Q: Is punctuation in text messaging necessary?
Q: My employer texted a photo of a woman he’s seeing while he was out on a date with her. This isn’t the first time it has happened.
I know the woman through him and like her, but it’s not like we’re family. I don’t know if he asked her permission. I feel like there’s something manipulative about this behavior, and I don’t want to be involved. Any thoughts on how to gracefully handle this uncomfortable situation?
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A: There are so many things that are improper about this situation that Miss Manners hardly knows where to start. That your employer may not have asked the subject’s permission actually seems the least of his offenses, although still great.
Whatever his ulterior motive with you might be, it is certainly not professional. If you wish to keep the relationship so, try saying, “Oh, you must have accidentally sent your dinner date’s picture to me. Did you mean to text me a work question instead?”
Q: I stayed with my parents for a week during vacation. I moved out years ago and no longer have a room, so I stayed in the guest room.
My family took no time off for my visit and made no special efforts to spend time with me, despite the fact it had been years since I had been home, as my job keeps me out of the country.
At the end of the visit, even though it felt as if I was an imposition and not a daughter coming home, I thanked my mother with a massive hug and some flowers, and my father as well, before I left to return overseas.
Months later, my father calls to tell me my mother is angry with me for not sending a thank-you note. I was shocked that this was even an issue. If I were staying with friends or even other family members, yes, I would absolutely write thank-you notes, but to my own parents? For a week visit during which they didn’t even make time for me?
This caused a huge rift in the family, and I understand that I could have just written the note, but it’s the principle of the matter that I’m their daughter, it wasn’t a special occasion and I didn’t see the point. Was I wrong in thinking a thank-you note was inappropriate?
A: You are not wrong in thinking that written thanks for going home are not mandatory. Flowers and a hug are an acceptable response after visiting one’s own parents.
Forgive Miss Manners for being suspicious, but your family’s behavior seems so insensitive and yours so impeccable that she wonders if the family has an additional grievance. That, whatever it is, might be unfair or unwarranted. However, a note that is part thank-you, part inquiry into the reason that your parents are so distant, might pacify your mother and help repair the rift.
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.