Dear Miss Manners: I am a slightly built young woman, and I often become terrified when confronted by (what appear to me to be) aggressive and rude older men.

Such men have confronted me twice about supposed infractions such as jumping a line, which I've never done. In the first instance, the man's daughter jumped to my defense. However, in the second instance, I felt quite afraid and alone, and was unsure how to deal with an aggressive man yelling at me.

Can you please advise me as to how to respond in a way that is mannerly as well as assertive? I am from a culture where women are treated with kid gloves and not usually yelled at by strange men. Both these incidents have occurred while I was traveling alone. I am at a loss as to how to respond.

As a slightly built young woman, wondering whether the rude older man in your face is truly aggressive, or only appears so to you, should not be your first priority. Assume that the behavior could escalate.

The question is how to handle it without becoming either rude or a victim. If a small female sales attendant were rude to you, you would not yell at her; you would find a supervisor to intercede on your behalf. The same principle — getting help — will work here. Whether that is the man’s daughter, a store employee or a larger person in line next to you, politely ask for assistance in resolving the problem.

Miss Manners assures you that you will win over the entire room, not only the person being asked to help — and you will make the man look like the bully that he is.

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I joined a church when we moved to town a couple of years ago. We chose it partly because it believed in forging connections among its members. Now, all of our church services and events take place online.

There are several affinity groups within the organization, and we were invited to join one that has members of our general age and location. We went to our first meeting as new members, not knowing anyone, and nobody thought to introduce us or ask us to introduce ourselves. There were only six couples in this group!

We couldn't figure out what to do, so we just sat there and watched the five other couples having a conversation on our screens.

I know our social skills have all gotten a little rusty lately, but we were taken aback. I couldn't think of what to say that wouldn't have sounded like a reprimand. What would Miss Manners have done?

Waited for an opportune moment and introduced herself.

Miss Manners recognizes that this takes gumption and that is the reason that hosts are expected to save their guests that anxiety by making introductions. You could also call one of the couples afterward and ask them to make introductions at the next meeting. It is more productive to solve the problem, which may well have been inadvertent, than to worry about the omission.

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.

2021, by Judith Martin