Dear Miss Manners: We often host friends and family for overnight visits. Before departing, some of our guests take it upon themselves to strip their beds and take their linens to the laundry room; some even start the washing machine. Of course we have never even hinted that this is expected, as it most certainly is not.
For me, it’s also absolutely unwanted. I find it insulting that they act as if we’re the kind of hosts that would expect them to do this. My wife disagrees and says they’re only trying to be helpful, but I wonder if they don’t trust us to wash the sheets between guests.
I was always taught that while it’s important to be a gracious host, it’s also important to be a gracious guest.
How about teaching you not to presume unkind motives where none are intended? Your guests are merely trying to lessen your burden and pitch in — not to criticize your home care and hygiene.
Miss Manners will concede, however, that starting the washing machine without asking is an overstep. Proper overnight protocol is to strip the bed, put the bed cover back on it and put the folded sheets on top of the cover at the bottom of the bed. The trick is to fold them just nicely enough to look tidy, but not so neat that the host will mistake the set for clean ones — and then unwittingly remake the bed with dirty sheets.
Dear Miss Manners: I was invited to the wedding of a friend of my son’s from high school. This was not just a casual friend, but one who spent a lot of time in my home. I would even make him special dinners if he requested them.
I thought of him as my “Bonus Son.” I also became friends with his mother, who had no problem with me treating him like another son.
I won't pry, as these boys are now adults, but apparently, there was some kind of falling-out between him and my son. The groom refuses to tell me what happened, but he has disinvited me from the wedding.
Is it wrong for me to not send a wedding gift? I also know the bride, as they all graduated together in our small town.
I am very hurt and I am not sure where I stand, though no one has insinuated that I have done anything wrong. I canceled my leave request from work for the wedding. My heart is broken!
Did you think to ask your son what the rift was about? Because while Miss Manners generally agrees that parents should stay out of their adult children’s affairs, it seems odd that you would not at least consider defending him.
All things being equal, the bridegroom — who had his own relationship with you — should not have excluded you when his anger was with your son. But depending upon the nature of the quarrel, you may well consider standing in solidarity with your real son, rather than with your bonus one.
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.
© 2023 Judith Martin
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