Advice Columns

Miss Manners: How to respond to bigotry

Q: When someone makes an openly bigoted statement (such as one of racial prejudice, homophobia, misogyny and so forth), what is the polite way to react? How does one address bigotry while maintaining good manners?

A: “I’m afraid I don’t share your opinions. Let us change the subject — or perhaps it would be better to part company, so as not to get overheated.”

Q: As the maid of honor in a friend’s wedding, I found myself having the sole financial responsibility for throwing the bridal shower. I was the only member of the bridal party with a full-time job, so I think it was assumed that I would foot most of the bill.

I felt really bad asking the other members of the party to chip in. One girl did buy the beverages, but no one else offered to contribute financially. The problem is that my finances are extremely tight, and I ended up using my credit card to pay for some of the expenses.

The shower was not fancy by any means, but any amount that anyone would’ve offered to contribute would have been much appreciated. Should I have directly asked everyone to contribute? I don’t know the best solution to this issue.

A: Not to have been volunteered for this expensive pastime in the first place, which Miss Manners can only assume you were.

A shower given by friends is an activity that is offered, not one that is assigned. If you had talked to the bridal party members in the first place and said that you were thinking of throwing a party and wondered if the others would like to join in the hosting duties (read: also share in the expenses), that would have been the time to have seen what resources could be used and individual tasks assigned.

But unfortunately, now it is too late. To be asked retroactively to pay for a party that one didn’t realize one was hosting is unseemly at best. Miss Manners recognizes that this is likely the position in which you found yourself. So you can see why you wouldn’t want to spread that wealth — or unfortunately, lack thereof.

Q: We invited three of our daughter’s friends to celebrate her third birthday with a small party. Afterward, we saw that the mother of one of the friends had posted pictures of the party and our daughter on social media.

My husband and I do not post any photos ever of our children on social media. The mother who posted the photos is an insecure and shy woman, and someone with whom I am still building a friendship. Can I ask her to remove the photos or not? And if so, how do I do so delicately?

A: “It was so kind of you to take an interest in Cecelia’s birthday by posting those pictures. I’m afraid, though, that we are a bit shy about having our daughter on social media. I wonder if you might mind editing her out of them.”

This will surely be more trouble for her than taking them down, but at least gives her the option.

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,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.