Tim Gunn offers some great advice in Oprah Magazine. Here are some of the highlights:
We all know that when confronted with an obnoxious and loud cell phone user, we should smile and say, nicely, "Could you keep it down?" But what if they are rude back?
Tim Gunn: I've heard this exchange with enough frequency to know that it almost always results in a hostile mess of harsh words. Consequently, I opt for the high road as often as possible: I look for a new seat, I cross the street, I bite my lip, but I don't engage unless there is no other possible option."
What do you do if a friend tells you she’s going to marry the creep she’s been dating?
Tim Gunn: If she is your friend, does she not already know that you think her fiancé is a creep?”
What do you do when somebody you are close to gives you a really ugly present –and they visit often?
Tim Gunn: If it’s an item of clothing, you could say: ‘I loved the sweater that you gave me, but when I tried it on, it didn’t look great on me. I took it back to the store to exchange it for another size/color, but they didn’t have any more, so I purchased this, and I love it just as much. So thank you again!’”
What do you do if a friend borrows books/clothes/DVDs and forgets to return them?
Tim Gunn: "Say to your friend, 'I was looking for my DVD of Funny Face last night, and I remembered that you borrowed it.' Or 'Have you finished reading The Devil Wears Prada yet?'"
Tim Gunn on regifting: "A situation that still makes me cringe: A colleague at Parsons was leaving to accept a position at another institution in another city. I had forgotten about her farewell party. I scrambled though the stuff in my office searching for an unopened box, the contents of which would be appropriate to re-gift it. (Why I have lots of unopened gifts is another story…) Voilà! I found a sterling silver Tiffany pen that had been presented to me after judging a city-wide design competition. I relished her gush at the sight of the signature blue box and white ribbon. She opened it, and looked at me tearfully and said, 'You even had it engraved.' Oh, no. 'Best wishes from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.' Re-gifting can be very dangerous, indeed.