The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Miss Manners: My friend can’t keep her eyes on the road while we’re driving together

Dear Miss Manners: I have a good friend I enjoy traveling with on road trips. But when she drives, she has a tendency to look over at me while we are talking. It makes me nervous, because she is taking her eyes off the road.

Is there any polite way to ask her to keep her eyes on the road without insulting her? I know that a lot of people do this when they drive.

Keep your own eyes glued to the road. This will make your point, as not looking your friend in the eye when she is speaking to you would normally be considered impolite. But Miss Manners feels that someone needs to be watching out for potential trouble. She counsels against dramatizing the point further by pretending to see dangers that do not exist.

Dear Miss Manners: I joined a golf club to meet new people to play with and, I hope, make new friends. Often, I will be chatting on the driving range or in the clubhouse with someone I know, when someone I don’t know stops to speak with the person I am talking to. Neither one makes any introductions.

I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but I would like to introduce myself. Should I just stop their conversation and say, “Hi, I’m so-and-so?” Is there a better way to handle this awkward situation?

The situation is awkward because everyone but you is being rude, according to club etiquette, where members are considered to be approachable.

The solution is not to be rude back — which would include interrupting someone who is speaking or concentrating on the game — but to act as if you are part of the conversation until there is an opening for your self-introduction. Miss Manners trusts that the other parties will then recognize their mistake — and appreciate the gracefulness with which you correct it.

Dear Miss Manners: I live in a small neighborhood in the middle of a very big city. Everyone knows everyone else. I am involved with a group of friends who like to cook and have dinner parties whenever possible.

I don’t like to cook, but I do bake, and I always bring the alcoholic drinks and flowers to make sure that I am contributing.

My issue is that I have tried to reciprocate with these people and have them over to my house for things like afternoon tea and movie night, but they are not interested. There is nothing wrong with my house; it is quaint, historic and clean. My neighborhood friends only come over reluctantly, and they have made it pretty clear that they are not interested in coming over here.

They have used the excuse of the busy street, but I suspect that they just like to give the parties so they can be the center of attention, while my husband and I are just “warm bodies.”

As time goes by, I feel more and more uncomfortable always being the guest and not being able to reciprocate. What can I do?

Attend less frequently, or not at all, or continue to go and enjoy the parties. Offering to reciprocate is not, Miss Manners agrees, the same as reciprocating, but so long as the offer was not of the airy “you should come over sometime” variety that everyone knows means nothing, you have done your duty.

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.