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Miss Manners: Is this email to my co-worker rude?

Dear Miss Manners: How should I edit the following email to a colleague so as to reconcile the situation? My honesty is not always expressed politely, even less so when I am tired.

Generally, everyone in my workplace are all weirdos and impolitic, and also great friends, but I need a little extra help with politeness in this case.

“Dear Colleague,

“Can we please move past recent events (wherein we disagreed about a trivial topic, both believing ourselves to be correct)? However, I was correct, and don’t wish to indicate otherwise. I understand you undoubtedly feel the same.

“We were in a tense situation and were exceptionally sleep-deprived and overstretched. That stress-causing event is finished. We are rested now.

“How can we fix this, or at least lay down arms? I know if you had truly moved past it, you wouldn’t be avoiding me. You can be oblivious and thoughtless as well, and we usually just let things slide. What gives?”

This letter, at once antagonistic and incendiary, is anything but an apology. Miss Manners wonders what you hoped to achieve by sending it, except to prolong the argument.

She therefore suggests the following edit:

“Dear Colleague,

“How can we fix this?”

She further recommends that you and your colleagues all get more sleep.

Dear Miss Manners: Almost 10 years ago, we did a major remodel to our living quarters. Our former contractor and architect contacted us this week to see if a current client could come to our home and inspect a fixture we had installed.

The fixture is European and apparently not on display in our city.

I am uncomfortable having complete strangers in my home, and specifically my bedroom, to see whether they like the appearance of the fixture. My husband feels it is rude to deny the request, as we both like the contractor and may wish to hire him for a future project.

Is their request reasonable, and I am just being rude?

Their request is not unreasonable, but it is also not absurd for you to not want to make your house a showroom.

Miss Manners suggests responding with something like, “We prefer not to have strangers in the house for health reasons, but we’d be happy to take pictures or even shoot a short video if your clients want to get a better idea of how it operates.”

There are few enough advantages to this lingering pandemic; Miss Manners sees no reason not to take them where we can — especially when it comes to health and safety. Those are two things against which your contractor — and husband — surely cannot argue.

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

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