Q: Is it appropriate for one of my friends to text my fiance exclusively with casual conversation? They were not friends prior to our relationship. I’m not asking if it’s wrong, considering that I do not know the situation, but rather I’d like to know if there are any guidelines that deem it appropriate.
A: Are you asking if it is appropriate for your friend to be friends with your fiance? Or are you asking Miss Manners to tell them to stop?
If your fiance is texting your friend while you are trying to hold a conversation with him, then guidelines would deem this to be rude. Otherwise, you would do well to be happy that everyone is getting along.
Q: Should I refrain from asking my sisters-in-law, none of whom I’m really close to, to not come to the hospital waiting room to wait with me while my husband, their brother, has a relatively routine surgery?
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One of them is just nosy. I’m sure they love their brother, but we never associate with them, and I just don’t want the stress of having to make small talk with them. It’s awkward, and I don’t want to be hurtful, I just want to be alone to wait.
A: Yes, you should refrain. As inconvenienced as you might feel, this is their brother, and nosy or not, they have as much right as you to wait for him at the hospital. What is more, they have known him longer.
The stress of making small talk with in-laws is called being part of a family. Miss Manners is afraid that you must share the vigil with them. But she will allow you this: If the sisters ask if there’s anything they can do for you, you may send them out for coffee — but only if you do so graciously.
Q: I am giving a birthday party for my 3-year-old granddaughter who lives out of state. I’m expecting 50 guests.
I just found out that my daughter and granddaughter unexpectedly cannot travel at this time. I have all of the food prepared, games, loot bags, snow cone and cotton candy machines rented, etc.
Do I cancel the party, or continue the party and mail the gifts to my granddaughter?
A: As opposed to keeping them for yourself?
Miss Manners sympathizes. As your toddler granddaughter has made so many out-of-town friends, you don’t want to disappoint them.
Certainly, it is odd to have a birthday party without the guest of honor. Odder still to try to pretend that loot bags and cotton candy were meant for your adult friends at another event.
Perhaps you can send an email and explain the situation, inviting your guests to attend anyway but toning down the birthday aspect of it to just a fun multi-generational party. Your guests might bring presents anyway, but if they don’t, you have less time to spend at the post office.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.