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Paul O'Donnell

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Man Up! Skills For Dealing With 3 Sticky Religious Situations

Posted: 11/01/11 06:28 PM ET

Editor's note: The following is excerpted from "Man Up! 367 Classic Skills for the Modern Guy" by Paul O'Donnell (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011.

57. How do I attend an unfamiliar religious ceremony?

Dress should be formal, with shoes shined and a close shave--the pal who invited you is going to be seeing you through the eyes of the most aged relative on the scene. Also wear a decent pair of socks, since in places like Hindu temples, shoes are removed at the door. As long as you're not directly involved in any of the proceedings, visiting a friend's house of worship usually demands more patience than anything else. Your job is to bear it with good humor mixed with the appropriate dose of solemnity. Be open, and you may even enjoy it.

58. What gift should I give for a religious ceremony I'm unfamiliar with?

If you're not sure what kind of religious paraphernalia goes with the rite in question, something age-appropriate will do: a silver rattle, baby spoon, or a baby dining set for a baby's baptism; for a coming-of-age ceremony, like a bar mitzvah or a confirmation, a check or cash in an envelope for the young person is almost always appropriate.

60. How do I stop a friend from trying to sell me his newfound religion?

Your friend believes that he has just discovered something so wonderful that he wants you to have it, too. In his mind, he's trying to give you a great gift--the gift of his religion. The difficult part is that you don't really want what he has. It doesn't fit you, you don't like the design or designer, or you already have one and you prefer yours. The only way to stop your friend is to let him know that while it may be perfect for him, you don't want it for you. If he really won't leave you alone after you have been direct, stop hanging out until your pal calms down a bit, as most converts eventually do.