Resolutions in Reverse: We turn the tables as we enter 2023 this week


Barbara Ballinger and Margaret Crane, Special For The Jewish Light

We’ve written about a new year as a time to make obligatory resolutions in a quest to be better people. We know that resolutions can be about almost anything and even now, a few days past Jan. 1, you may already have broken one, two or a few of yours. Yes, sticking to them can be daunting.

So, this year we decided to turn the tables. Rather than sharing our resolutions, we came up with ones we hope others will make and follow (and, yes, some apply to us). The point is that this blog is a twist on the usual for the start of a new year. We apologize if we sound tough, but the etiquette elves visited us this holiday season and said, “Be brutally honest with what annoys you. Don’t hold back.” So, we haven’t. Feel free to weigh in with some of your own.


*   Public spaces that don’t consider our continued well-being as Covid-19 remains, whether gym classes with too many people or restaurants that pack in diners and offer buffets. Yuck to those fingers and forks that dig in. Double-dip and you’ve put yourself on next year’s Naughty List. We continue to wear our masks in many spaces such as supermarkets, pharmacies, doctors’ offices and more. How about you doing so, too? And please cover your mouth if you cough.

*   Restaurants that blast the music. Please turn it down so we can talk. The whole point of being together for a meal is hearing what others have to say after years of Covid-19 isolation.

*   Those we dine with who want to split the check when everyone’s ordering different amounts and at different prices. No, it’s not tacky to ask for separate bills, especially with inflation raising prices and those who imbibe much more than we do and order the most expensive items on the menu. Go ahead but we may not be able to afford your tastes. Many restaurants will provide separate checks if you ask in advance.

*   Overnight or dinner guests who fail to help clear dishes, mix a drink, load or unload the dishwasher, strip their beds or offer to handle a meal or at least a course. Please do something, so we look forward to your return visit.

*   People who don’t ever ask how we are, what we’re up to, how family members are, and so on. The conversation’s not all about you! Half of it can be; we do care but again let’s each care about the other, too.

*   People who dominate Zoom and in-person conversations and never let others get a word in or minimally.

*   Shopkeepers who don’t ask if they can help us, may never look up and acknowledge our presence. And you expect us to spend money with you? Please show some interest.

*   Recipients of gifts who don’t acknowledge them. You needn’t write a note and mail it but how about an email, call or text? We went to effort to choose an appropriate gift, and it wasn’t recycled even though that’s considered okay today if it’s a thoughtful regift that you may like.

*   Those who multitask and are on calls and continue typing or chewing in our ear (could that be us, hmmm…sometimes, yes).


*   People who can’t tell a joke. They do not remember the details or the punch line and then wonder why people never laugh. Please hone your skills.

*   Those who try to engage us in a political conversation. Perhaps on the topic of migrants or who is running for President. We’ll never see eye to eye so if you want to remain friends, bag it.

*   Women who snore and don’t do anything about it. A girls’ weekend revealed that this is a problem with some of us of a certain age. It isn’t normal, can be dangerous and might signal that they need a sleep apnea test. We worry. Also, it’s annoying and keeps others up. So, we are patient for you to do something about it for your healthfulness.

*   People who hang on their phones answering every ping. It makes others feel discounted. Keep your focus front and center on the company you’re keeping. The phone can wait. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. Caveat: If there’s an emergency, they get a pass. Or if they’re waiting for a call from a parent, partner or child, fine. We understand totally.

*   People who use a public restroom should use it promptly while others wait in long lines. Do your primping before and after.

*   Those who cancel plans. Do it once, okay; twice, maybe. Do it three times and we’re suspicious of the reason unless there’s a really good reason. If not, that’s the coup de grace and we are reluctant to make plans with you. Or explain.

*   Anxiety. So many of us are experiencing this. But, if you need therapy, please get it. It’s a sign of strength to do so. And if you are on meds, perhaps, you may not be on the correct one. Finding the right formula might make for a much better new year.

In compiling this list, we’re trying to take control of the common good. And if you’re reading this and something applies (please don’t take it personally), there is a graceful way to bow out with a simple comment such as, “I hear your position and will consider it,” or “Thanks for your thoughts; I’ll get back to you with mine.”

We’re all trying hard to be good, kind people and do better. Happy healthy New Year. May 2023 bring joy, peace, love and laughter.