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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/friends calling only when they need something

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Question
Hello Nancy,

I have a friend who tends to call me when she needs help with something. Often their call will be late at night, or they will call and suggest a date like lunch or coffee at very short notice - almost like they have a sudden need to talk or a problem. This friend almost never calls me without a reason or to ask me how I am and I am growing dissatisfied with this friendship.

May I have your advice on the best way of handling this?

Many thanks

David

Answer
Dear David:

Thank you for your inquiry.

Your friend seems to have forgotten the analogy that friendship is like a garden--it needs tending on a regular basis in order to flourish. In the relationship that you describe, it appears that you have been doing most of the tending and your friend, the reaping.

Ask yourself if there is a reason to continue this friendship. If not, ease out of it by being unavailable for these last-minute invitations and severely limiting the number of times you say yes to her requests.  Once this is no longer a friendship, you can manage your expectations. You will expect less of her and, consequently, you won't feel as dissatisfied with your few encounters. In fact, it feels good to help an acquaintance occasionally, because it's simple--show up and accomplish a task when your schedule and resources permit.  

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Nancy Mitchell

Expertise

Social etiquette; Business etiquette; Entertaining etiquette; Wedding etiquette; Protocol, domestic (US) and international; Flag etiquette; Dining etiquette; Restaurant etiquette; Spa etiquette; Travel etiquette

Experience

Nancy R. Mitchell is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol consultant and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in the field. She owns the firm The Etiquette Advocate and is an owner and founding partner of the firm Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses in the School of Business and the Career Center, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was director of special events and protocol at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other distinguished visitors, galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, Mitchell served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, embassies, academia and corporations. www.etiquetteadvocate.com www.theprotocolpartners.com

Organizations
Protocol and Diplomacy - International Protocol Association

Publications
Mitchell is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for Experience.com, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

Education/Credentials
B.S., University of Utah, 1969

Past/Present Clients
America Online (AOL), American Bar Association, American Society of Interior Designers, Asian Development Bank (Manila, Philippines), Association of American Indian Physicians, Association of American Medical Colleges, BAE Systems, Inc., Capital One Financial Corporation, The Catholic University of America, Clark Construction, LLC, Choice Hotels International, Coppin State University, D.C. Bar Association, 40 PLUS of Greater Washington, Dress for Success, Inc., Emerging Leaders Institute(Fairfax, VA), Fannie Mae, General Dynamics Corporation, Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University (Admissions Office, Career Center, Department of Athletics, School of Business, MBA Association), Grant Thornton LLC, Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, HITT Contracting, Inc., Howard University, Howrey LLP, KTA Group, Inc, Library of Congress, Life Technologies, Lincoln Military Housing Corporation, Marketing Directors Support Group (Baltimore, MD), Miss DC International Pageant, Montgomery County Commission For Women, National Center for Children & Families, National Press Club, Oberlin College, Orphan Foundation of America, Professionals in the City (Washington, DC), Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC, Ritz Carlton Hotel (Pentagon City, VA), Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, SOC Enterprises, Stratford University, Team Enterprises, Inc., Travel Industry Association, Trinity University, Umstead Hotel and Spa, University of Virginia, Washington and Lee University, The World Bank, World Travel and Tourism Commission, Year Up, Youth Business Initiative.

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