Life Advice



Who Makes The First Neighborly Move?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a protocol that should be followed when new neighbors move in, either for the new residents or the old ones? Is one party responsible for going over and introducing themselves?

GENTLE READER: Typically the established residents are the ones to initiate contact, but Miss Manners thinks that whoever gets there first, ...Read more

Are In-Laws Friends Or Family?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Years ago, in my prior marriage, my then-husband and I invited my newly married stepdaughter's in-laws to dinner. They declined, stating that they didn't need any more friends.

Friends? And here I thought in-laws were family. Later, the groom's mother threw a baby shower for her daughter-in-law (my stepdaughter) and she was ...Read more

Do I Have To Say 'that's Ok' When It's Not?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How can one respond when someone apologizes for something that really warrants an apology?

An automatic response for many people is to say, Don't worry about it, No worries or That's OK. But these responses suggest that whatever was done or whatever happened is acceptable and OK to do again.

Example: A friend's dog peed on ...Read more

Rules For A Reporter Leaving A Meeting Early

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a business reporter for a local newspaper. I was informed that one of our local larger businesses was having a staff meeting to discuss major changes, so I decided to attend.

It took place in a large auditorium and there were about 500 people in attendance. I quietly sat in the back row and took notes. About 20 minutes ...Read more

Why, Yes -- The Day After The Funeral Is 'too Soon'

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: The day after my father's funeral, a friend who had been in attendance called me on the telephone. She proceeded to ask, So, do you think your mother will start dating?

I was appalled, and replied, I really don't want to think about that. She then scolded me with, You can't be like that. It's your mother's life and you have ...Read more

Why Doesn't My Friend Like My Posts?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A current real-life friend sent me a friend request on social media, and I accepted. I have regularly liked quite a few of this friend's posts -- about half of them -- and even commented once or twice with something such as That's great! or Congratulations!

Never once has this friend liked or reacted in any way to any of my ...Read more

These Young Men At Work Keep 'mansplaining'

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm a woman in my 50s with decades of professional experience working for high-profile individuals. I'm more international than many diplomats, as well as trendy and attractive, and apparently I can pass for five to 10 years younger. Nevertheless, I am overwhelmed with how ageism and sexism are affecting me.

In the last ...Read more

Leave Your Water Bottle At Home

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: As an environmentally conscious person, as well as fitness-oriented, I usually carry a stainless steel bottle of water wherever I go.

When visiting other people, is it acceptable to carry my bottle in with me to stay hydrated, or should I leave it in my car in favor of the host's beverage selection?

GENTLE READER: The latter...Read more

Restaurant Experience Ruined By Masks

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: With masks now required for entering restaurants that are opening at reduced capacity, how do we handle conversations and eating? I can't imagine going back to my favorite restaurant and relaxing while masked. The experience is ruined, even at an outside table, and I would be more relaxed at home.

And I am really puzzled ...Read more

Can I Greet Callers By Name When Answering?

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I receive a call on my cellphone, most of the time it is from someone in my electronic phone book, so the name of the caller appears on my screen as the phone is ringing.

What is the proper thing to do when answering such a call? Just say hello as if I don't know who is calling? Or say, Hello, Mary (or whatever the ...Read more

Preparing For An Unlikely Etiquette Scenario

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: If one were to get food on one's eyeglasses while one is wearing them, should one use a napkin to clean them? Or another item, such as a microfiber cloth or handkerchief?

This has yet to happen to me in a public setting, but I am curious if this question has a definitive answer.

GENTLE READER: Would you mind telling Miss ...Read more

Pandemic Makes It Easier To Enforce Personal Boundaries

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I enjoy personal space and do not like being touched, other than by my husband. I am a friendly, outgoing person who simply doesn't like to hug.

It shouldn't be a big deal, except to my mother-in-law, it is. She insists on hugging me upon her arrival and departure -- of every visit. Her boyfriend does the same to me.

I dread...Read more

Cleaning One's Teeth At The Table -- Stealthily

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it ever acceptable to remove food from one's teeth at the table? I have extremely uneven teeth, and invariably have food showing after I've eaten -- in places where it cannot be dislodged by a sweep of the tongue.

Ordinarily, I retreat to the ladies' room immediately following a meal to remove any bits of remaining food. ...Read more

Mil Puts Best Foot Forward When Making Soup

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother-in-law isn't originally from this country, and loves to make chicken soup for me. She is a dear, sweet woman, and I do not want to offend her in any way. However, there is the matter of the ingredients.

There is the chicken meat, of course; some celery, just a few tomatoes and lots of noodles that she makes herself....Read more

Setting Boundaries With An Isolated Friend

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a work friend who calls me every day. Since social distancing began in March, our place of work has been closed. My friend lives alone and has always depended upon our workplace as their sole means of social interaction and access to the internet.

They do not have a computer at home, and they take pride in their non-...Read more

My Friend's Cooking Makes Me Sick

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a bosom buddy who loves to cook. Unfortunately, every time I eat her cooking, I suffer enormous intestinal distress.

For some time now, I have avoided eating at her house by scheduling my visits with her at times when I can reasonably say I have already eaten, but now she invites me over saying, Come hungry.

I couldn'...Read more

Adult Keeps Getting Invitations Via Her Mother

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an adult woman, over 50 years of age, single and living alone in a home I've owned for many years. Once again, my mother called to tell me that WE got an invitation in the mail -- addressed to my mother, at her home, with my name listed below hers.

The senders could have called our mutual relatives for my address. They ...Read more

White Shoes, Hidden Watches And Odd-Numbered Pearls

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

GENTLE READERS: Labor Day, for Miss Manners, comes with the laborious task of facing indignant messages from those who object to this holiday's also marking the end of the white shoe season.

Why they get so worked up bewilders her. It doesn't seem to make any impression that she keeps suggesting that anyone who wants to break a rule should find...Read more

Enlisting The Dog To Get The Message Across

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do I say to my son, who didn't acknowledge my birthday? Mind you, I walk his dog every day!

GENTLE READER: Attach a balloon to the dog with a note that reads, Wish your mother a happy birthday.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am not good at winding spaghetti on a fork. Is it gauche to discreetly cut it with a fork when eating it...Read more

Informing People Of An Unexpected Death

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband committed suicide. It has been an unbearable tragedy. Generally, I have not kept his cause of death a secret. If I have to tell a close friend, I will tell them that he took his own life. If I have to tell a business acquaintance, I'm more likely to say he died unexpectedly. In general, I don't tell anyone the ...Read more



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