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Miss Manners: Texted demand to ‘call me’ draws recipient’s ire

Dear Miss Manners: What is the best way to reply to a text that says just "Call me"?

I find it unspeakably rude and peremptory. If someone needs a call with me, they can call! If they don't want to call at a bad time, they could text "May I call you?" or "When is a good time to talk?"

But summoning me to call them is offensive. I generally ignore these texts rather than responding with what I'm thinking. Or I reply with a time to call me. But people really don't get the message. What's a good reply that lets people know this is rude?

“All right, I will.”

Dear Miss Manners: A friend invited me to meet him on his lunch hour, and when I arrived at the casual food shop, he told me that he was fasting and would not be eating anything.

I said that was rude. He said he just wanted to spend time with me. I ate while we chatted. Should he have told me in advance that he wouldn't be sharing lunch with me?

The key word here is “hour,” not “lunch.” Presumably this was the time that your friend had available — and Miss Manners fails to see the affront in his wanting to spend it with you. Had you not scolded him, you might have noticed that the fact that both of you did not have sandwich drippings hanging from your mouths likely made the conversation better, not worse.

Dear Miss Manners: I am recently widowed, and I understand friends and family have genuine concern for me. In addition to the normal loss, there are circumstances surrounding my husband's death that disturb me, but I don't want to share with anyone other than legal counsel.

I'm trying to be gracious when people inquire about my well-being, but I'm getting fed up with "But how are YOU doing?" I'm not doing well and would prefer not to talk about it in public or private, thank you.

Everyone needs to know that this is a nosy question that is inappropriate. Ask if there is anything you can help with, or if you can meet me for lunch. Ask, "Can I take anything to charity for you? Run errands? Address thank-you notes? Take the car in for maintenance?"

Asking HOW I am doing brings up sad topics such as: My income has been cut in half, the lawyer cost three times what I thought it would, I don't want a funeral but everyone else does, his wishes and mine were ignored by health providers who thought I would never find out (Hint: Medicine sends a record of any procedure to the patient's home). That's all too painful to talk about. There's merit in not bringing this up.

And yet here we are. While emphasizing different words within the otherwise innocuous question “How are you doing?” may appear to make it loaded or cloying, Miss Manners begs you to try not to hear it that way. People are floundering and trying to think of something to say when they really just want to help. So think of it instead as an invitation to talk about whatever you wish, be it car maintenance, lunch plans or medical fraud.

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

2019, by Judith Martin