Q: I was excluded from an event put together by someone I consider a very good friend. I only found out about the event by all the photos on Facebook. I am obviously very hurt by this.
What would your advice be on handling my feelings? Should I ask the hostess why she decided to exclude me?
A: Why? Do you want to hear the answer?
However, please allow Miss Manners to contest the premise of your question. You were not, in fact, excluded from this event. You were simply not invited. People are not required to invite all of their friends on every occasion.
Social media postings have unfortunately blasted the rule that one does not mention such events, either before or after they take place, to those who were not invited. Miss Manners wishes she could persuade hosts and guests to refrain from doing so, but she is not optimistic.
Nevertheless, you will spare yourself a lot of anguish if you simply accept that you will not always be invited to everything.
Q: During my student days I was always reading — at home, in restaurants, on the subway. Even on the sidewalk.
This habit ended abruptly one day when I walked into a lamppost and apologized to it before I realized what I had run into.
A: Allow Miss Manners to assure you that technically, banging into a lamppost is not an etiquette violation, as you did not offend another person. Indeed, you serve as a lesson to those who multitask, for which Miss Manners thanks you. Perhaps that will make up for the presumed lack of response on the part of your victim.
Q: My ex-husband, his girlfriend and I recently hosted an engagement party for our daughter and her fiancee at his home. The party was lovely, and the couple thanked everyone repeatedly during and after the evening.
My daughter tells me that her father has hinted that she was rude for not bringing a hostess gift. He has recently moved into a beautiful home that is stuffed to the rafters. They have everything they could possibly want or need, and yes, I know that’s not the point of a hostess gift.
I feel that when one throws an engagement party for one’s children, no hostess gift is required. Will she be expected to give us a gift after her wedding reception, too?
Please help me defuse this situation, or enlighten me so that I may apologize for my own poor manners. (I didn’t bring a gift either.)
A: Is it your ex-husband’s intention to give your daughter lessons in greed and extortion in connection with her nuptials?
Miss Manners does not seem to be able to get it across to people that asking for presents is always rude, greedy and nasty. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is or how customary it is for presents to be given.
Certainly, your daughter owes her father and the hostess thanks for throwing the party. She does not owe him payment, either in money or in goods. And while an additional appreciative gesture — such as flowers sent before the event — is charming, it is hardly necessary when the host is a member of the family being honored.
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.