Sunday, August 10, 2014

Etiquette: No One Wants To Hear Your Warnings, Experts Say

A lot of you no-good scam-screamers seem to think other people want you to stick your smelly, cynical opinions in their faces.  The lemmings have fully and appropriately investigated getting on the cruise ship, and yet you think it's kosher to yell your crazy warnings right before their three-year vacation.

Well, your etiquette sucks.

Check out this Q & A from an advice column that - no accident here - ran in the Albany Times-Union.  Basically, "Hesitant," an attorney, has some good friends whose daughter plans on attending an excellent law school that might be below the "top tier."  He's worried because he "knows" the market reality and is concerned that their daughter might wind up with disastrous debt.  Should he "speak up?"


First, our advice-givers point out that "Hesitant" (like many scam-screamers) may not have the full picture, and that the student's parents may be planning to help with tuition costs.  Regardless of the economic situation, "it may be worth it to them to see their daughter receive a professional degree, especially if it's in a field that particularly interests her." [as law inevitably does 50,000 times a year].

Further, the advice-givers properly point out that the best solution is to wait for them to come to you and then "encourage him or her to investigate the job offers that graduates of the schools to which Jess is applying are receiving."  In polite society, we do NOT tell friends our earnest opinions backed with concocted "evidence."  No; we take a genteel tone and meander around the truth while hinting at something that may resemble a vague guide towards our conclusions.

This is, indeed, how people versed in the Socratic method conduct a proper friendship.

In short:
[I]t's not up to you to tell them you think that law school is a bad investment for Jess.
And Bingo was his Name-O!

If you want further advice applying these basic principles:

  • It's not up to you to tell someone that their child is getting on a boat with serious engineering flaws headed straight for an iceberg.
  • It's not up to you to tell someone that their future spouse is the bloodthirsty second coming of John Wayne Gacy.
  • It's not up to you, Mr. Real Estate Agent, to tell a friend that they're purchasing a house contaminated with buried nuclear waste and dead prostitutes being peddled as a clean, modern house by the most shameless broker in town; you should wait until they ask you about the property and then vaguely hint at some glowing real estate records or something.

If you need this rule applied to any further hypotheticals, feel free to contact me.  I went to a decent law school and can apply rule to fact all day and night.


  1. Dear Law School Truth Center:

    My friend wants to send $5,000 to a Nigerian prince who emailed her to request help getting millions of dollars out of the country. My friend (who's not rich) thinks this is a good investment because in the email, this "prince" said he will give her a third of his fortune once he gets it out of Nigeria.

    I know from watching Dr. Phil that this is just a scam. Should I warn my friend not to do this?

    Thanks in advance,
    Worried in Walla Walla

    1. Hello, Worried!

      First, you may not have all the facts. You need to consider the very real possibility that your friend has a pathological compulsion to assist African royalty. You also should consider that perhaps the message received by your friend is from a different Nigerian prince than the one who was sending the bogus emails that wound up on Dr. Phil. It's a classic boy-who-cried-wolf problem. It's a distinct possibility that the prince of Nigeria may actually need a small amount of money to release a larger amount of money. This happens to wealthy Africans more often than one would think. How guilty would you feel if you were to warn your friend, and then this turned out to be the real thing? You don't want to be THAT asshole, do you?

      More to the point, your friends are obviously making a calculated risk after weighing the contingencies, just as all free market capitalists do. If the friends solicits your investment advice, obviously I think you should provide it. But up until that time, you would really just be intruding on the process of evaluating free market alternatives.

      In short, they're adults who can evaluate costs and benefits by themselves without interference from those who don't have all the facts.


    "Money Manners

    By Jeanne Fleming & Leonard Schwarz

    Cheapskate friend? Freeloading brother-in-law? Spendthrift adult child who needs yet another bailout? Tricky and emotionally charged dilemmas like these — dilemmas that involve money, friends and family — are ubiquitous. In Money Manners, Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz offer smart, witty, down-to-earth advice on how to deal with them."

    Yes, they offer "award-winning financial advice," huh?!?! Certainly this falls under the category of "smart, witty, down-to-earth advice on how to deal with them," right? Hell, you wonder if they receive cash from the law school swine.

  3. I've got another question for the manners mafia:

    How should I respond when my neighbor tells me he's left his job as a professor at Albany Law School to pursue other opportunities? Is it considered polite to ask what those opportunities might be?

    1. No. You should know what those opportunities are: partner in BigLaw or top dog in a prestigious government office or think tank. Don't bother this person, as their time is easily worth $1,200+/hr and they are super busy.

  4. You have an interesting blog. thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your posts.

    1. No problem, dude. Thanks for dropping in. I can get you a good deal on a bicycle.