DEAR MISS MANNERS: I introduced a very close young friend of mine to my sometime boyfriend (too long a story for here) some months ago. I had her go on a ship’s tour in my place, as I was in the hospital recovering from surgery.

This was July 2012. Last Christmas I was invited by my “boyfriend” to his company party, and he also invited my young BFF. He asked me, and I said it would be a nice invitation for her. Then I went out of town for the holidays.

He contacted my BFF and invited her to a Christmas Eve dinner at a couple’s home (his close friend) with other people. (I knew the husband and just met the wife prior.) I was fine with this.

Then, he invited her this week to a casual dinner at the same couple’s home. They had invited my “boyfriend” and the lady who baby-sits for them and her adult son. But he didn’t invite me. My BFF had to decline because she had to work in her dress shop that evening. He told her that he understood and would continue to invite her when he could.

Is it proper etiquette to invite someone who was introduced to the host/hostess and my sometime boyfriend (grown man, by the way) by me, knowing that the invitee is my BFF, without inviting me? Or even mentioning it to me?

GENTLE READER: Are you writing a country music song about this?

That strikes Miss Manners as the most suitable way of elucidating what it means to be a sometime boyfriend, and what he and a best friend forever owe the not-infrequently absent person who puts them together.

But you have asked only a far tamer question about the social obligation to include you at a dinner subsequent to the one to which you authorized sending your friend as a substitute. There is a rule that people who are introduced at a social event should include their hosts if they decide to meet again. But that doesn’t quite apply to your case, as you sent them to functions together over several months. In addition, the gentleman might argue that he was merely reissuing an invitation that you approved but your friend was unable to accept.

None of this addresses the emotional undercurrents that are sloshing about beneath the social surface. Miss Manners is waiting for the song before she can do that.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have recently been confronted by a serious and most unsettling situation within our extended family. A relative (first cousin) was sentenced to death years ago for a crime he committed. He will likely be executed soon.

I am very close to his grandparents who raised him. They are my aunt and uncle. What is the appropriate action to take in this unusual situation as far as an expression of sympathy? Are flowers and/or a card appropriate, or should no mention of the situation be made? I understand that there will be a small funeral.

GENTLE READER: Please treat this as you would any family funeral, attending, if you can, sending flowers, writing to express your sympathy. Miss Manners suspects that your aunt and uncle will receive little such support, making yours all the more necessary.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site,, where you can send her your questions.

, by Judith Martin

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