The Washington Post

Miss Manners: Neighbors’ chimes strike sour note for light sleepers

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We kindly asked our neighbors if they could take in their chimes at night so we can sleep peacefully (windows open, no air-conditioning, although they have it), and what happens? They put up an additional set. What do you think?

GENTLE READER: That neighborhood warfare is terrible for everyone concerned, and that you should not mount a counterattack.

Oh, yes, you were thinking of that. Miss Manners knows because, she would, too. Anyone would. But don’t do it. They know where you live.

It does seem that the neighbors have thrown down the gauntlet, but that does not mean that you need to pick it up and fight.

If you really want to drive them crazy, go over with a plate of cookies and make small talk, only slipping in, when their suspicions are allayed, that the wind chimes are charming. When they bring up your complaint, you can say, “Oh, it’s only at night that they bother us. It would be so kind of you to still them then.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter is getting married in 2012; she has been engaged for almost a year. They have been working hard at getting everything (venue, pictures, dress, etc.) in place and paid for well in advance. I have been so proud of her.

The other day she came over and said her best friend’s sister (they have all been friends since the second grade) has now changed the date of her wedding to before my daughter’s and went out and bought the same dress as my daughter.

I felt so bad for her. I could tell she was hurt, but she said, “That’s okay — my wedding will still be mine.” I was so proud of her.

Besides this being truly tacky, what is one supposed to say to someone who is supposed to be a friend, but changes her wedding date to before yours, and then goes out and buys the same dress?

GENTLE READER: “Best wishes.”

Miss Manners, like you, is proud of your daughter. She trusts that you can put this out of your mind so that your daughter can be equally proud of you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do I politely ask/tell a guest to get out of my chair?

They know that is where I sit, but they come in and take over. WhenI visit their home, I never sit in the two chairs that they obviously use daily. I think that would be rude of me. What is one to do when guests come into your home and take over?

GENTLE READER: When you entertain guests, your concern should be to make them happy, not to protect your turf. Miss Manners therefore suggests saying, “That old chair has its quirks. I think you’ll find this one over here much more comfortable.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When attending another person’s party, is it polite to bring your vacation pictures to show to other guests?

GENTLE READER: Only if your host has asked your help in clearing the place out.

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

@ 2011, by Judith Martin

Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

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