DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've understood from reading your work that asking for to-go boxes at restaurants is apparently considered rude. Could you please explain why? I've heard this from other sources as well, but it doesn't make any sense to me, nor align with my own experience.
I care very much about the issue of food waste, and try to let as ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As I am a woman over 60 with graying hair, people constantly ask if I have grandchildren. I don't, nor do I have children.
I realize these people are just trying to make conversation, but when I answer in the negative, the conversation stops dead and makes for an awkward silence.
I've tried changing the subject or talking ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend has a dreadful habit of always mentioning, as an aside, how wealthy -- or strapped -- someone is when their name comes up in conversation. Some of these people I know, some I do not.
I wish I had addressed this habit when she was still merely an acquaintance, but it's only now that we often speak on the phone that it...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I moved offices in a large organization, and now share an open area with five new colleagues. One of them had, in the past, purchased a coffee machine for general use in this area. I asked if I could use it, and was told "certainly." We all bring our own coffee pods, and several of us bring jugs of water to fill the water ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We invited another couple to join us at a popular annual concert for which we had been given tickets. The invitation did not include dinner because of other commitments we had already made.
They wanted to go to their favorite restaurant before the performance, and offered to meet us at the concert. However, we had been ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: An acquaintance at my gym stopped me and said, "Oh, I DO wish you hadn't had your hair cut!"
Not having heard her well, I said, "I'm sorry?" She repeated it. "Excuse me?" I then said, to indicate offense. Thinking I still hadn't heard her, she repeated it once more. "I'm not quite sure how to respond to that," I replied.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister is a deeply unhappy person, always on the lookout for some reason to be offended. Everyone in the family has always tiptoed around her and tried to read her mind, lest we failed to fulfill her unspoken expectations. We all struggled to be absolutely perfect in order to keep the peace and avoid her wrath.
Of course, ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do I do when guests bring their own guests to our house?
I am not a practiced hostess, so I plan everything beforehand: menu, dishes to use, tables needed, etc. I've had guests show up at the door with family members who "happened to be in town." I've had to add tables, bring down extra dishes and send my husband for ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I often do the evening kitchen clearing and dishwashing for our household, and I do a thorough job. While working at the sink, I often wish to spit into the drain, but hesitate, wondering if it is appropriate. When I do spit, I am careful and it goes directly into the drain, so it doesn't contaminate the sink at all.
I'm ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A few days ago, my mother-in-law informed me of the death of her husband's brother. I passed along the news to more distant relatives who needed to be informed.
A day later, however, my father-in-law told us that the uncle in question was ... not actually dead. I updated the relatives, but I had trouble not making it sound ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I run an online company and buy additional merchandise locally, one to three times a year. The money spent is at stores where there is an option to negotiate price.
I am having trouble because the salespeople, and even other customers, are always asking me why I'm buying so much and who it's for. If I tell them it's for my ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I use text messages to ask and answer specific questions or to relay information. For conversations, I use telephone calls.
A former graduate student recently contacted me via text message, and I was really enjoying catching up. If we had been conversing via phone, I would have known the cues that indicated whether and when ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I always sent a Mother's Day card to my dear mother, who has since passed away. I also acknowledged any close motherly relatives.
My three children are grown with children of their own. However, my one daughter seems to think that I should give her a card, whereas I think her own children should have that filial duty when ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a gift for a friend whose birthday is coming up, I have offered a complimentary stay at a condo I own in a beautiful, remote area. I could also watch her child during the trip, as our kids are the same age. Alternatively, the gift could be an outing on our boat.
Today, unprompted, she suggested I get her a facial at her ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a voice-enabled speaker, and for the most part, it is a useful delight throughout the day. But I do have one gripe, to which I cannot find a resolution.
It used to be that when the timer alert went off, I could say "thank you" and hear some variant of "you're welcome" in return, and then the alert would stop. Now I ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the past several years, I've received graduation announcements from perhaps half a dozen high school seniors whose parents I know. I've sent them my congratulations as well as a modest cash gift. Not one of them has acknowledged or thanked me.
Is it wrong to give up on the future graduates of my acquaintances and decide ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am the youngest of three brothers. My oldest brother and I have never gotten along, and one of the many issues at the core of the disagreement was my coming out many years ago.
I have been with my partner for 32 years, and we married 12 years ago. We had a small, lovely wedding and, out of courtesy, my brother and his wife ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm in a group of four close guy friends, one of whom lives out of town. We all have nice houses with guest rooms. Whenever we get a visit from the out-of-towner -- which usually comes in the form of him saying, "I want to visit; does next weekend work?" -- I am the only person who provides him with accommodations.
While I ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My dilemma stems from being new in a small office where tight bonds have already been formed, and new people are understandably on the fringe for a while. The problem relates to a small baby shower being thrown for a lovely young mother who is a delight to know.
The words "baby shower" had been tossed around quite a bit my ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I understand and observe the rule that one should wait for everyone at the table to be served before one starts eating, unless the not-yet-served parties demur and urge others to eat.
Is it also considered necessary to wait until others have photographed their meal and posted it to social media?
This issue arises for me not ...Read more