Life Advice



Each Airplane Seat Has Its Perks, Drawbacks

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I fly, I choose the aisle seat because I don't want to feel "hemmed in," as I do in the window and middle seats. But inevitably, the person in the window seat in my row puts the shade down so they can sleep. This makes me feel a little claustrophobic.

I have learned to grin and bear it, but it is annoying and feels rude....Read more

'just Kidding!' Doesn't Excuse Insults

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a proper reaction to people who brutally insult or criticize you, but immediately follow it up with "just kidding"?

My wife's sister uses the phrase constantly. On a recent visit, she disapproved of the meal, noted my recent 10-pound weight gain and disliked our new sofa -- she wasn't asked for her opinion on any of ...Read more

The 'are You Busy?' Trap

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I don't understand when someone asks, "Are you busy tomorrow?" or "What are you doing Friday?" If you say "no" or "nothing," it's like you're automatically free to do them a favor. I find this very rude.

If I want to ask for something, I always say, "Are you busy tomorrow? Because I need a ride to the doctor" or whatever.

...Read more

Ubiquitous Fundraisers Not 'socially Acceptable'

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Why has it become socially acceptable for online funding campaigns to be made for everyone and everything? Social media is flooded with them, each one asking for thousands of dollars, and it feels excessive.

Am I missing something, that this has become acceptable? Or is it the guilt of people who feel the need to make a page ...Read more

Not Everything Is An Attack

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was shopping at a local grocery store, looking for Italian breadcrumbs. Searching the aisles, I couldn't find them. I came upon a lady also obviously looking for something, and I innocently asked her if she'd seen the breadcrumbs.

Her response floored me. She said, "Why -- because I'm a woman?"

My response was, "No, ...Read more

Bring Your Own Beer, Artisan Gin, Tea Bag, Organic Milk ...

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I invited a new co-worker and his wife over for dinner and didn't ask them to bring anything.

I was a little surprised when they brought their own pre-dinner drinks -- two bottles of an imported craft beer for him, plus two cans of tonic and a water bottle containing 4 ounces of artisan gin for her.

She even brought her own ...Read more

Regular Customers Want To Befriend Clerk

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work at a convenience store near my home. I see the store's regulars every day, and of course we become friendly. Some I like more than others.

Occasionally, a customer will ask me for my phone number, claiming we should get together. This request comes from both male and female customers, some interested in friendship and ...Read more

Finding A Polite Version Of 'down In Front!'

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At an event where almost everyone is seated, am I rude for asking someone standing in front of me to sit down? Or is that person more rude?

I realize that there are several scenarios where it's tough cookies for me if I decide to sit, such as a stadium rock concert or a pep rally. That, I get.

What I don't get is people who ...Read more

I'm Nobody's Guest, Thank You Very Much

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a woman who works in a male-dominated industry, where I have earned a leadership role. I regularly attend industry events where spouses are included, and I love meeting my co-workers' spouses.

However, I am frequently asked who in the room I am married to, or whether I am married to my (male) boss. Sometimes other people...Read more

Knife Rules Haven't Changed

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I was growing up, I was taught that under no circumstances did one point a blade, or any other sharp object, at another person. When handing a knife or a pair of scissors to someone else, one handed the article with the handle toward the recipient and the blade tip pointed toward oneself. Similarly, when setting the table...Read more

No One Tells Me When Bad Things Happen

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Lately, people have been saying to me, "It is not my story to tell" when I ask about the welfare of friends who might be having problems, or after I find out something devastating about a friend I care deeply about.

For example, I found out a friend's brother had died. When I asked why no one had told me, I was told, "It's ...Read more

The Doctor Is Not In

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a reputation for being a good listener and having a good shoulder to cry on. I am happy to listen to my friends' troubles and offer encouragement when needed.

But there are times when my personal medical issues take all of my time and energy to deal with, and the troubles of others would exhaust my emotional resources....Read more

Tricking My Friends Into Swimming With Sharks

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I graduated with my Ph.D. two years ago. My friends have been asking me nonstop to come for a visit. However, every time I visit, they just want to go bar-hopping, something I am not a fan of.

Now they are saying if I come visit, they will do something I want, as long as there is a low risk of getting sick, injured or killed....Read more

Galling Offer Deserves Appalled Response

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a dear friend who suffered a stroke as a teenager, which left her with weakness on one side of her body. She is now in her 40s and has a wonderful husband and a lovely daughter. She is an avid volunteer and artist.

While she was out in public with me recently, a woman approached my friend and asked if she could lay ...Read more

I Accidentally Saw The Price Of My Gift

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received the most beautiful earrings from a new boyfriend for my birthday. When I opened the box to wear them, there was a price tag hidden in the jewelry box itself. I am sure he did not see it to remove it.

The jewelry was significantly more expensive than I had expected. There is a little guilt now, knowing the price and...Read more

Is It Rude To Ask For A Different Table?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When is it acceptable to ask for a different table when being seated at a restaurant?

My husband and I have a favorite restaurant, which does not take reservations. In the past month, we have been seated once by the restrooms and once by the kitchen.

The second time, I politely asked the hostess if we could have another ...Read more

Yes, Etiquette Is 'performative.' So What?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I attempt to use proper etiquette in my daily life. I'm far from perfect, and mistakes happen, but I do try my hardest to be polite in all things.

A former friend of mine said, on numerous occasions, that he believes my use of etiquette is merely performative.

I once asked him if we could stop at a store so I could purchase ...Read more

Wishing Miserable Friend A 'happy' Anniversary Feels Wrong

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My best friend and I have very frank and open communications on most topics, but there is one issue I feel very unsure about properly handling.

She and her husband have an extremely acrimonious relationship, and are together only because of the practicalities of caring for their children, who have special needs. She usually ...Read more

Are You Declining An Invitation, Or Just Not Showing Up?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How much detail in the response is required when declining an invitation, and does it vary by event?

For example, if I say, "I'm busy that day" when just a cup of coffee is involved, do I need to say, "I'm chairing a charity event that weekend" when a destination wedding is in the works?

I was always pretty terse in my RSVPs...Read more

Large Inconvenience Requires More Than A Token Gesture

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We will be moving out of our house for 10 months during a major renovation. Although we will escape the noise and the chaos, our neighbors will not. There will be the usual trucks, mess and noise that go with any construction project.

We're going to follow all the legal guidelines for the project (permits, neighborhood ...Read more



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