Dear Miss Manners: My 19-year-old daughter has a boyfriend of the same age, who claims not to believe in giving gifts because they are materialistic. I could understand this point of view, except for a few things.

First, he is majoring in finance in college. He spends his hobby time investing in the stock market and buying and selling bitcoin. He traveled to Europe last year using his own money, but stayed at five-star hotels paid for by his parents. He has told my daughter that if he isn't making $100,000 his first year out of college, he will feel that he has failed.

My "mommy senses" are flaring, telling me this guy is a jerk. My daughter says I don't understand.

What do you think? How can I explain this to her? I won't risk our relationship, but I hate to see her taken advantage of. This guy could make a million dollars someday, but every penny she sees will come at double the cost. Is there anything to be done here?

Rather than cause a rift with your daughter — who seems to be perfectly fine with the situation — Miss Manners suggests that instead you should be putting your efforts into encouraging her to be independent and make her own money.

That this young man is selfish and ungenerous will either prove to be irksome to her or it will not. But if his attitude persists and the relationship evolves, at least she will be able to pay for her own engagement ring and visits to five-star hotels.

Dear Miss Manners: During the stay-at-home order in our state, one couple I know has been out of work (both partners). Though nobody has said anything, it has entered my mind more than once that they could use financial help. Still, I don't know how to go about providing help without being presumptuous.

Would it be okay to just mail them a card with a check in it? I was thinking of writing words to the effect that the enclosed is a gift, and possibly adding that I could loan more money if that would be helpful in the future.

Money, however needed, appreciated and kindly intended, is an uncouth present among friends, Miss Manners assures you. Offering a meal and some company (when restrictions allow) would be a better way to show friendship — without causing embarrassment that could outlast their presumably temporary situation.

Dear Miss Manners: Please tell me how to politely — or at least without frightening anyone — let a car stopped ahead of me know that their brake lights aren't working.

Unfortunately, there is not much more you can do than try to align your windows, signal to the driver to roll them down, then shout or point vigorously at the faulty lights.

Miss Manners does not guarantee that this won’t be startling, but it will be infinitely less so than ending up in the car’s rear because you were unaware that it was braking.

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.

2020, by Judith Martin