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Miss Manners: I didn’t accept my co-worker’s regift and now she’s mad

3 min

Dear Miss Manners: I work in a professional office setting, and have felt some disdain from the other women in my office. I am an avid skier, snowboarder, mountain biker and hiker, and my boyfriend, daughter and I prioritize these activities in our free time. It’s very clear that my hobbies are quite different from those of the other women at work — a fact that doesn’t bother me, but seems to bother them.

One of these co-workers had offered me a pass to a local ski hill that is not very technical, nor difficult to ski on. She told me that it was a pass she had won, and asked me if I would use it, which I simply won’t. I buy annual season passes to a different local ski hill — one that matches our skill level — and have for years.

So I politely declined this regift. Was it rude of me to decline a regift I will never use? In my mind, it was more honest to tell her that we already have passes to the more technical ski hill, thus allowing her to find someone else who would use it. I believe I even offered her that suggestion.

This co-worker became downright rude to me following this interaction. Being someone who feels honesty is extremely important, as well as someone who doesn't understand spending the energy to passive-aggressively hurt others, I just came to work and did my job — paying no mind to the women scowling at me as I walked to my desk.

I just don’t seem to understand office drama. Maybe that’s because I spend my time out in the forests and on the slopes? Or am I on a different type of slope of being unintentionally rude?

But you do try to avoid running into trees as you enjoy your forests and slopes, don’t you?

Because Miss Manners thinks you deliberately, if metaphorically, smacked into the scenery with your co-worker. She offered you both a present and, by asking if you could use it, an opportunity to politely decline. All you had to do was thank her and say that you cannot use it, as you have season tickets to another resort.

Instead, you devalued it when you complained about the resort — and coincidentally bragged about your own prowess. Miss Manners would not have thought that swerving to avoid obstacles compromises one’s honesty.

Dear Miss Manners: My houseguest’s departure has been delayed because of bad weather for three days. The delay will probably be extended again. What should I expect of her? Can I ask her to move into a hotel?

Inconvenient though it may be, not dumping guests in the nearest puddle when the weather gets bad is one of the oldest duties of a host. The amenities available in said puddle are beside the point.

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