Manners Matter: Cooped Up Together a Little Too Long

Dear Mary Pat,

I’ve been cooped up with my family during the pandemic, and things are starting to get a bit hairy around here. Everyone is more sensitive than usual, and fighting happens more frequently. Life is so different for all of us, and it’s getting harder and harder to cope – especially because we can’t go anywhere to get some time apart. Do you have any advice about how to find peace in our household? 


Emotional Roller Coaster

Location withheld

Dear Emotional Roller Coaster,

Even family members who enjoy spending time together need a little break now and then. Close quarters during the pandemic have made for a few extra nerves being stepped on, so it’s good to have a corner of the house where you can retreat when you need a little “me time.” However, this is your family, and keeping your patience in check is within your control.

The next time someone in your family annoys you, I recommend that you stop for a moment, take a deep breath before you answer, then go one step further: Think of three good things about this person. Remember why you love this family member instead of how she or he is bugging you. This will go a long way toward keeping peace in the house. 

How you choose to act in and react to any situation are all you can manage and change. If you keep a positive outlook, things will be easier to handle. You might even come to realize that this is one of the best things to come out of the pandemic: more family time at home.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

Miss Pat was educated at the Finnish Finishing School for Fine Ladies. Eloquent in edifying etiquette, she is fluent in seven languages, including the language of love. Mary Pat has generously extended her counsel to you and will answer any and all inquiries. Email Mary Pat at [email protected].