I know my hair will grow back and that a good stylist can restore it to its former beauty, but in the meantime, the questions and comments sting. I don't know how to respond.
“I had something done” — leaving it purposely ambiguous whether it was for health or aesthetic reasons.
Sadly, suggesting that it was a fashion choice will probably garner less follow-up than the more personal question of your health. But perhaps Miss Manners may be underestimating human nosiness even in that.
Dear Miss Manners: A woman is dating a man, and they are out to dinner with his family (14 people). A birthday cake (brought in from outside) is served. She doesn't want the cake and orders sorbet for dessert instead. Was that rude of her?
Yes. But before you subject Miss Manners to all of the obvious and angry objections (she was on a diet, vegan, gluten-free, frosting-averse, etc., etc.), she is not saying that the cake must then actually be consumed.
Gratitude and the idea of enjoying the cake is all that is needed. The woman in question could simply have been too busy enjoying the company to get the chance to eat her serving of cake. But declaring outright that she wants something else is hurtful to the people who attempted to please everyone — however unsuccessful the effort may have been.
Dear Miss Manners: My husband is a priest, and when parishioners send gifts home with him, I write and send the thank-you notes. This has really helped to establish a bond with the church members since I am often home with little ones.
One Saturday night, my husband brought home a beautiful handmade baby blanket. I wrote the thank-you note Sunday, but we learned Monday that the woman had died quite unexpectedly over the weekend.
I could have sent the card, and the family would probably have assumed that it had been sent before I heard. I opted instead to write a note to the daughter saying how sorry I was to hear of her mother's passing, how beautiful the blanket was and that her mother's kindness had outlived her.
Was that the correct choice? What should I have done if the note had already gone? What is the correct response when the giver dies before thanks are sent?
To prioritize condolences, but include an acknowledgment of their generosity, as you so graciously did.
Further, Miss Manners would like to point out that yours is an excellent case for writing prompt thank-you letters.
2021, by Judith Martin