DEAR MISS MANNERS: I manage a department of about 15 professional and clerical workers. I am a direct resource for most, and I enjoy helping them find solutions. My office is a revolving door, with usually no more than 20 minutes between visits.
What is bothering me is a complete disdain for my food and beverages. I frequently drink coffee at ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited to a friend's home for lunch with a group of other women. While we were all seated and enjoying the lovely lunch provided by our hostess, one of the women sitting by me began interrogating me about my health. She asked me very intrusive questions in a rude, loud, belligerent voice that could be heard throughout ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the thinking these days on who in a couple signs a greeting card?
A few years ago, I had some surgery and missed a family gathering. My sister very nicely sent a "get well" card, signed by all four of the women at the get-together, on behalf of themselves and their husbands. In two of the couples, it is the husband I ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have about a dozen fruit trees at our home. We fertilize, prune and care for them ourselves. When the fruit is on the trees, we have invited a few specific people, usually from our church, to come pick some.
When I invited one church member to come and get some fruit, imagine my surprise when she arrived with a caravan of ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've been living life for other people for the last 20-something years. I've decided to take a risk and sell everything to move to a bigger city. I've always taken care of my family and friends, but I'm doing this for me.
While I do have friends and support in the new city, I haven't told anyone here. Am I required to let my ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have friends, a married couple, with whom we have vacationed on several occasions. We live in different states, so we don't see them that often.
This past Thanksgiving, we rented a house with them for a week. It was the week from hell. They fought constantly, trading insults; at one point, the wife was so upset that she ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son and I were talking on the phone about my upcoming visit to their house. My 4-year-old granddaughter was chattering in the background. (She's very, very verbal.) My son asked if she wanted to "say hello to Babs."
I distinctly heard her reply, "Who's Babs?" My son said, "She's my mommy and she's your grandmother."
To my...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our daughter proudly enlisted in the military three years ago, at age 19. She achieved her goal of joining an elite corps, and was so happy about it. We were (and are) proud of the composed, confident young woman she had become.
About six months after her graduation, however, she suffered a sexual assault from another ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I always invite the same friends and neighbors to my annual barbecue, and they always attend. One neighbor, who is very outspoken, asked if he and his wife could buy pizza and bring it to my gathering.
I replied, "If you don't like what I have, eat at home before you come." I feel they should have declined instead.
This same...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it OK to have 50 people in your backyard, eating, dancing and socializing, and then when it's time for you and your family to eat, to come inside and eat at the table, leaving all the other people outside? Or should the host family eat outside with everyone?
GENTLE READER: How rowdy are the 50 people? And are you certain ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have seen a growing number of people throwing "divorce showers." An acquaintance whose marriage ended many years ago just sent me an invitation to her "starting over shower," which was clearly not a housewarming party.
The invitation says that "gifts are appreciated, but not expected," and then lists a variety of stores ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Several months ago, my cousin invited me to join him and his wife for a night at the theater. As I am single, they also asked if I would mind if they brought along a young woman, to which I said I would not mind at all.
The woman they introduced me to seemed nice enough, but I found her to be much too young. I am 33, and she ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have a close friend who is really one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. His family and ours often get together for dinners at each other's homes, restaurants, etc.
The problem, which causes some of us a bit of embarrassment, is that his "dress" is always shorts and a T-shirt. Dinners with guests beyond our ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a lawyer of some age, having had a license for more than 40 years. I often have to address written communications to female colleagues.
When I began practicing, it was observed that the title "Esq." was exclusively for male lawyers, no females having been squires. In letters, females were addressed as "Atty." Those who ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a female medical professional. I advise patients on nutritional and dietary matters relating to their efforts to lose weight for health reasons. I also happen to be naturally quite slender.
Occasionally when I meet a patient (most of whom are women), she will comment, "You're so skinny!" Or, in the course of a ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I grew up without any extra money, and now I make a good living. When I inform someone excitedly that the gift I gave them was expensive, it's because I am proud of my affection towards that person and want to share my affection with them verbally.
I realize there are more polite means. However, I am happy to give gifts that ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: More often than not, when I must communicate with vendors or companies who have customer service centers in other countries, I simply can't understand the representatives I speak with. I have difficulty with foreign accents and have to ask the person on the other end to repeat the information several times.
This is ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A co-worker and I started our jobs at the same time, a couple of years ago. He has a rough time learning and understanding how to conduct his job.
My other co-workers and I have continuously tried teaching him the same things repeatedly, given him notes, and showed him how to take and organize notes, but it got to the point ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the correct way of wording for my wedding invitations? I don't want to be rude and just put, "Please RSVP so we can have a head count for the food."
GENTLE READER: Could we retire the term "RSVP" (correctly punctuated as "R.s.v.p.")? It has confused even you. Your "please" is redundant, as that is what the s.v.p. ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Occasionally I receive postcards in the mail, and when my roommate gets the mail, he will inevitably read them. I know he reads them because he will ask detailed questions about the contents of the sender's message.
When I pointed out that this was essentially reading my mail, he said that nothing private would be written on ...Read more