Keep Your Ancestry Curiosity To Yourself
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Since moving to a new area, I've found that people ask where my family is from and react oddly when I confess that I don't know.
We are white, and we have lived in the rural South for generations. Growing up, it never seemed strange to me that we had no other explanation for our presence there. My great-grandparents were all ...Read more
Fellow Author's 'advice' Starting To Chafe
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm the author of three published books. I came to writing late in life, but enjoy excellent reviews and decent sales. I have managed to secure an agent, an editor and a publishing contract.
I met a slightly older writer at a conference a few years ago. My colleague has more books to their name, and their success seems to ...Read more
Friends Keep Flaking On My Teas
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have hosted several teas for five to eight friends, most of them around my age (mid-20s) or a little younger. My difficulty is with RSVPs: Each time, I've had multiple guests tell me the day of the tea that they're no longer able to attend -- for reasons such as being tired, having work to get done or needing to go grocery ...Read more
Bridal Shower Guest Lists Getting Out Of Control
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is a shower planner to do? It is impossible to generate a manageable guest list anymore, given the climate of gender neutrality.
My gay girlfriends want to bring their partners; my transgender friends do, too. And my gay nephew wants to be invited along with his husband. Am I supposed to give all the invited guests a ...Read more
Neighbors Excluded From Group Trip
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In our neighborhood, there is a core group of about 25 residents who are very close, often taking trips together. We do not belong to that group, though we are friendly with them.
We host an annual event at our home, and when the invitations went out for this year's gathering, three members of the group responded that they ...Read more
Professor Doesn't Want To Retire Yet
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a university professor in my mid-60s, I feel very comfortable with my job. I find my daily interactions with students refreshing, and enjoy the company of several colleagues in the profession. I have a rich intellectual life.
I love what I do and do what I love. Unless I develop a severe disease, I plan to continue my work...Read more
Another Nosy Question: 'what's Wrong With Your Eye?'
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work in retail and have dealt with all types of people. Three years ago, I had cancer in my eye and had surgery to treat it. When I am tired -- which happens when working retail hours in a dry, old building -- the rim of my eye will turn red.
I am frustrated with the "no boundaries" type of customers, who often say to me, "...Read more
Just Meet Your Former Colleagues For Lunch Next Time
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I worked for a small company until recently. During my time there, I formed many wonderful personal and professional relationships. I left for a career-advancing opportunity.
Before I left, I was invited to come back and visit. My new position allows flexibility, so I have been able to come back and see my friends and former ...Read more
Times Change, But These Essentials Don't
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I feel like there's a large generational gap that needs to be addressed. What is considered necessary or obvious to one generation is considered frivolous or foreign to another. Culture changes, and so do expectations regarding behavior.
I'm a younger millennial, turning 28 next month. Millennials and Generation Z have ...Read more
Great Boss Misses The Mark, Wardrobe-Wise
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I love my new boss. He's supportive, accessible and smart. Since the whole team works remotely, our meetings take place online. But how do you approach the boss about his being completely inappropriately dressed for a business meeting -- even a virtual one?
This otherwise great guy shows up on screen in his home office, which...Read more
Obsessing About Neighbors Not The Same As 'ignoring' Them
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our new neighbors are well-known for being troublemakers. We are maintaining a cold and distant relationship with them, due to their famously disrespectful ways, and we have already been warned they are gossiping about us because of this.
I had to request intervention from the police due to them constantly blocking the ...Read more
'lovely, Formal Luncheon' Becomes 'fancy Little Shindig'
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a lovely handwritten invitation to attend a formal ladies' luncheon at my friend's home. Of course I accepted, and was looking forward to getting dressed up, as I don't have many chances to do so.
I told another friend of mine about it and she said that it sounded very nice, that she didn't really know many people ...Read more
People Keep Asking Why I Need My Service Dog
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a disability that is not readily visible, and I have a service dog to help me navigate the world and go about my business. She is a small dog and suits my needs very well, but she's not one of the classic breeds that people associate with service dogs.
When I enter a space that is not pet-friendly, I am often ...Read more
Writing Thank-You Notes To People You Don't Even Know
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother has an active social life, with multiple friendships that have lasted decades. I have been assured that I have met these ladies, but that I was "just a baby" at the time.
I have been blessed with two children in the last two years, and these kind ladies give my mother presents for my children. My mom brings some ...Read more
Successful Guy, Sloppy Eater
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our son is in his mid-30s and is a successful artist and businessman with a wonderful career. However, he has really terrible table manners, in spite of our efforts throughout his childhood to teach him otherwise. (His sibling has no such issues.)
He eats with his mouth open much of time, leans over the table onto his elbows,...Read more
It's Always My Turn To Vent -- Never Yours
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've had a tough year, and am blessed with friends who keep in contact to make sure I'm OK. My problem is that I have a few friends who call or invite me out under the guise of giving me a chance to vent, but they end up doing the majority of the talking. They also make me feel worse because they share all that's wrong in ...Read more
This Is The Opposite Of Helping
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband's father has been married for a few years to a kind but very high-strung woman. I need help figuring out how to get her out of the kitchen around dinnertime and during meal cleanup.
She insists on trying to "help," but her anxious nature only makes things more difficult. She comes up to me while I am rinsing dishes...Read more
The 'just-Because' Party Went The Way Of The Dodo
DEAR MISS MANNERS: With a certain group, I am only invited to events that require gifts. I've realized these people are complete users. How do I gently get away from them?
GENTLE READER: Sadly, that seems to be the prevalent form of entertaining everywhere. Rather than planning parties just for the fun of getting together with friends, many ...Read more
No Excuses, Just Extenuating Circumstances
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Several people of my acquaintance are in the habit of offering a rationale for poor behavior, quickly followed by, "But that's not an excuse." For example: "I'm sorry I lost my temper and dumped that bowl of egg salad on your head. Work has just been so stressful lately, and I'm not getting much sleep. But that's not an excuse...Read more
I Think My Girlfriend Vacations Without Me -- Twice A Month
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been in a relationship with a woman for six months now. Things have been really great; we get along well, make each other laugh a lot and are mutually supportive.
The thing is, she goes on business trips once or twice a month that range from a couple of days to a full week. Don't get me wrong -- it's kind of nice ...Read more