DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work in a large medical center where colleagues frequently stop in the halls to converse. My quandary arises when these conversations occur with one participant on one side of the hallway and the other across the hall, leaving those passing no choice but to walk between them as they talk.
Must I excuse myself? I suppose I ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife has become friendly with my friend's fiancee over the past two years or so, but when she asked my wife to be in her wedding party, the request came as a bit of a surprise. My wife said yes, and has been regretting it ever since.
We knew that the wedding was going to involve travel, but the list of responsibilities ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My family grew up in a lovely area. I still live here, while my brother and sister-in-law have moved out of state. My brother occasionally reaches out to ask if they can stay with me for a weekend to attend events and visit family and friends.
I love having company, and welcome visitors whenever I can. But since moving away, ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work for a public university and my boss is the head of the division. When I was hired, my duties included supervising his executive assistant, but she was laid off in 2020. My title is not administration-related.
My problem stems from being assigned tasks that I understand were often asked of administrative assistants in ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I sometimes find myself at an event where no one wants to talk to me.
My husband is a scientist, and at his conferences and other work events, the other guests are usually only interested in talking to fellow scientists in their field. I was once sitting at a table in a bar, and the woman sitting next to me turned in her ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother-in-law is a very outgoing person. She is also an addict.
She makes friends quickly. Her friendships are generally short-lived because of her addiction, but while they last, they are intense. Her friends tend to see her as a victim; they are very protective of her and anxious to set things right.
We do care about ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I met this guy almost three years ago. We dated for about seven weeks, then he broke it off. We stayed in touch for about a year, and then he asked me to come over for dinner, and we started seeing each other again. But then this past May, he broke it off because he thought that I did not think he was doing enough.
I was so ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend of mine, who lives in the same city, recently reached out: She had invited guests to stay with her the coming weekend, but the number of guests meant that she had nowhere to sleep, so she wanted to know if she could stay with me.
I said yes, but that I would be preparing for a work trip, leaving early Sunday morning ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I are both going to be 68 this year, and we live on a fixed income that barely covers expenses. We were lucky enough to inherit our home, which had been paid for in full beforehand. Still, with taxes, home upkeep, utilities, food, transportation costs, pet expenses and what little entertainment we can afford, we...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I often get text alerts that my friend or family member "liked" my previous text message, along with the entire message repeated back to me. On group text threads, this can go on for a while, as I get everyone's messages repeated multiple times with each "like."
I did some research online and learned that certain types of ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: It happened AGAIN last week for the umpteenth time: I took my car in for maintenance at the dealership, which prides itself on customer service. I waited in the very comfortable lounge while the work was completed, paid the invoice, walked out and got into a sparkling-clean car that had just been washed as part of the service....Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How can one respond when bumping into a friend they haven't seen in a year or so, and the first thing the friend says is, "Where have YOU been? You haven't been around in ages!"
The tone of voice suggests that I am hiding and being unsocial, when in fact the friend hasn't reached out to me, either, during that time. It puts ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: The custom of taking hats off indoors seems to be disappearing. Even in church and classrooms, I am increasingly seeing hats (baseball caps, especially).
It would be rude for me to tell all these people to remove their hats, but as a parent, I can enforce this etiquette rule with my own children. And as a teacher, I can ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'd like to have a party for my daughter's fourth birthday. However, I'd like to avoid getting a bunch of plastic junk that she'll look at once and then throw in a corner and never play with.
I honestly don't think gifts are necessary, but I know many people feel obligated to bring one. So I have two ideas for how to address ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My child's school is having a staff appreciation week, which isn't a bad idea for the efforts they put in and how they enhance our kids' lives.
What strikes me as extremely gauche, however, is that it's being organized and run by the school while asking parents to contribute as follows:
First day: Send kind words/thanks.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I had a houseguest for a few days, and we fell into discussing some books that I have. She, the guest, expressed interest in borrowing one, but I declined. I am a bibliophile and have had books borrowed and never returned, although I didn't say that to the guest.
I did say that, if she'd like, I would order her a ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: One of our granddaughters plans to be married in an outdoor ceremony at our home, with a reception to follow at a local park. My husband and I are happy to host, and have been helping with planning both the ceremony and the reception.
The bride and groom will be covering the costs themselves and plan to keep the affair very ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I visited my brother and sister-in-law with my husband and our two young children. Upon arrival, my sister-in-law was sick in bed, and apparently had been for two days prior.
Although she did not leave her room while we were there, I was upset I was not informed before staying in her home.
To add to the situation, her ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do I courteously ask for time off work in an hourly position? I've been trying to move from "I'm sorry, I can't come in, because (insert formal reason here)" to "I'm sorry, I have a prior engagement" or "I'm sorry, I can't come in due to unforeseen circumstances."
One of the reasons I'm trying to make this change is that,...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: One night, my wife and I were at a gala for our city's ballet. Most people were dressed well -- to the nines and beyond.
Then we saw one man -- evidently quite prosperous, from the looks of his wife and friends -- who was wearing a coat with a huge hole chewed in the back. And I mean several inches wide, through multiple ...Read more