Former Friend Now Gives Me The Cold Shoulder
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been friends with a woman for almost 15 years. We are part of a group that often gets together for game nights, and we also celebrate important days in our lives.
On her last birthday, I offered to take her out to dinner, something we have done for both of our birthdays every year. She responded by saying she wants to ...Read more
Why Do People Ask Me If I 'Still Work'?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a social event given by an organization in which my spouse is active, a member asked me, "Do you still work?"
I was somewhat taken aback by this question. I am in my late 50s, and am told that my appearance and dress match my age.
This is not the first time a newly met person in a social situation has asked me this ...Read more
Rude Date Won't Get Another Chance
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was on a second date at an upscale French restaurant. To my surprise and dismay, my date was incredibly rude to the waiter the entire night, starting with criticizing him for not speaking French (as my date does), never making eye contact with the waiter, never saying please and thank you, and so on.
I was mortified and I ...Read more
Dinner Guest Doesn't Want Smart Speaker Listening In
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was recently invited for dinner at a friend's home, along with several others. The host has previously mentioned that he has a smart speaker in the dining room of his home.
I understand that a smart speaker, unless disabled, will pick up and record conversations held nearby. I do not want my conversation at dinner to be ...Read more
Friend Sticks To His Sloppy Uniform
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I are part of a close-knit group of five couples. We all socialize often, whether in our various homes or out doing some recreational activity.
One of our gentleman friends is truly a very nice person: friendly, considerate, good sense of humor and an animal lover (cats, anyway). However, at all of our social ...Read more
When It Comes To Gratitude, Better Late Than Never
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am usually good about thanking people. Now, I am flummoxed. A note or even a gift seems so inadequate for what friends have done for us.
In one case, some friends hosted my husband when he was cleaning out his mother's house, hours from home. They looked after the mail and even took my mother-in-law to get a COVID ...Read more
Why Won't Anyone Help Me Save The Planet?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Living in a city that generates massive quantities of plastic waste on a daily basis, I can't pass an overflowing garbage can or notice litter blowing down the street without thinking about where it will end up.
If I had my way, single-use plastic would be strictly limited to essential functions, such as in medical equipment ...Read more
Ditch The French And Stick With 'Please Respond'
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When did "RSVP" cease to mean "Please respond, yes or no" and come to mean "Respond only if your answer is yes"? I receive a lot of e-vites and such, and they all seem to imply this new interpretation of the old phrase.
It feels a little rude not to be offered a gracious way to opt out that doesn't involve not responding at ...Read more
Our Friends Gave Us A Bill After Dinner
DEAR MISS MANNERS: About once a month, we go out to dinner with another couple and always have a good time. We tend to order roughly the same things -- one drink each, no desserts unless it's a special occasion -- so we just split the bill.
We were surprised, but fine with it, when they suggested that we should eat at their house next time ...Read more
Mom Gives Me Unwearable Clothes When All I Need Is Cash
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother cannot recognize the realities of my life. My husband lost his job four years ago; we eke by with thoughtful spending and renting out our guest room. I work overtime whenever I can, so we can have little luxuries like a streaming service subscription and quality food for our pets.
My mother is fully aware of our ...Read more
Shopping Without Buying Remains Perfectly Fine
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I have an amicable disagreement concerning window shopping.
In my view, it is perfectly acceptable to enter a store and look around, even if the chance I will purchase an item is somewhat low. In instances when I speak with an attendant, I set expectations by saying, "I am not sure if I am ready to make a ...Read more
Pets Are Family -- And Family Can Wait In The Spare Room
DEAR MISS MANNERS: There is a debate among a local group on the topic of a dog owner's responsibilities when hosting an event in their home.
One faction says, "My dogs are part of my family, so they're going to be interacting with guests." Another faction says, "As host, your responsibility is to your guests first, so your dog should be in a ...Read more
Don't Flaunt Party Photos Online
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend with whom I am not particularly close held a holiday party at his home. I was unaware of the party until last week, when he posted many photos of it online. It looked like a great party, and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time.
In his post accompanying the photos, he apologized for not inviting more people ...Read more
Polite Ways To Communicate That The Party's Over
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it rude to straighten the kitchen and other areas of my home while my friends slowly prepare to take their leave at a very late hour?
GENTLE READER: Isn't that your intention? Having decided that it would be too blatant to say, "That's enough, I'm tired, please go home," you suggest a more subtle way of conveying the ...Read more
Can Society Ever Solve The Work/Life Balance Problem?
GENTLE READERS: The clash between people who don't want to return to the office (employees) and those who want them to do so (employers) is no surprise to Miss Manners. The pandemic might have brought this out, but the work/private life problem has existed throughout history.
Society needs to provide both. Obviously, it needs workers. But it ...Read more
Uninvited Guests Don't Make The Rules
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In our retirement, my husband and I purchased a large, beautiful home in a famous desert resort area. In addition to the rest of the house, we have three guest rooms that would make any five-star hotel proud, plus a private swimming pool surrounded by palm trees. You get the idea.
Naturally, our home has become a favorite ...Read more
New Colleague Doesn't Care For The Lunch Conversation
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My co-worker and I have a routine where we eat lunch together. We like to joke and talk during lunch. A new person started working here, and basically invited herself to lunch with us.
We didn't want to be rude, so we have allowed her to eat with us. However, she seems to get upset when we discuss our personal lives (nothing ...Read more
I Was Right: Their Famous Friend Is A Jerk
DEAR MISS MANNERS: For years, our friends Cody and Nicole would often talk admirably about a high-profile person they knew. However, I found the descriptions of this man and his actions to be unethical and immoral (think Harvey Weinstein).
At the time, when I expressed my dismay, they treated me in a condescending manner, saying I didn't know ...Read more
Relative Requests Refill Rather Rudely
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I know that it is not OK to be rude to someone who is rude to you. But what do you do when you observe rudeness done to another person?
I was at a restaurant with three family members. The waiter came by to refill our water glasses, but skipped one of them. That relative said, in a loud, sarcastic voice, "Whaddaya think?"
Put The Dishes Down, Debbie
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I enjoy entertaining in my tiny apartment. My kitchen has only 28 square feet of floor space, and counter space is also very limited.
There is room for only one person in there, and there is no place to set dirty dishes. I have my own system for clearing up, which just takes me a few minutes. Even so, every time I get up to ...Read more