DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m not sure how to handle it when my sister-in-law keeps bringing up how her 7-month-old baby boy looks like my 4-year-old son. She has gone so far as to take a picture of a picture of my son with her cellphone and walk around a party showing everyone and asking whether her son looks like mine.
Honestly, her son looks nothing like my son, and I find it aggravating and borderline creepy that she keeps bringing it up. I’m not sure what to do. We do not have a good relationship at all, so I’m not sure why she insists on doing this at every social event we attend or what she is trying to prove.
GENTLE READER: And what exactly is it that you are trying to prove? That your son and his cousin are not from the same family? Or that acts of indiscretion might have been involved in conceiving them?
Miss Manners is also at a loss about why you would consider a family resemblance creepy. If anything, it is a compliment to your son that she fancies that her son resembles him.
Never miss a local story.
However, Miss Manners is beginning to understand why you and your sister-in-law are not close.
Obligated to remind?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I manage an age-restricted apartment community, and I enjoy hosting activities for my residents. This is just an extra I do on my own. I love seeing them have fun. This month I tried something new and had a catered dinner. The cost was $12 per person, paid in advance.
One couple out of the 40 people who signed up did not attend the event. I thought about calling them, but then I got busy hosting the party for the other 38 who did attend. I am afraid that once things got rolling, I never gave the couple who did not show up another thought.
This couple was very upset the next day when they discovered that they missed the party and came in asking why I hadn’t called them. They also asked for their meals, which I had not saved. I traditionally give any leftovers from events to my maintenance staff.
Do I have an obligation to remind people of a social event that I host and/or save their meals?
GENTLE READER: Under normal circumstances, no. A host does not — and should not — have an obligation to remind guests of an invitation.
But Miss Manners assumes that “age-restricted” means it is a retirement home or assisted-living facility. In that case, it seems that your assistance may be needed. If you know that it’s a possibility that your guests might forget, send out a reminder the day of the event and save their meals when practical, or make arrangements to provide comparable ones at a later date — one that you might also have to remind them to attend.
Bill for Thanksgiving meal
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What are your thoughts on being invited to a Thanksgiving meal, only to be asked to pay per person (family)? Not everyone invited is asked to pay, and those who are asked to pay are asked to pay more than a fair share.
GENTLE READER: A thought: Isn’t Thanksgiving all about sharing? And charging relatives for their meals does not meet Miss Manners’ definition of that.
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.
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