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Miss Manners: Siblings at odds over brother’s ex

Dear Miss Manners: My daughter has become friends with my son’s ex-girlfriend and wants her to attend her wedding. This girlfriend broke up with my son over a year ago, which hurt my son a bit. My son has moved on and has been dating a new girl for about eight months.

We’ve asked him what he feels, and he basically doesn’t want her there. But it’s my daughter’s wedding, and we are friends with her parents, too. To prevent a world war, who do I side with?

Do you remember when they were younger and fought over who had the toy first? Sometimes you took the decision out of their hands ("If you can't agree, then nobody gets to play with it''), but sometimes it was more effective to make them work it out themselves.

This is one of the latter times. Miss Manners has no objection to your making the comparison when you tell your son and daughter — it will remind them that they are brother and sister, and that they love and should respect each other.

However, it would be best to avoid being too explicit that the ex-girlfriend has been cast in the role of the stuffed giraffe.

Dear Miss Manners: My boyfriend and I live together and work for the same company. We are invited to a retirement party for a guy who used to work with both my boyfriend and his ex-wife.

The ex-wife was the retiree’s old boss. She is now in a different department with a bigger title. I would like to go to the party, but I feel this is more her turf, being that it was her old group. Should I still go with my boyfriend? Should he go by himself? I feel that skipping the party would not be a good idea, because my boyfriend has worked well with the retiree.

Mixing one's personal and professional lives causes so many problems that Miss Manners would have thought people would by now have heeded her advice to desist.

Alas, no. Very well. Your boyfriend presumably has to interact with his ex-wife at work. If he — and she — are wise, they have decided to observe a merely professional relationship, saving any necessary remaining cleanup of their former status for off-work hours.

You should do the same. Whether or not to attend the party can then be decided on whether you were invited as an employee or the partner of one. In the former case, how well did you know the retiree? In the latter case, are other employees bringing their partners?

Dear Miss Manners: I live on the corner of a major street in my town, very near the intersection with another major street. As such, there will be times when I am out working in my yard, or out in front for whatever reason, and a funeral motorcade will pass. I’d like to be respectful as they pass, but am unsure exactly what I should do. Any suggestion would be helpful.

Stopping your activity and standing with a solemn face while the cortège passes is an easy way to pay your respects. It is also a kind thing to do, so Miss Manners hopes you will not be discouraged if she notes that, it being a major street, others who do not notice are not guilty of impropriety for politely going about their business.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website,

2017, by Judith Martin