Life Advice

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Let Me 'celebrate' You By Ignoring Your Stated Preferences

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I adore my longtime boyfriend and the happy life we have built together. There is, however, a recurring issue over which we cyclically disagree: his birthday.

While never truly enjoying getting older, I have always enjoyed celebrating my own birthday -- what a wonderful excuse to see loved ones and share a good time over food...Read more

Dinnertime Phone Calls Are Easy To Manage

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Does no one observe the dinner hour anymore?

My dear grandmother, the etiquette expert in my family, instructed me at an early age that it was impolite to call anyone between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. unless the matter was urgent, because it was assumed that most families ate dinner during that time.

I understand that ...Read more

Bridesmaids Go Awol From Bachelorette Party

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my bachelorette party, two of my bridesmaids left after about an hour to go to a different party. My best friend and maid of honor had planned a fantastic party with EVERYTHING you can imagine that would be at a bachelorette party, and they missed 99% of it.

I chose to ignore it because I wanted to have fun, but my future ...Read more

Roommate Woes Won't Go Away On Their Own

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been living with two other people in a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home for over a year now. Carrie has the main room and its bathroom. Zach has the half bath, but has to share the shower in my bathroom. We are all single and never have guests over.

One of the problems is that someone is using my toilet when I'm...Read more

Can I Prompt Others To Give Up Their Seats?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: The other day on the train, I was standing when a gentleman with a cane came on and was clearly looking around for someone to give up their seat.

Unfortunately, most seated people were lost in their books, phones or tablets. I have been similarly caught up in my device in the past, only to feel bad later when I realized that ...Read more

Traffic Maneuver Might Be Both Dangerous And Rude

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We all know that cutting in line is rude. At grocery stores, we line up nicely, as at banks. Why then, when we are driving, do some people insist on cutting?

I'm referring to those times when a construction zone is ahead, and we are supposed to move into one lane. Most cars do, but a few will use the still-available free lane...Read more

Cancellation Leaves Couple Without Dinner

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, my husband and I had plans with another couple to dine together, socially distanced, on our roof deck. The meal had been chosen, and was to be picked up at a restaurant by the other couple on their way to our house.

Approximately 30 or 45 minutes before they were to arrive with our ...Read more

Reporters Nosing Around? It's Fine To Decline

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received two voicemail messages and an email from a reporter asking me to reply to a personal statement made by a relative. I replied by email that I was not going to comment.

Later, I wondered what the protocol is for questions from reporters. Am I free to ignore them? Is it more polite to give a negative response than no ...Read more

Party Chauffeur Gets Raw Deal

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was asked to drive for a friend's daughter's birthday party, as my car can carry a few more passengers than my friend's. My daughter was invited, so I didn't mind too much. The event was a little over an hour away.

When the day came, no gas money was offered. My friend even suggested taking the girls to lunch at a pricier ...Read more

Answer Family's Nosy Questions Honestly

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have always been on the fence about having children. I ultimately decided it would depend on who I meet and get serious with.

As fate would have it, I met someone who doesn't want to have kids for medical reasons. We have discussed it, and she is open to adoption if I ever want to have kids.

The issue here is my family. I ...Read more

Ignore 'no Gifts' Request, But Don't Bring It To The Party

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A former teacher of mine, a beloved figure in the community, is being given a surprise retirement party by his students, colleagues and friends. The hush-hush invitations read sternly, PLEASE, NO GIFTS! A money tree will be provided!

The rationale is that given his modest salary, he will need the money to help him retire, ...Read more

Uninvited Guest Steals All The Frosting

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had a group of co-workers over for dinner and one of the women brought a delicious chocolate cake for dessert. As we were finishing dessert, a neighbor dropped over.

She sat down at the dinner table and I poured her a glass of wine. She reached over and took a piece of candy that was sitting on top of the cake -- and I was ...Read more

Responding To 'Thank You For Your Service'

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is a Vietnam veteran who is retired from the Army. When we go out and he wears his Vietnam Veteran hat, people often come up to him and say, Thank you for your service.

What is the proper response to this? To respond thank you doesn't seem quite right. I suggested I appreciate it, but he said that doesn't sound ...Read more

Ready To Meet The Queen -- Just In Case

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm never likely to meet Elizabeth II, but if I do, how would I be expected to act? I assume there would be someone there to give me protocol tips, but I am curious.

As a citizen of the United States, I assume I wouldn't curtsy (and if I were male, wouldn't bow), but would I slightly incline my head?

GENTLE READER: You would...Read more

Friends Don't Keep Movie Snacks To Themselves

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 63-year-old woman, and I met a friend (another 63-year-old woman) through a Bible study group four years ago. A week ago, we went to a movie theater. She brought out snacks and a drink for herself, and proceeded to eat and drink in front of me.

I would have never done that; I would have brought her a drink and snacks. ...Read more

Give Yelling-In-Public Beau A Taste Of His Own Medicine

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boyfriend has a horrible habit of calling out my name when we're in public. If he's looking for me in a store, instead of walking around a bit, he just starts yelling my name!

When we were meeting up at a store once, he was coming down an escalator and called my name out to get my attention -- from across the store! He ...Read more

Maybe Just Leave A Will

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over a century ago, when my grandmother had a heart attack, she collected her children and their spouses together and distributed her valuables, as she did not want to be bothered with writing a will.

When she gave her jewelry to her daughters, she said that she would like to see them wear it while she was still alive. When ...Read more

Former Colleague Doesn't Want To Socialize

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A colleague and I had a good professional relationship for many years -- mostly because I let her feel like she was in charge. We also had occasional social contact, which I no longer wish to continue.

When I last ran into her, we chatted amiably. I felt awkward saying goodbye, as I felt there was an expectation of reuniting,...Read more

An Elopement Is Not Just A Small Wedding

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Would you please define the verb to elope or the term elopement?

When I was growing up, elopement brought mental images of ladders leading to windows, and young women climbing out and running off to marry the gentlemen of their hearts' desire, despite the objections of their families. Or perhaps in a madcap romantic comedy of...Read more

He Slices English Muffins? Fetch The Smelling Salts

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: For the past 25 years, my loving but stubborn significant other and I have engaged in an ongoing argument over slicing, not fork-splitting, English muffins. Unfortunately, the first time I saw him slice apart a muffin, I reacted in horror, having never seen anyone do this before (especially as the package was labeled fork ...Read more

 

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