Awkward moments…we’ve all had them. Whether it was knowing how to compose yourself in the presence of your ex with their new love or knowing how to handle a business deal gone bad between friends. What’s the right way to approach it? contributor and author Enitan Bereola teaches us the etiquette on handling awkward situations. Chapter 8 in his book, “Bereolaesque: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate”, tackles even more how-to’s. Let us know if you’ve had an encounter with one of these scenarios:

1. What’s the best way to answer prying questions like, “How much do you make”, or “How much did that cost you”, if you don’t really want to answer the question with specifics?

As long as there exists rude people, rude questions will always exist. Now for the easy part. Private pleasure is preferable to public swagger. What you make is no one’s business but yours. A great answer I often use is, “Enough” or “I’m comfortable.” This politely allows you to answer the question without a numerical value, but also let’s the Curious George know that your salary is private. If the inquiry serves a real purpose (a friend interested in your career and curious about the salary), feel free to provide them a range.

If someone asks how much something costs you, tell them you don’t recall but feel free to refer them to the store’s website.

2. Your friend is a graphic designer who offered to do some work for you at a substantial discount. The problem is, in your opinion, the design is awful. What’s the best way to tell them it sucks?

There are already a few problems. First if this is a friend, you should’ve come to an agreement that you’ll pay at the completion of the work with the contingency that you’re satisfied with the outcome. Second, when unsure about the quality of one’s work, always have other options for yourself. Select at least one other graphic designer to do your work under the same guidelines – pay at the completion of the project with the contingency that you’re satisfied with the outcome.

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If you’ve managed to ignore the latter, and you’re stuck with having to tell your friend their work sucks – simply inform him/her you decided to go in another direction and you genuinely appreciate everything. Then take your friend to lunch. All’s well that ends well.

3.  How to handle annoying co-coworkers. (i.e they play their music too loud, constantly eats smelly food in the office, or talks too much).

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If someone plays music too loud and you don’t feel like dealing with them, take it to a higher up (manager/boss) and let them dissolve the scenario while you remain anonymous. If you’d like to handle it yourself, offer them some headphones. If a co-worker eats smelly food, bring an air freshener. Simple. If someone talks too much, don’t give them the chance to talk to you. Make your office space as non-intrusive as possible. Stack a pile of blank papers on your desk to show you’re busy. Pick up the phone every time they walk by. Do anything to symbolize busyness.

4. You texted someone a really personal message and realized it went to the wrong person.

If they don’t respond, act like it never happened and they’ll likely do the same. If you do get a response, reply with a simple, “Wrong person” text. We all make mistakes but always double check before you text.

5. Being in the presence of your ex with their new girlfriend/boyfriend.

 Always play it casual — don’t bring unnecessary attention to the scene. Be cordial and leave it at that. No sense in making a potentially awkward situation worse. Besides, an ex is an example of what to never do again. You should be in a space where seeing them happy doesn’t affect you.












6. Your boyfriend/girlfriend has gained a few pounds and it’s turning you off. You’ve gently mentioned it before but they didn’t get the hint. What’s the best way to have that conversation?

If you notice she has put on a few pounds, do not call her fat. Suggest working out together because you want to live more healthily and would like her there for companionship and encouragement. Going at it together diminishes embarrassment, finger pointing and resentment. Teamwork makes that dream work.

7. You find out your friend’s ex of two years is interested in you. You’ve always found them attractive but didn’t dare give in to the thought. Do you pursue?

I’ll have to break this 1 down …

There are several variables to consider with a topic like dating a friend’s ex, but the question remains? Is it ever okay to do it? Yes, it is okay. When you move out of a home, you no longer hold the key to the house. Regardless of what memories you have invested that home, anyone, including your friends is allowed to purchase and move in. The same holds true to relationships. Exes are fair game. Once it’s been decided to move on, you are officially releasing that person out into the world.

Having a sense of entitlement to an ex is like getting fired from a job and still expecting pay! The eligibility pool of men for women is quickly shrinking so dating a friend’s ex may be closer to reality than you imagine. Sometimes life is simply about ration versus emotion and you can’t live life according to feelings – you live life according to truth. If you’ve moved on, but have harbored feelings for an ex, take that up with God, not your friend interested in dating him. When you deal with the real issue of personal insecurities and truly letting go, you will be able to see your friend with an ex, smile and keep it moving with no further thought. If it’s a recent break up or was a serious relationship, the wounds may take longer to heal, but the fact is they must heal. When you let go of something, someone is going to pick it up… and that someone may be a friend.

If you’re the one deciding to date your friend’s ex, certainly approach her about it before making the decision. If you’ve decided you’re going to go for him, understand that you are taking a risk whether she consents or not. You must determine if the risk is truly worth it.

For men, it’s imperative that you talk to your buddy before making any moves with his ex. Be sure to discuss it when he is alone because men tend to act like everything is all good in the company of other men, even when it’s not. Also, try your best to ensure that the ex isn’t dating you simply to spite your friend and cause drama. If your friend asks your permission to date your ex, it’s up to you to be completely honest with yourself and with him. You have no right to be upset if he asked and you said you don’t care. On the contrary, if he does mind, it would be commendable of you to be an honorable man. In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” This is the greatest act of real love – sacrificing your own free will for the love of another. Be willing to give up your freedom for the comfort of a friend. I like to call dating an ex “recycled dating” but sometimes going green isn’t always the healthiest route.

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Enitan Bereola the bestselling author of "Bereolaesque: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate". "Bereolaesque" is for everyone who believes that chivalry isn't dead, and individuals who are willing to learn exactly how far something as simple as being a gentleman and proper etiquette can get you in life. An avid follower of Christ, Enitan has been featured on BET, MTV, FOX, Essence Magazine, Sister2Sister Magazine and many other media outlets. The San Jose, California, native is also a relationship advice columnist for the Beverly Hills’ Examiner and a columnist for Soul