DEAR MISS MANNERS: More and more frequently, I find myself receiving electronic invitations from friends for various events. While I am eager to RSVP as quickly as possible, many of these “evites” are sent through services that require invitees to create an account and/or log in (divulging an e-mail address and other identifying information) to make their intentions known.

As I have no desire to share my personal data with them, this is something I am loath to do. But when I attempt to circumvent the system by sending an e-mail directly to the host indicating my plans, I am often thanked, then asked to respond via the site in question anyway. I want to be a good guest (or gracious decliner), but must I sacrifice my electronic anonymity to do so?

GENTLE READER: Congratulations on identifying a rare exception to the rule about answering an invitation in the form in which it was made. Well, not exactly in the same form.

Had you received this invitation by post, you would have been obliged to answer it by post. Had you been invited by telephone, you would have answered on the telephone.

Well, you are invited through e-mail and you respond through e-mail directly to the host. That is enough. You are not required to join a service to do so. Anyway, Miss Manners suspects that it is the service, not your friends, who are doing that unpleasant nagging; another reason not to join.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do you answer questions from extended family members about your salary? I am a professional and probably earn more income than the other members of the extended family. I don’t want the issue to cause any hard feelings. I would prefer not to divulge the details of my salary.

GENTLE READER: “Thank you, I’m comfortably off. You are kind to worry, but I’m not likely to be a burden on the family.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Following is a request posted in a church bulletin and on the Web site regarding how the congregation should respond to the pastor’s surgery:

‘’We will have our chapel open for prayer from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day. A sign-in registry book will be provided, as well as a basket to receive cards and letters. To help Pastor and his family, please refrain from hospital, home visits or phone calls. In lieu of meals delivered to their home, restaurant gift cards are greatly appreciated.”

I was shocked by the last line — guess my home- cooked meal just doesn’t measure up to a dinner out at the steakhouse. I’ve heard that many others feel the same.

GENTLE READER: But your pastor must be feeling a lot better if he is able to go out to restaurants, or even if his family feels that they can go out and leave him alone. Miss Manners would contact those who sent the message, which is not likely to have been the patient himself, and say, “I’m delighted to hear that he is well enough to go to restaurants. Please give him my congratulations.”

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

2012, by Judith Martin

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