Are We People or Are We PPL?

Am I the only person left on earth who prefers hearing someone laugh instead of reading LOL? The 40-year-old man I’ve started dating must think I’m pretty funny because he texts me LOL a lot. In fact, he texts me all the time. His hearts and smiley faces look sweet on my cellphone, but the acronyms he uses often send me searching on the Internet for what the heck he is saying to me. It can be confusing. For example, CYA …

What’s Happened to Thank-You Notes?

The holiday gifts and checks have been sent and received … or have they? When our children were growing up, we hounded them to write thank-you notes. Today, however, notes of appreciation seem to be a lost art. Millennials, in particular, seem oblivious to the rules of etiquette. USA Today dubbed them “awful millennial manners.” Considering that many digital natives see nothing wrong with breaking up via text or emailing a condolence letter, it’s not surprising that thank-you notes rank …

Give Yourself the Gift of Time: Unsubscribe

Do you return to work from holidays and vacations to find dozens or hundreds of emails? I do, but I’m doing something about it: I’m unsubscribing from any email I don’t actually want or need. I figure once I’m done, I’ll have about 10 minutes a day back — about an hour a week for self-improvement or daydreaming. A few years ago, I was ready to give up on email altogether. Spammers made it nearly impossible to find the messages that …

Learning a Second Language at Any Age Can Slow Brain Aging

I lived in Stockholm for two years after college and doggedly learned Swedish, even though most Swedes speak beautiful English. Not only could I communicate better with then-tiny (now giant) Swedish nephews, turns out it was a good move for my brain. Learning a second language – even as an adult – helps protect the brain from aging,  says a new study published in the Annals of Neurology. “Learning a language later in life is a challenge but is very, very good for …

How to Keep Peace at Family Gatherings

We’re all familiar with the scene, especially after the Passover and Easter holidays. The extended family sits down to dinner and a grandchild starts whining that he’s not hungry or eats the mashed potatoes with her hands or takes a dive under the table. As grandparents, we’re tempted to take charge and correct the behavior, but the wisest among us won’t say a word. Still, we don’t have to feel relegated to watching the gathering descend into chaos, says Melinda Blau, …

The New Face of Friendship: Has Facebook Replaced the Backyard Fence?

I grew up in Brooklyn at a time when there were many sets of parental eyes watching over us. Riding bikes, playing stoopball or jumping rope on the sidewalk, we knew, without having to think about it, that we were safe. We also knew that if any of us did or said something deemed less than civil, it would get back to our mothers (or whoever was waiting at home, and there was always someone waiting at home) before we set …