Dear Miss Manners: I want to be upfront and admit that I'm a picky eater and that I am also on a budget. So I rarely say yes to work invitations to order out. However, whenever I am in charge of ordering for our group, I make sure to invite everyone.

One day, our group was planning to eat lunch together and decided to order from one of my favorite restaurants, where I haven't been for a long time. I found out about the order only when their food came.

I was very hurt and dismayed that I was excluded. I do not expect to be included every time someone orders takeout. But I would think that when a group of people is planning to eat together, the polite thing is to let everyone invited know their options.

Am I wrong? If I am right, is there a way to convey that, without being rude, so that nobody feels this way in the future?

In principle, everyone in the same small group should be invited to participate. The practice is trickier with a long-standing group whose members know one another’s preferences — particularly in an age where it is easy to offend unintentionally.

Miss Manners has no trouble imagining a person taking offense at receiving a sixth invitation (after giving five refusals) on the grounds that she does not like to be reminded that she is on a budget. It would be best for everyone to assume good intentions — and for you to tell a few co-workers that you love that particular restaurant, in the hope that they will remember for next time.

Dear Miss Manners: I occasionally dine with a small group of friends, and we engage in conversation during dinner and after. However, whenever I start to speak, one friend will turn to begin a side conversation with the person next to him. Although I immediately pause and give a rather icy stare, this does not stop my friend from continuing his new conversation, making it so that I don't finish mine.

I've always felt that, particularly in small groups, that only one person should talk at a time while others listen and that to start another conversation while someone is speaking is a rude interruption. My friend disagrees, saying that simultaneous conversations are allowed and that my abrupt silence is the rude gesture. Which of us is correct?

Although she sides with your friend that multiple conversations are permissible, Miss Manners notes that you may have a different idea of how to begin such side discussions politely. Interrupting another person midsentence is rude. It is therefore material whether your friend spoke to the person next to him when you were about to speak, or when you were already speaking.

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