Dear Miss Manners: How would you suggest you handle it when people offer you the food they have not finished, left on their plate, other than a "No, thank you, I'm stuffed"?

My husband says I am too picky. I just was not brought up with communal eating habits and do not intend to change. Also, people serve cake and lick icing off their fingers, and continue as though all is fine. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Foods that are meant to be shared are placed on serving dishes — from which individuals can then be served without having to forage among one another’s vegetables. Anything else is so informal that it escapes Miss Manners’ notice. The good news is that such offers can always be declined, preferably without discussion of the fullness of anyone’s stomach or the cleanliness of anyone’s hands.

Dear Miss Manners: I have a new temporary employee whom I manage. He is very friendly and likes to chat — which is fine, as there can be a lot of downtime in our work, and I enjoy our conversations.

The problem is that he stands too close and it makes me and another employee uncomfortable. We are both females and he is a male. However, we both agree this is not a means of harassment, and he likely does it to male co-workers as well.

He is just one of those people who doesn't have that sense of personal space that most people have of about 3 feet. His face is approximately 18-20 inches from ours when chatting. I have found that I am dodging him due to the discomfort I feel.

Is there any polite way to address this with him, or should I continue to dodge him?

I know I am not the first person to experience this; I think we all have at one point or another. I believe it has even been the focus of an episode of a sitcom at one time. Can I address this without causing him embarrassment?

Were you not his manager, Miss Manners would have more sympathy for your inclination to dodge the issue, both literally and figuratively.

But as you are — and as you know his behavior is making others besides yourself uncomfortable — it is your responsibility to act. The best way to do this is to have a frank, sympathetic conversation with him: frank, that is, except for including any mention of your own embarrassment. You should report that (unnamed) “others” have expressed to you their discomfort. You are looking out for his own best interests in telling him, so that he can correct his behavior before someone raises it in a way that becomes a real problem for him.

Before you protest at the dishonesty of putting the discomfort on unnamed others rather than yourself, ask if, in saying that your purpose is to save him embarrassment, you were neglecting to mention a similar savings for yourself.

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.

2019, by Judith Martin