If You Buy A Lawyer A Birthday Cake ...
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an attorney at a small firm. When the staff member who used to buy birthday cakes retired, I picked up a cake for a birthday that was going to be observed right after she left.
I then bought the next birthday cake, which was for my favorite member of the firm. And then I bought a cake for the least-liked person in the ...Read more
Help! My Least-Favorite Neighbor Invited Me To A Party
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I moved to a new neighborhood. While we have acquainted ourselves with most of the neighbors and will stop for a brief chat when we see them outdoors, we would not consider any of them to be friends yet at this stage of the game.
The neighbors directly next door to us have done some inconsiderate things such as...Read more
Just Assume You're Always On Speakerphone
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My brother and I live in different states. We talk regularly by phone, with increased frequency over the past couple of years due to many illnesses and deaths in the extended family.
Virtually every time we speak, my sister-in-law jumps into the conversation midway through (sometimes after 10 or 15 minutes) to add a comment. ...Read more
'Sorry, I Don't Remember Strolling In The Woods With You'
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I recently attended a dinner party where one of the other guests was someone whom I had met once, several years ago, and hadn't seen since. At that time, we were part of a large group visiting a park. Apparently she and I spent an hour or two walking around together and talking.
To be honest, I had no recollection of this ...Read more
'Sweet' Husband Dismisses And Laughs At Wife's Requests
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is a very sweet, good-natured guy. But lately, he keeps upsetting me with a particular annoying (and in my view, very inconsiderate) habit. He loves taking photos of me, including candid photos when I don't realize he is taking them.
I accept it is part of who he is, and I try to be patient about it. The really ...Read more
I Like Your Dress, But Don't Need The Designer's Name
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was at a party for a financial business, where everyone was dressed up and having cocktails and hors d'oeuvres before a sit-down dinner and dancing. A woman stood nearby for several minutes with her back to me. When she turned and we caught each other's eyes, I told her I had been admiring her dress and that it was a very ...Read more
Setting A 'No Cellphones' Boundary At One's Wedding
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My fiance and I are getting married next year and so far, everything is coming together smoothly. The only issue I have is how to tell our guests that there will be a very strict "no cellphones" policy during the ceremony -- without sounding like a bridezilla.
They can have their phones out during the reception all they want,...Read more
No, This Family Lunch Isn't A Business Expense
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a certified public accountant who frequently entertains clients and business associates during lunch and dinner meetings. I also enjoy hosting family and friends at restaurants.
When I pick up the check with the latter group, someone often makes a comment such as, "This must be a business expense or a write-off" -- ...Read more
My Customers Laugh At My Employee's Unusual Hair
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am the manager of a gift store where my clientele mostly ranges from 40 to 70 years old. I have an employee in her early 20s who is sweet, super helpful and professionally courteous -- everything you'd want in a worker.
She has her own unique style, and changes her hair with fun colors or highlights; right now it's a very ...Read more
Former Friend Now Gives Me The Cold Shoulder
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been friends with a woman for almost 15 years. We are part of a group that often gets together for game nights, and we also celebrate important days in our lives.
On her last birthday, I offered to take her out to dinner, something we have done for both of our birthdays every year. She responded by saying she wants to ...Read more
Why Do People Ask Me If I 'Still Work'?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a social event given by an organization in which my spouse is active, a member asked me, "Do you still work?"
I was somewhat taken aback by this question. I am in my late 50s, and am told that my appearance and dress match my age.
This is not the first time a newly met person in a social situation has asked me this ...Read more
Rude Date Won't Get Another Chance
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was on a second date at an upscale French restaurant. To my surprise and dismay, my date was incredibly rude to the waiter the entire night, starting with criticizing him for not speaking French (as my date does), never making eye contact with the waiter, never saying please and thank you, and so on.
I was mortified and I ...Read more
Dinner Guest Doesn't Want Smart Speaker Listening In
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was recently invited for dinner at a friend's home, along with several others. The host has previously mentioned that he has a smart speaker in the dining room of his home.
I understand that a smart speaker, unless disabled, will pick up and record conversations held nearby. I do not want my conversation at dinner to be ...Read more
Friend Sticks To His Sloppy Uniform
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I are part of a close-knit group of five couples. We all socialize often, whether in our various homes or out doing some recreational activity.
One of our gentleman friends is truly a very nice person: friendly, considerate, good sense of humor and an animal lover (cats, anyway). However, at all of our social ...Read more
When It Comes To Gratitude, Better Late Than Never
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am usually good about thanking people. Now, I am flummoxed. A note or even a gift seems so inadequate for what friends have done for us.
In one case, some friends hosted my husband when he was cleaning out his mother's house, hours from home. They looked after the mail and even took my mother-in-law to get a COVID ...Read more
Why Won't Anyone Help Me Save The Planet?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Living in a city that generates massive quantities of plastic waste on a daily basis, I can't pass an overflowing garbage can or notice litter blowing down the street without thinking about where it will end up.
If I had my way, single-use plastic would be strictly limited to essential functions, such as in medical equipment ...Read more
Ditch The French And Stick With 'Please Respond'
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When did "RSVP" cease to mean "Please respond, yes or no" and come to mean "Respond only if your answer is yes"? I receive a lot of e-vites and such, and they all seem to imply this new interpretation of the old phrase.
It feels a little rude not to be offered a gracious way to opt out that doesn't involve not responding at ...Read more
Our Friends Gave Us A Bill After Dinner
DEAR MISS MANNERS: About once a month, we go out to dinner with another couple and always have a good time. We tend to order roughly the same things -- one drink each, no desserts unless it's a special occasion -- so we just split the bill.
We were surprised, but fine with it, when they suggested that we should eat at their house next time ...Read more
Mom Gives Me Unwearable Clothes When All I Need Is Cash
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother cannot recognize the realities of my life. My husband lost his job four years ago; we eke by with thoughtful spending and renting out our guest room. I work overtime whenever I can, so we can have little luxuries like a streaming service subscription and quality food for our pets.
My mother is fully aware of our ...Read more
Shopping Without Buying Remains Perfectly Fine
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I have an amicable disagreement concerning window shopping.
In my view, it is perfectly acceptable to enter a store and look around, even if the chance I will purchase an item is somewhat low. In instances when I speak with an attendant, I set expectations by saying, "I am not sure if I am ready to make a ...Read more