The Manners Guy: Meddling Grannies

The Manners Guy takes a look at what to do if your grandma keeps bugging you to have kids.

Baby carriage
FabrikaSimf / Shutterstock

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My grandmother won’t stop asking when my husband and I plan to have children. We’re honestly not sure if we even want kids at all. What should I do? —Irked in Lexington

Telling off grandma is not advice you’ll likely see from me. Instead of taking it as an invasion of your privacy, look at her questioning as a sign of her approval of your marriage and her enthusiasm for growing the family. But be honest. Share with her your hesitations about starting a family. Look at this as a way to grow closer to your grandmother and change this problem into an opportunity.

Other People’s Garbage

My partner and I just moved into our first house, and our next-door neighbor put a perfectly good dining table out on trash day. We were hesitant to snatch it up — what if they came over for a visit and found their old table in our dining room?
—Shameless in Plano

Rescuing anything from the fate of a landfill is a valiant move. Sometimes you’ll see a “curb alert” on Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist to let others know it’s up for grabs. But absent a clear invitation, it’s always a good idea to ask first before hauling something off.

The Manners Guy is a former bartender who knows his way around awkward social situations. Send your questions to [email protected].

This article is featured in the May/June 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: FabrikaSimf / Shutterstock

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  1. No slight to our ‘Manners’ guy here whatsoever, as he does give excellent advice. However, I’m no slouch myself in dealing with awkward situations either, AT ALL! I completely agree with his advice in dealing/explaining ones position on not having children to grandma.

    I also agree telling off grandma is not a good option. However, it sounds like this couple has tried, numerous times TO tell her, and she’s not taking the hint. So here’s where I pick up where he’s left off: if the couple is 80% + sure they don’t want children (sounds like they are) and she’s STILL not getting the message, I would tell her ‘we WILL have children’ politely and smiling, ‘but YOU (grandma) have to pay for EVERYTHING—100%, since you want us to have them so badly!’

    Have a realistic cost sheet out listing everything with that HUMONGOUS price tag at the bottom. This would also include daycare costs since both have to work, and the costs never let up. They only get worse! Hand her the sobering sheet and say ‘We love you, but this is non-negotiable, and any further discussion on it needs to stop now please; thank you.’


    If a perfectly good dining table that would be perfect for your home has obviously been set outside for ‘trash removal’ even though it isn’t trash at all, it’s yours for the taking! You don’t need to worry about any social media “curb alert” crap for permission; take it!

    No awkwardness has to result if those neighbors ever came over and saw their old table. If they’re friends you can tell them you love their taste in furniture (smiling of course!) and knew they’d love the fact it got a great new home with them–right next door! It was meant to be! If the new owners are still hesitant or shy, it’s nothing a lovely table cloth can’t fix.

    How did I do? “Tell Me About It” by Bob McGowan, Jr.


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