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Miss Manners: Neighbor steps in front of me during group conversations

3 min

Dear Miss Manners: In our neighborhood, my wife and I are one of a group of friends and couples who often get together for friendly gatherings and such. Many of us have kids of the same age, so it isn’t unusual for us to get together on the weekend for birthdays or just for impromptu happy hour drinks in a driveway while our children play.

Lately, though, one of my neighbors has been putting me off.

Often, when people are conversing in groups, they will form a circle or semicircle. More than once, when this particular neighbor is standing next to me in one of these semicircles, he will step out in front of me, effectively blocking me from the group. I am then in the position of having to step over to the side of him so that people can see me and I can engage in conversation again.

This is not a guy whom I find generally boorish, but this behavior seems incredibly rude and disrespectful to me. I think he is probably doing this subconsciously, but I feel like I need to bring it to his attention the next time it happens and make it known that I don’t appreciate him blocking me out.

How do you suggest I approach this situation without causing a scene?

“Bart,” said teasingly, “are you acting as my bodyguard tonight? I assure you that I can defend myself if our argument about farmers markets reaches a fever pitch.”

Presumably Bart will then realize his awkward position, and move. If he does not, Miss Manners permits you to repeat the admonishment with ever so slight increments of annoyance.

Dear Miss Manners: I recently got married for the second time, and have moved two hours away from my hometown and everyone I know. Our marriage is great, but there is a woman in my husband’s friend group — which consists of his friends and their wives or girlfriends — who is a problem.

This woman acts like she just loves everyone, and calls me beautiful when we see each other, but I can tell she’s so fake! For a THIRD time, she has posted “memories” photos on social media that show my husband with his ex-girlfriend of six years.

I don’t want to seem petty or jealous, but I talked to my mom and my best friend about it, and they agree it’s very rude and hurtful. Can I please have your opinion?

This woman clearly learned a lot in high school. And much like it was there, the only way to shut down such behavior is to ignore it. Miss Manners would think it particularly easy to ignore social media posts.

But if you simply cannot, perhaps you can say, “You must have been so close to Carrie. I see her on your social media all of the time. Tell me, what is the special connection?” At the very least, this woman will have to explain her seeming obsession with posting these old photos.

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