A co-worker who sits near me yawns all day long. Loudly. Mouth open, with voice sounds that go with the yawning. First, it is annoying. Second, yawning is contagious and so we are all yawning right along with him. Also, he yawns when someone is talking to him, which is pretty rude. What can we do about this? It really is a problem.

You can either do your best to ignore it, or you can address it. If you do, do so quietly and privately. Your intention is not to take him on in public and embarrass him. It may just be an idiosyncrasy, or he might not get enough sleep, or he could be so bored he makes himself tired, or he could have sleep apnea or some other medical problem, but whatever the cause, it is a distraction. If you decide to confront him, keep it gentle. “Joe, you may not be aware of how often and how loudly you yawn, but I am and it is really distracting. Do you think you could try to be a little quieter, and also cover your mouth with your hand? That might help.”

My long-time boyfriend and I just broke up after eight years of being together. He’s never given me much of anything valuable or significant, but I’ve given him some very nice gifts over the year. Shouldn’t he return them since we are no longer together?

No, the gifts you gave were just that, gifts, not an investment in a lifetime of being together. You should not ask for them back.

We are getting married next year and are organizing everything now. We are planning a fairly large, formal wedding. Is it ok to use labels on our wedding invitations, since we have spreadsheets that make this easy to do?

No, wedding invitation envelopes to a formal wedding traditionally are hand written – whether by you or by a professional calligrapher.

A sort of distant friend just invited herself to visit and stay with me for a week. I was taken aback and said sure, but the truth is that I have nowhere for her to sleep except on the couch or on an air mattress on the floor. Should I give up my bedroom to her, under the circumstances?

No, but you should call her back and explain the situation. “Sarah, I’m so glad you’re coming to visit, but I was surprised when you called and I neglected to mention that I really have nowhere for you to stay except on the couch or the floor and this may not be comfortable for you. I wanted to let you know so you could make other plans if this just doesn’t work for you.”  If she says she is fine with whatever arrangements you make, then you give her linens for the couch or make up the air mattress and enjoy her visit with no guilt about giving up your bedroom for the duration of her visit.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to michaels.catherine@yahoo.com