No variable specified
Column: Nosy relatives and forgiving
by Lauretta Hannon
March 07, 2013 12:21 PM | 6586 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
Q: I was at a popular new restaurant and was sitting at the bar for about two hours with a friend. We had dinner there, and over the course of the meal, two separate groups of people asked us if we could “scoot down” a bar stool so they could make room at the end of the bar for themselves and a friend to sit together. They asked everyone at the bar to move down a bar stool. Is this proper etiquette? It means anyone sitting at the bar is interrupted and must move themselves, their personal belongings, and their meals and drinks over (or suffer the consequences of overhearing their logistical conversations for the length of your dinner).

A: I don’t know if it’s proper etiquette, but it sure is annoying as all get-out! Nevertheless, I’d say to put yourself in their shoes and show them the consideration that you’d like to be given if you and your friend had arrived later. Next time you could meet up there during non-peak hours and sit at a table or booth. Or if it’s just too much of a hassle to dine at this restaurant, try a different establishment.

Q: How does one deal with family members who ask too personal questions without offending them?

A: My signature responses, which I try to utter in a pleasant and playful tone, are: “Of course I’d rather not say,” “now you know I won’t be divulging that,” or “wouldn’t you just like to know!” Keep in mind that the family members are the ones being offensive in the first place. Don’t get hung up on hurting their feelings; they’ve already trampled across polite boundaries with their questions.

Q: I’ve heard you speak once on the topic of forgiveness. I think that when you forgive someone for something particularly awful that you’re just giving them a pass. Why is it so bad not to forgive?

A: Because when you don’t forgive, you don’t move forward. Notice that I didn’t say to forget. On the contrary, you should honor the lessons learned from the experience and then keep moving. Let me share an excerpt from my book. Nothing releases you like forgiveness. It unlocks the most self-destructive mindset and in turn sets you free. It’s the ultimate disinfectant, dissolving negative mental energy on contact. The keys to forgiveness will be handed to you when you work to become more loving. Grudges, whether large or small, aren’t just pointless — they’re menacing bloodsuckers that keep you under the spell of the one who’s hurt you. Grudges suspend you in the amber of someone else’s making. Why would you hand over your power like that? I know it’s not as easy as just saying “poof” and making the grudges disappear. It’s often hard, long work, but the reward of having an open heart make it well worth it. Despite a rocky childhood, I hold no grudge against my mother. I could easily focus on the ragged ghosts of 30 years ago, but driving a car stuck in reverse is not my idea of fun.

Send your questions to

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides