I share a walkway with my neighbour, who moved in last winter. After a snowfall, my previous neighbour and I shared the shovelling of the walkway. This new neighbour hasn't caught on yet, even though I have shovelled her half a few times. Should I point it out?
What could she be thinking? There are many possible reasons your neighbour hasn't done what you perceive to be her "fair share": she may have a heart condition or a bad back, she may come from a country where there is no snow or maybe she has always lived in an apartment where this task was taken care of by others. More simply, you may be jumping the gun. If you always rush out and do the job when the first few flakes drift down, you aren't giving her the chance to share the load.
Our expectations of neighbours are largely unspoken. We expect people to take hints from our own actions, but this is often ineffective -- your neighbour can't read minds. She may assume you are a Good Samaritan and this is one of your good deeds. A direct approach tinged with kindness is usually all that's needed. Next time you find yourself swinging the shovel alone, knock on the neighbour's door as soon as you're done and simply say: "Hi, Sarah. Would you mind shovelling the walk half the time? That's the arrangement I had with the Smiths, who lived here before you. And, by the way, would you like to join me for a hot chocolate?"
-- Catherine Gray, ethicist and editor of Canadianliving.com
What is a polite but effective way to tell my guests that it's time for them to leave? Sometimes they stay until it isn't fun anymore -- especially for me. By the wee hours of the morning I just want to clean up and go to bed.
If turning on bright lights, coming down in your pyjamas and opening the front door does not work, try standing up during a lull in the conversation and letting everyone know you have enjoyed the evening and hope to do it again soon. If you continue to offer more beverages or put out more appetizers, guests may feel that you don't want them to leave. Have a designated guest whom you trust to help you emphasize the lateness of the hour. A simple, "Oh, my goodness, can you believe the time?" or "I guess we better let our hosts get to bed or we may never be invited back." When all else fails you must state the obvious and let guests know that the party is over.
-- Lew Bayer and Karen Mallett,
The Etiquette Ladies