Tag Archives: Appearances

“Social Studies” on The Emily Rooney Show

I discussed the complexities of helping and being helped on “The Emily Rooney Show” today (no visual; it’s radio).

Some relevant links:

An op-ed on compassion fatigue in The New York Times

The book Helping by Edgar Schein

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“Social Studies” on WGBH

I was on “The Emily Rooney Show” yesterday, talking about back-to-school time and the Jewish holidays. No visual; it’s radio.

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Procrastination on “The Emily Rooney Show”

I talked about procrastination and the psychology of deadlines on “The Emily Rooney Show” yesterday. Here’s the clip (no visual — it’s radio).

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Kids in restaurants on NECN

Here’s a link to yesterday’s chat, and also a clip of an interview I did on NECN yesterday.

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Wedding etiquette, and my favorite dress

Here’s a link to a segment I did on NECN on Friday, about wedding gifts. It was a fun and lighthearted bit, and I’m wearing my absolutely favorite favorite-est summer dress.

I was originally supposed to be on the week before, but I got bumped due to the Whitey Bulger capture! Made me feel like a true-blue Bostonian, I tell you what. I posted on Facebook that my interview got cancelled that day … to which a friend of mine responded, “But what would Whitey Bulger know about wedding gifts? He just had a long-term girlfriend.”

UPDATE: Link fixed. Also, if anyone compliments me on this dress, I won’t be able to respond properly — i.e., with a polite “Thank you” — because I, too, think it is so awesome. And it’s not like I designed it, or for that matter even paid retail for it. So whenever someone compliments me on the dress, I tend to say, “I know! Isn’t it awesome?” Because I don’t feel like I’m being praised for an achievement, because I’m not. I’m being congratulated on a happy accident (wandering into TJ Maxx on the right day). Do you know what I mean? Do any of you feel that way about certain kinds of compliments?

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Wedding gifts on “Emily Rooney”

Here’s today’s “Social Studies” segment from the Emily Rooney Show on WGBH. (No visual; it’s radio.)

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Career transitions on “Emily Rooney Show”

And here’s my radio (hence, no visuals) on career transitions from this afternoon. Again, thanks for your group wisdom!

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NECN interview on graduation gifts

Thanks for your advice, folks! Here’s my interview from NECN this morning, talking about gifts for graduates and teachers:

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Psychology of fandom on WGBH

I talked about why people become fans — of anything from sports to scifi — on the “Emily Rooney Show” on Tuesday. Here’s the clip (it’s radio):

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Workplace etiquette on “The Emily Rooney Show”

Here’s my segment on workplace etiquette from today’s “Emily Rooney Show.” (It’s radio, so no picture. Do not adjust your screen.) This was a fun one — Emily really got into the “biology in the workplace” topic, as I knew she would.

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Direct communication, a follow-up

After my e-mail interview on times when politeness is not a major concern, I was asked some follow-up questions:

What’s the best way to address someone being a public bully?

Develop your instincts for how to deal with the bullies themselves. (I recommend self-defense training for everyone.) But the person often overlooked is their victim. Praise the bullied person for handling the situation well (whether she did or not), and help her recover her poise.

What’s the best way to address someone who’s putting down your parenting skills?

Same as you would your child if he called you a “poopyhead.” Thank the kibbitzer for her advice, inform her calmly that you don’t find the advice particularly helpful in the moment, and either excuse yourself or redirect the conversation. Use your words. Just because someone calls you a poopyhead, doesn’t mean you are one.

What’s the best way to address awful customer service? Is it best to not leave any tip if service is not good?

No, because the server will interpret that to mean that you are cheap, not that he is incompetent. Bad service should be addressed when it is happening. Then, if the server shapes up, leave an above-average tip. If she does not, leave a minimal tip, and let the manager know as well.

Also, in the comments section, Stephanie mentioned having “been told while in public with my girlfriend, by strangers, that I am a bad influence on the children around me. Usually this is in the ?politest? way possible ? as though surely if I had realized children were around I wouldn?t have held hands with the person I love, because obviously they?ll catch my horrible gay disease.”


Here’s my take on why you still want to be polite in this situation. No, it is not because the person deserves your courtesy. However, pearls sometimes shine the brightest before swine. You want to respond in a civil fashion for your own sake, to retain your sense of power. Like the criticized mother in example #2, you want to take a gentle, in-control, oh-so-vaguely-patronizing tone toward your attacker. You’re bigger than they are. Act like it.

The second reason is for the child. Talk about a teachable moment — behave in a dignified, boundary-setting fashion (my specific recommendation was “I’m afraid that’s your problem, not ours”) and you are scoring a direct hit against the bigotry this kid is being raised with.

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“Evolutionary Etiquette” on Emily Rooney

My “Social Studies” segment on the Emily Rooney Show yesterday focused on “evolutionary etiquette,” based on the paper I presented at the Eastern Psychological Association conference a few weekends ago. Coding five years’ worth of questions, I found that 57% of them reflected one or more of five major themes in evolutionary psychology and biology: sex/relationships; offspring (your own and others); reciprocity norms; ingroup/outgroup relationships; and disgust and contamination.

It was quite a fun conversation, and you can listen below (no picture; it’s radio).

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Dining out etiquette

I did a print interview for the WBUR “Public Radio Kitchen” blog, which appeared during Boston’s Restaurant Week (and which I just now found online). In it, I brought up the concept of “dining local,” given that local eating has become so fashionable. At times, I feel that Mr. Improbable and I are awfully boring, returning over and over to our favorite neighborhood haunts. But the sense of a local place, of a relationship between the diner and the, er, diner (I didn’t say we went to fancy haunts), gives the experience a home-like quality. When you’re in a place where they know your name, or at least your face, all food is comfort food.

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It’s been a busy week, folks! Sorry for the low posting rate. Here’s the clip of my appearance on NECN, talking about Restaurant Week tipping. And what do you think of the new blog look?

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Restaurant Week etiquette

It’s Restaurant Week here in Boston, and I’m going to be doing a segment on the etiquette thereof on NECN tomorrow morning at 8:45 EST. Servers, bartenders, gentlefolk-about-town, restaurant owners — have you any advice, horror stories, heartwarming anecdotes, or tips to share?

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