Q: I am a male member of a popular dating website. When I read the profile of someone I’d like to meet, I write them a personalized letter pointing out some of our common interests, adding a bit of levity where I can, suggesting we meet for coffee and conversation. These letters generally run from five to eight sentences. In other words, I’ve put some effort into it.
I rarely receive any response. Since we are both members of this group seeking the same goal — companionship — doesn’t social etiquette require some acknowledgment of receipt and a response?
Even if there is no interest on their part, what is so difficult in responding, “Thank you for your interest. While I enjoyed reading your profile, I do not see us as a couple. Best of luck in your search”?
I think it’s very rude to ignore someone’s personal communication to you. Jane Austen would be aghast at the behavior of her gender in the 21st century!
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A: Do you think so?
Could you be confusing her with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who allows no room for context when she issues directives?
The Miss Austen that Miss Manners knows is uncannily alert to the subtleties in any social situation. She gave ample evidence of being familiar with the tendency of eligible ladies to put themselves forward, as well as that of eligible gentlemen to examine the field.
Still, there is a significant difference between an Assembly at Bath and a flier that is advertising goods to the general public. Online solicitations, where no response need be made if there is no interest, are equivalent to the latter.
Although your tactful wording could serve as a model for rejecting an acquaintance, there is really no charming way, other than silence, to express, “I can’t imagine that it would be worth my while to meet you.”
Q: I can’t wrap my mind around those who find it acceptable to attempt to coerce their friends and family members into footing the bill for some unreasonable and ridiculous event that they have planned for themselves.
For instance, my brother was “invited” (if you can call it that) to his roommate/“friend’s” wedding, which he would have had to pay $1,200 to attend — in Mexico. My brother was to be one of the “best men” in the wedding, to top it off.
Oh, but the weirdest part is yet to come: This “friend” tracks my brother’s finances via snooping and eavesdropping, and when my brother declined, citing a lack of funds, Adam said, “Well, what happened to the $( ) you got from selling your car?”
After picking my jaw up off the floor, I told my brother to not-so-politely tell Adam to stick the wedding invitation where the sun doesn’t shine, move out as soon as humanly possible and distance himself from this person immediately.
A: How shocking of you. Miss Manners would have found a decent way of expressing that thought.
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.