Dear Miss Manners: How do I appropriately disengage from a friendship of 15 years?

The person in question, one time too many, rudely intruded into both my home and my enjoyment with another friend. After bumping into my friend at an event, this person put her on the spot, grilled her for where and when we planned to get together, and then announced she would join us. And upon arriving at my home, she walked in without waiting to be greeted at the door. This was the last straw.

And yet she persists. Leading Miss Manners to think your friend does not much care if she is invited or not. What makes you think that making it official will help?

If this behavior and its borderline trespassing continues, something not just official, but legal, may be necessary. You may want to tell your friend — kindly, if it matters — that you do not wish for it to come to that.

Dear Miss Manners: When I meet my mother and grandmother out for a meal, they always order their food and begin eating without me. This is not because I am late — I arrive at the agreed-upon time — but they always get there early and claim hunger as the reason to start without me.

Both of them instilled strong lessons of politeness and civility in me at a younger age, but now claim they don't need to adhere "because they are old."

A handy excuse, but clearly, they should know better.

Miss Manners can think of ways to halt this behavior temporarily — show up even earlier than they do, or invite them to your house instead — but the underlying reason for the bad behavior is hard to counter. And she knows that you were brought up well enough not to try.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it proper or improper to say "you're excused" after someone says "excuse me"?

Proper. Unless, of course, it is accompanied by sarcasm, question marks or comments.

Dear Miss Manners: The spouse of a relative died, and I attended the celebration of life services. About a week later, I sent a sympathy card with my personal feelings about how he was a role model to me and how many people attended the services to show how much he was loved.

Since that time, the widow has been out enjoying life with family. I don't want to call or text her, because it may seem like I am begging for a thank-you. Is it proper to acknowledge the receipt of a sympathy card, or is none to be expected?

If a condolence card is used to write an actual letter, it does require a response. However, the bereaved are generally given latitude for its timeliness — and even allowed to go on enjoying life with their family if they feel so moved.

Contacting the widow to see how she is doing should not be interpreted as a request for acknowledgment of a receipt — especially, Miss Manners assures you, if you take pains to show that it was not intended as such.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website,

2019, by Judith Martin