Dear Miss Manners: I have a boss who is a texter. At any time, I may get a text from him with a request or a correction of my work. I've gotten texts on picnic dates, while shopping and at the dentist, for starters.
Aside from scheduling, there is nothing I can do about most of the situations he texts me about if I am not at work. Eventually, I started blocking him as I clocked out and unblocking him as I clocked in, so that I'm only available during paid hours. But I'm worried about being considered delinquent for not responding. (He always expects a response.) What is your advice?
That having virtually obliterated the physical workplace, we are desperately in need of a return to real work hours. Miss Manners suggests: “I am afraid that I am only available each week during the paid hours for which I am contracted. However, I would certainly be happy to discuss more extended, salaried employment if that is what you require.” At which point, if he takes you up on it, you will still have to set parameters. But at least you will have been duly compensated.
Dear Miss Manners: When my lodger, who is also a close friend, alerts me to some way in which I have inadvertently upset her, she will sometimes keep talking about it long after I've acknowledged her upset, offered a heartfelt apology, volunteered to rectify the situation or promised to refrain from repeating the same mistake in the future.
At some point in the conversation, my original feeling of being upset at having offended my friend becomes compounded by feeling browbeaten by her. When I can't take any more, I say something like: "I can really hear how upset you are. I'm happy to repeat my unreserved apology, and I hope the promise I made not to let it happen again has given you some reassurance. I am not willing to keep discussing this right now. If there is something else you still need from me, I would be happy to agree to another meeting to discuss it."
This kind of statement has been met with tearful accusations that I'm not willing to listen to her and that if she is feeling upset due to something I've done, then it's my responsibility to keep listening until she starts to feel better. Apart from this problem, we have a generally good relationship.
A friend scorned is a friend in need ... of a lot of talk. Miss Manners recommends you try saying, “I will make you a deal: If you see me exhibit the behavior again, you are more than welcome to talk to me about it. But in the meantime, please give me a chance to show you that I have, in fact, listened and I don’t intend to let it happen again.”
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.
2021, by Judith Martin