Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I went to a concert with two other couples. My husband is friends with both of the men, but I barely know one of the women, and don’t know the other at all. I happen to be friends of both of the men’s ex-wives.
When you are around two other women who are obviously friends and you don’t know them both well, is it your responsibility to engage them in conversation? Or should they engage the odd woman out and make her feel welcome?
Your fusion of in-person and online behavior is making Miss Manners’s head spin. She notices that you are more concerned with not being identified on social media than with being snubbed in person. She will deal only with the latter.
Yes, ordinarily, those in a friendly group should welcome a stranger, and they should have done so. But surely you guessed that these ladies were wary of someone known to be friendly with their predecessors.
For your part, what stopped you from showing that you were prepared to be friendly?
Dear Miss Manners: A friend whom I have known for half a century is dreading her upcoming 70th birthday. For the record, she also moaned about her 50th and 60th birthdays.
I happen to think milestone birthdays are worthy of celebration. I recently sent her an email letting her know a gift and card, both thoughtfully selected by me, would be arriving shortly.
Her reply: “So sweet of you to do, but I refuse to acknowledge this birthday!”
I had also planned to order flowers for her, but I am now rethinking this, given her passive aggressive response to my earlier message. Am I being churlish?
Whom are you calling passive aggressive?
If that is how you characterize someone who politely reiterates her wishes, which you have deliberately defied, what would you call someone who pretends to be celebrating a friend while insisting upon doing what clearly annoys her?
Are you seriously asking Miss Manners whether you should persist?
No. Please cut it out.
Dear Miss Manners: Are there etiquette guidelines involving the groom’s pre-wedding party? My best friend will be my best man, and his wife is also a dear friend of mine. She was thrilled to be asked to be a groomswoman.
However, should I invite her to my bachelor party? Her husband and the rest of the groomsmen will be attending, but I am unsure. My understanding was that these parties are gender-specific.
Wedding parties also used to be strictly gender-specific, because it was assumed that nonromantic friendships between the genders did not exist.
As you are enlightened enough to know how ridiculous this was, Miss Manners hopes that you are also enlightened enough to hold a bachelor party suitable for all your attendants.
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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