Q. When inviting guests for dinner, luncheon, bridge or whatever, is it proper to enclose a guest list with each invitation? Knowing who has been invited to a particular function makes car-sharing possible and desirable.
A. It also gives the guests one another's names correctly, a boon for the many people who have trouble listening and smiling at the same time; it may suggest a conversational opening when something is known -- or tactfully added on the list -- about the person's interests or occupation; and it warns people if they are to meet their ex-spouses or others with whom they may have social difficulty. For these reasons, Miss Manners approves the concept of a guest list, although she prefers a note beginning "I am also expecting . . . " rather than the formality of a guest list, which, even when used in connection with formal parties, reeks of association with the social publicity release.
A note of warning: If one of your guests cannot come and a substitution is made, everyone there will know who was second-choice.
Q. I may be "just a secretary," but when I announce a call on the intercom to my boss, is it not proper for him to make some sort of response other than just a hang-up in my ear? I am not asking for an eloquent "thank you," simply an acknowledgement that I have been understood and that he will or will not accept the call.
A. You may not expect a thank you, but Miss Manners expects civilized people to treat everyone politely, and sensible civilized people to treat with extra careful courtesy those on whom the smoothness and comfort of their business life depends.