Q: I’ve started getting text messages from acquaintances, co-workers and even clients that say, “Call me please.” This isn’t because I am unavailable, or that they have tried calling but I haven’t answered; they simply want to talk to me about something. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find this irritating.
If they want to talk to me, they should call me, and if I’m not available, they can leave a message and I will happily call them back. Am I wrong to be turned off by this relatively benign demand?
A: No. Miss Manners concurs. At best, this request is, as you noted, redundant. At worst, insulting, as it assumes that you are not familiar with the primary function of a cellular telephone.
This particular message also has the added annoyance of making it sound as if there is an emergency where there is none. Miss Manners recommends that next time this happens, you text back, “Oh no! Is my phone not working?” or “OK, I will” and take your time in doing so. This might confuse them but will certainly amuse you. And may just also drive home your point.
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Q: My son’s mother-in-law has started signing and addressing herself as his mom with her last name initial. I am his mother, and I feel this is inappropriate.
A: Then stop reading his mail.
Q: My future loving spouse and I have limited our wedding invitations. In fact, my own mother was declined in her request to extend invitations to 15 relatives.
However, a close co-worker to my spouse has requested that he bring a third person. This would be an easy request to decline, except for his polygamous lifestyle. He has a legal spouse and a concubine in what he calls an open marriage.
We are accepting of alternative lifestyles and understand the difficulty of having to select between wife and concubine. We feel it would be politically incorrect to not accept the third family member.
But it will be hard to explain to my mother why she could not extend invitations for family members while being able to (in her view) “allow a cheating adulterous man to witness our sacred marriage vows.”
A: Never mind that you are eschewing relatives in favor of co-workers. Miss Manners has stated repeatedly that relatives should always take precedence over work relationships and that mothers should certainly be allowed to reasonably invite theirs.
But you did say that this gentleman was close. Unfortunately (for your mother, mostly), as you surmised, it is a dangerous precedent to set that you can dictate the terms of a spousal relationship. (Although it seems to Miss Manners that since this man has already publicly declared that one of these women is his legal wife and one his concubine, he has already made that distinction himself.)
But if this man is indeed close, perhaps you can explain the problem and say that the guest list is already so limited that even your mother has had to make hard choices.
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.