Adapted from How Rude!® In a Jar®: Prompts, Tips, Skits, and Quips About Social Skills, Good Manners, and Etiquette by Alex J. Packer, Ph.D.
With summer right around the corner, teens will be spending a lot more time with their friends. Drama and arguments are bound to follow. In group discussions, use these eleven manners challenges to get teens talking about how they can politely deal with problems . . . before they occur.
- You’re eating dinner at a friend’s house. You take a mouthful of soup and discover it’s burning hot. Other than spitting it out and getting your tongue to sue your hostess for $4 million, how could you deal (politely) with this situation?
- Your best friend spends half the time you’re together texting other friends. You think of sending your friend a text saying, “PUT DOWN YOUR %#@$& PHONE AND BE WITH ME!” but maybe there’s a better solution. What is it?
- You brought a great present for your friend to his Bar Mitzvah party. Three months later you’ve heard nothing from him, and you’re wondering why. You could send a “Thanks for nothing” note, or . . . what’s a better way to handle this?
- Your friends are great one on one. But when they get together, they’re like boorish marauders. It really bothers you when they make fun of people with disabilities. How can you address this without being drawn and quartered yourself?
- One of your friends always chews with his mouth open. It’s gross—all those saliva-slimed, maggoty, masticated morsels of chopper-chomped chow. (Told you it was gross.) How could you address this delicate subject with your friend?
- A friend posted a photo on social media of you drooling in your sleep. You’re angry and humiliated. Think of a rude way to respond and then a polite way. Which is better and why?
- Your friend is chronically late and always shrugs it off with lame excuses. You could give him some of his own medicine by standing him up, but that just brings more rudeness into the world. What’s a better way to resolve this?
- Your friend always invites herself over to your house and then never leaves. Short of screaming, “INCOMING MISSILE!” and locking the doors after she dives out the window, what would be a polite way to deal with this?
- A friend floods you with hundreds of unwanted texts a day. Think of a rude and a polite way to respond. Which do you think would work better and why?
- You’re at a restaurant with friends. You all chip in, but as you leave, you notice the kid who paid the bill didn’t leave a tip. How can you handle this so the server isn’t stiffed and your friend isn’t miffed?
- Your friend bailed on going to the movies with you by saying she was sick. Later you learn she went out with someone else. Instead of getting even by giving her measles, how could you handle this politely?
For more etiquette challenges, plus writing prompts, tips, skits, and quips, check out How Rude!® In a Jar® by Alex J.Packer, Ph.D.
Alex J. Packer received his Ph.D. in educational and developmental psychology from Boston College and his master’s degree in education from Harvard. He has been headmaster of an alternative school for 11- to 15-year-olds, director of education at the Capital Children’s Museum, and president of FCD Educational Services, a Boston-based provider of substance abuse prevention services for schools worldwide. To learn more about Alex, visit him online at www.alexjpacker.com.
Alex Packer is the author of How Rude!®: The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out.
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