Dear Miss Manners: I work with someone overseas whose name, properly pronounced in his language, sounds like a word that causes blushing among English speakers. Is it acceptable to mispronounce his name to avoid causing offense?
Surely, if this gentleman does business in the States — or has ever watched any American cable television — he is familiar with the problem.
You pointing it out or purposely mispronouncing his name is not likely to improve relations. Miss Manners suggests that you continue to pronounce his name correctly — and take his calls behind closed doors so as not to invoke immature titters among your colleagues.
Dear Miss Manners: I work in the health care field, which requires me to wear scrubs every day. I have a co-worker, Tracy, who looks very similar to me, and is part of many groups and hosts many activities. On multiple occasions, other people have confused me for her.
Normally, what I do when this happens is to say, very kindly and gently, "I'm sorry. I'm afraid you have me mistaken for Tracy, as I am not part of the (whatever activity/group). My name is Sherry. It's very nice to meet you."
However, another co-worker told me that it's more polite to pretend that you know the person speaking and continue the conversation to spare the other person's embarrassment.
I personally don't feel that it's right to pretend to know someone that I do not, but I don't want the other person to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when they make this mistake. What does Miss Manners think?
That participating in a fraudulent conversation will prove to be far more embarrassing, once it is revealed, than politely correcting a simple mistake up front. Miss Manners heartily recommends that you ignore your co-worker’s poor advice. And double-check his or her signatures on any important documents.
Dear Miss Manners: Can you weigh in on the trend of asking (or even just assuming) that the sibling of an invited child also attend a party?
Some party plans can easily absorb an extra guest into the activities and food, making it easy to be gracious; however, some party plans are more specific. For example, we recently hosted a party with very few guests because the planned activities required a lot of personalized preparation, such as making things for each child. The casual "Can so-and-so come as well?" made complying with the request not-so-casual for me! Even worse, it was well after the RSVP date, and the sibling and my child barely know each other.
I knew I would feel bad or irritated whatever my answer. I chose to act nice, yet seethe in private. What is the best way to handle these requests?
“I am so sorry, but I am afraid that we only have room for the children we invited. But we would love to get together with little Gigi on another day. Do the children know each other well?”