Miss Manners: Give benefit of the doubt to friend who texts fiance

February 13

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it appropriate for one of my friends to text my fiance exclusively with casual conversation? They were not friends prior to our relationship. I’m not asking if it’s wrong considering I do not know the situation, but rather I’d like to know if there are any guidelines that deem it appropriate.

GENTLE READER: Are you asking if it is appropriate for your friend to be friends with your fiance? Or are you asking Miss Manners to tell them to stop it?

If your fiance is texting your friend while you are trying to hold a conversation with him, then guidelines would deem this to be rude. Otherwise, you would do well to be happy that everyone is getting along.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a flight attendant for a major airline. As you can imagine, I deal with hundreds of customers each day I am at work. I try to present a polished look, and I feel that after 25 years in the industry, I still have maintained an excellent attitude.

What is really getting me down is when passengers comment on how I look. Nearly every day someone will say to me, “You look tired.”

I do not know how to respond — especially when I am not tired. I do not comment on their looks, so why is it okay for them to comment on mine?

GENTLE READER: Well, it is not, but they mean it to be sympathetic. They are thinking how tired they would be if they had to do your job, and offer this as a way of being sorry they are causing you more work.

But folks, telling people they look tired is really tiresome. Miss Manners begs everyone to cut it out.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Should I refrain from asking my sisters-in-law, none of whom I’m really close to, not to come to the hospital waiting room to wait with me while my husband, their brother, has a relatively routine surgery? One of them is just nosy.

I’m sure they love their brother, but we never associate with them, and I just don’t want the stress of having to make small talk with them. It’s awkward, and I don’t want to be hurtful — I just want to be alone to wait.

GENTLE READER: Yes, you should refrain.

As inconvenienced as you might feel, this is their brother, and nosy or not, they have as much claim as you to wait for him at the hospital. Moreover, they’ve known him longer.

The stress of making small talk with in-laws is called being part of a family. But Miss Manners will allow you this: If the sisters ask if there’s anything they can do for you, you may send them out for coffee — if you do so graciously.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it okay to cut, clean or clip your nails at a table at home or in a restaurant?

GENTLE READER: Only if you are eating alone, with the shades down, at a table no one else will have to use.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on www.washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her Web site, www.missmanners.com.

2014, by Judith Martin

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