Dear Miss Manners: A relative and I are organizing a get-together of family members we don’t see much now that our grandparents and parents have died. We plan to invite 15 relatives and their spouses, kids and grandkids, with multiple activities planned over two or three days. Most will have to travel for the occasion.
There are two people we don’t want to join us, but whom we must invite because leaving them off the invitation list would require explaining the reasons. (Those reasons include the theft of tens of thousands of dollars, the theft of family heirlooms and making sexualized remarks to a preteen.)
How can we include them in the invitation list but somehow keep them from coming? We could send invitations electronically, with names of all the relatives in blind copies, but eventually the omission would be noticed.
I have thought of hinting at legal action to one of these relatives, but have no such threat to make to the other.
Issuing invitations and pressing charges in the same mail reminds Miss Manners of the ancient practice of inviting your rival to dinner so you could assassinate him.
It made for a good story (for those who survived), but it was never good manners.
If these relatives committed such egregious acts, then they should not be invited. If you do not want to explain why they were excluded, say, “We have had some serious differences that I do not wish to discuss.” And then pass the cookies.
Dear Miss Manners: I live in a nonsmoking apartment building. The policy states that residents in violation are liable for a $250 fee for each occurrence. Part of why I moved here is because I’m a nonsmoker.
The problem is the person in the apartment below me, who smokes marijuana. Generally I'm a live-and-let-live person, but their smoke wafts into my place through the vents.
I knocked on their door, explained the situation and requested that they take it outside. They said they would. They haven’t.
I hate to act like a “Karen” by reporting them to management and causing them to potentially pay $250, but I also don’t want to live with this smoke. What is the most decent and reasonable way to handle this?
Being a good neighbor means not breaking the rules, and also dealing reasonably with those who do. Whether one does this because it is bad policy to antagonize people who know where you live, or from the more recent fear of public shaming if there turn out to be extenuating circumstances, the caution is the same.
Miss Manners suggests allowing one more incident to go unreported, and then discussing with the offender whether there is a way that you two can solve the problem together — without the need to involve anyone else. If, ultimately, you do have to appeal to management, include, along with your insistence that the behavior stop, an expression of sympathy for the offender.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
©2022, by Judith Martin