DEAR MISS MANNERS:
My husband and I are friends with another couple who live several hours away. I’ve never quite cared for the man, but I can tolerate him in small doses and I will gladly do that for my husband. I’m glad he has a “buddy,” and it’s not for me to choose who his friends are.
That being said, the two text NONSTOP! They give each other blow-by-blow updates throughout the entire day and evening. They will literally text every few seconds: “Going to eat at Outback Steakhouse now” ... “Just ordered a sirloin” ... “Wife just got her salad” ... “Getting ready to pay the bill” ... “Going to Walmart now” ... “Looking at motor oil and wife is buying toilet paper.” I’m not kidding -- it’s ridiculous!
It has gotten so bad that I feel like the buddy is intruding in our lives. I’ve tried to express my feelings on the matter to my husband, but he can’t understand why it bothers me, and I’m not very good at verbalizing the feelings.
I feel the texting is completely out of hand. It’s like the buddy is more a part of our marriage than I am. Is it wrong of me to resent this constant exchange of our life’s details?
GENTLE READER: It strikes Miss Manners as only a matter of time before those two bore each other to death. But that may not be the way you want to solve the problem.
The obvious reason for your husband to modify this habit in your presence is that it drives you crazy. But perhaps he is already envisioning a more exciting text: “Drove wife crazy.”
As you acknowledge, it is not for you to choose his friends or to monitor their exchanges. However, you can ask for his attention when you are together, and you can ask to be omitted from his running accounts on the grounds of privacy.
DEAR MISS MANNERS:
I know it was tactless of me to offer unwelcome child-rearing advice to my stepdaughter in front of her Facebook friends. (She posts “party animal” shots and sexual preferences, etc. I asked, “Who do you want to raise your kids?”)
My intention was a wake-up call, not a “gotcha.” I expected her “un-friending” me posthaste.
However, I still feel she needed someone to be her “Dutch uncle/aunt,” and I seem to be the only one unafraid of familial expulsion. I feel it would be covert of me to try to win her approval by apologizing over something I would likely do again in the future. I welcome the wisdom that only your chastising will bring.
GENTLE READER: Let us hope so. Miss Manners is not willing to waste time trying to reason with people who declare that they plan to continue being rude.
And it is rude, as you acknowledge, to deliver reprimands in front of others, however well-deserved these may be. Nor is it effective. Did your stepdaughter wake up to the problem, or did she, as even you anticipate, remove the alarm’s ability to reach her?
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