Ask The Lady: Gracefully Declining When Someone Invites Themselves Along

Cherished readers, forgive the Lady for her prolonged absence.

For now, here is a question from my emails…I am slowly getting to all of my correspondence!

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I have a business acquaintance who continually hints to me that she would like to travel with me one day. Whenever I mention that I am going somewhere she starts with the broad hints. “We should travel together. I like going to ‘xyz’.” I continue to say nothing and ignore her each time. I would think that she would get the hint that I do not wish to travel with her. She is an extremely high-maintenance individual. Last year for our jobs, we were sent to St. Louis for a week and while everyone else packed all they needed in carry on bags, she packed a huge checked suitcase along with the carry ons. She is petulant and has a fit if she doesn’t get her way or things do not go as expected. The thought of being trapped in a room or a plane with her makes me cringe. How do I handle her pushiness?

Scared of Offending a Colleague

Dear Scared of Offending a Colleague,

Oh my dear, The Lady offers these thoughts as response to your email.

  1. Do you goad this woman into thinking you would be open to traveling with her?
  2. Why do you continue to share your travel plans with her? Is it to show off?
  3. Have you considered that she is lonely and looking for a friend? I am not dismissing your very valid feelings about traveling with her personally. The Lady Hooper-Brackett obviously know nothing about either of you, but generally difficult people become so from insecurity. Perhaps she wasn’t sure about her wardrobe choices being appropriate which is why she packed so much to take with her on your joint business trip.
  4. Might you ‘day trip’ to local places of interest? This would give you both the opportunity to see a new place without the time or space commitment of being in a hotel room.

The bottom line is be kind. One never knows what struggles another has. And keeping peace at work is an important goal.

Best Peaceful Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

Thursday Ask The Lady: Handling a Nosy Fellow Traveler

Cherished readers, The Lady sympathizes with the sender of today’s question as she has much experience traveling with the general public and dealing with them.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

On a recent flight, there was a man who was one of the last to get on the plane and of course, he sat in the seat right beside me (the middle seat in a row of three). He had a faint odor of liquor, also, so I think he knocked back a few before boarding. I was on a business trip and once it was safe to do so, I began to work on my laptop. The man began to look at my screen and comment on the report I was working on! He went so far as to suggest edits!!! While it was nothing confidential (like a medical or financial report) I was taken aback by the ballsiness of this person. In frustration, I slammed the laptop shut and put it away. He then said in this ridiculous high and mighty tone, “Gee, I was only trying to help.” I said nothing, pulled out my eye shade, and pretended I was asleep. As an aside, I missed getting the pitiful drink and snack they serve because I just wanted him to think I was asleep and not deal with him. Any thoughts on this situation? Should I have told him off? 

A Good Passenger

Dear Good Passenger, The Lady commends the restraint you showed and feels that you were wise to behave so. In the confined Aluminum Tube, it is best to control your temper. Bad enough to have a heated exchange with feet firmly on the ground, but at 33000 feet….well, one has seen the news about these types of things.

Obviously, it goes without saying that you did nothing wrong. While one wishes to not deal with these types of people, in the circumstances you found yourself in, it is best to ignore and be silent to the best of our ability. One never knows how volatile a person can be after a few drinks (as you stated) and it was best not to find out. So, let him be pompous, after all, after a few hours, you won’t see him again.

The Lady is also sorry you missed snack service, although with the meager servings they give you these days, she is sure your nutrition didn’t suffer that day.

Best Travel Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

The Lady’s Thoughts On Her Travel Experience

Cherished readers, forgive my absence yesterday. It was a travel day for me as I made my way from The South to The North. (As a non-etiquette related aside, I will say it is hotter and more humid in New England today than it was in Southern Mississippi! A rare occurrence!)

Now, I try to be an easy-going traveler as we are jammed into the Aluminum Tube and we must make do in a small space with hardly any leg room. In those circumstances, we are all suffering and I realize we cannot all be at our best. However as I observed and shared space with my fellow travelers yesterday, it was clear that my flight was to be a lesson in poor manners, indeed.

 

After being seated in my window seat, a trio of males (two college age and one who was their father) sat in the row behind me. They were speaking loudly and sounded as if they were all well into their cups at 930 AM. (So be it) One decided that he wanted to play cards and proceeded to shuffle the cards and bang on the tray table behind me….repeatedly and loudly. My seat was jarred over and over. He also cursed and swore as he talked about their recent trip to Miami. His seatmate now decided to pull out his tablet and play a video without earbuds so that any and all around him had to listen to the movie he was watching.

In our small section, we (which included three young girls traveling with their parents) were subjected to listening to a tirade which included profanity and vulgar names to call women. It was, to say the least, mortifying. And maddening!

My seatmates, an older couple, arrived. Within 20 seconds of being seated, the lady turned around and sternly told the young man to please turn off his movie or use earbuds because listening to the video was annoying and degrading to women. He turned it immediately off. I thanked the woman for her gumption. (Turns out she is a former Catholic School principal!)

Remember how I always say that really the only thing you have to keep in mind about manners and etiquette is CALL NO ATTENTION TO ONESELF? These young men had not learned this lesson yet. Everything they did called the most negative attention to themselves!

I became disheartened to think that the ways of our modern world seem to be all about selfishness and people doing exactly what they want without regard to others comfort or feelings. I sincerely hope that this will change in the future.

Best Travel Wishes,

The Lady Hooper Brackett