this guy doesn’t work there often and he doesn’t think he’ll see him again anytime soon. He also thinks the guy had an “obligation” to tell him they were closing. I said he had an “obligation” to see when they closed. What should he actually do? – Mea “Cup”-a?

Mea “Cup”-a?: You’re right about the apology; a tip would be nice; he’s wrong about pretending it didn’t happen; you’re wrong to keep arguing just because he disagrees.

In the end, it’s his decision, and you’ve clearly made your point. Once was enough. Here’s a drop-it script: “For the record, I still disagree, but it’s not my decision.” Give people room to live as they see fit.

When you have objections to a friend’s behavior that are more serious than this one, the answer is still not to keep arguing till you “win” – it’s to recognize you may have cause to rethink your friendship. There’s just no argument for ongoing arguments.

Re: Coffee Shop: If he had tried to order something after 2 p.m., he would have realized the place was closed. If he is parking himself there, he really should be making purchases throughout the day. – Anonymous

Anonymous: Thanks – an important PSA.

Hi, Carolyn: My neighbor moved away after we sparked a friendship of about two years. I loved her dearly and hated she moved. We stayed in touch, with her responding more slowly and initiating seldom. So I stopped texting her and she never texted back. How to move beyond these feelings of rejection? – Take a Hint?

Take a Hint?: A grab bag of feel-better options:

h She is consumed by other things, and it’s not necessaril­y (as) personal (as it feels).

h She is more of a location-based connector than a keep-in-touch connector.

h She is just one person – whose opinion of you and whose loss might hurt a lot, but who is still just one person.

h We don’t give the same support to friend breakups, which can hurt even more than romantic ones. I can’t fix this for you, but I can sympathize with how much it hurts, and say that I’ve been there myself.

h As with other breakups, you will be OK in time, it’s just going to feel really bad for a while. So you move beyond the feelings by just living with them till they wear out.

Hope these help, and take care.


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