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Miss Manners: What’s the etiquette for ending an online customer service chat?

Dear Miss Manners: I love using online chats for business questions. It’s quicker than email and better than sitting on hold forever, plus I have a transcript of what was said.

However, ending the chat is confusing. They are taught to write things like, “Anything else I could help you with?” or “Have a good day.” The former requires a response, and the second might. Do you end the chat, or let them? If you end it, what is a polite but unequivocal way of saying, “I’m signing off now”?

The lack of a comfortable rhythm for ending chat sessions has been noticed by Miss Manners as well, but the basic rules have not changed.

As you are the customer, it is up to you to confirm that the reason for your call has been addressed. “No, thank you. Goodbye” is an adequate response to the first option, and “Thank you, goodbye” to the second. You will, however, have to have the courage of your convictions by then signing off.

Dear Miss Manners: I’ve been putting off going to the dentist because I know the hygienist who cleans teeth does nothing but talk about her personal life the whole time you’re stuck there.

I know it sounds mean, but I don’t want to hear it. Lots of people just blab on about personal things to me, but this is a medical office. She even said one time that she loves that about her job — all the talking. Ugh.

Your reasonable desire not to be treated as a captive audience by the hygienist is a good topic for discussion with your dentist. But Miss Manners recommends you not have that conversation while you are in the dental chair: The doctor, although limiting conversation to “You can spit now,” may infer that your complaint is not really about the hygienist.

Dear Miss Manners: Over the years, I’ve traveled around the country and have noticed that the names of certain cities are pronounced differently by the locals than outsiders. For instance, Baltimore becomes “Ball Meer” and New Orleans is “Nor Leens.”

I’m never certain which pronunciation I should use. If I try the localized version, then I sound overly familiar and affected — yet, if I pronounce the name as I would normally, I feel that I’m disrespecting local customs. What’s the proper thing to do?

Adopting local pronunciations is more likely to go wrong than right. You are unlikely to satisfy a native ear, and might even give offense: either for how you get it wrong, or for pretending to be something you are not (native to the region). On the bright side, Miss Manners assures you that whatever you do, you will be honoring the local custom of embarrassing the tourist.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it proper to choose a restaurant that you like, rather than asking the friend her preference?

Why can’t you do both? Assuming, of course, that you wish to see her again.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

©2022, by Judith Martin