Q: A friend of mine is marrying a cad who is only after her money. Do I attend the wedding to support her, or stay away?
A: Whatever you think of the future Mr. Friend, you have presumably had your say and been overruled — by the person who will bear the consequences if you, and not she, turn out to be correct.
If the support you intend to offer is of the “You’re going to regret this” variety, Miss Manners suggests you find an unrelated reason for not being able to attend. But as your friend would like you to be there, the preferred course of action is to do so, graciously.
Q: After serving my company as a manager in an exemplary fashion (as I was frequently told) for over 10 years, I was in line for a promotion, which my boss and all my colleagues knew I wanted and expected to receive.
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Instead, my boss chose someone else and offered me what he considered an even better promotion, except that the responsibilities of that job did not appeal to me at all. So I turned it down. I was only vaguely aware that this “better” position existed; at no time, either when I interviewed for the job I wanted, or before or after this period, did my boss even ask me if I had any interest in this “better” position.
I have accepted that it was his decision to choose someone else, and I still would have turned down the “better” job even if he had handled it diplomatically, but I am very, very hurt by his poor communication.
I still have to work with him, although I won’t be seeing him as often now. I don’t want to be childish about this, I don’t want to carry a grudge, but I don’t like or trust this man particularly anymore. How do I respond when I see him, when he asks me (jauntily, as is his style) how I am doing?
A: It has come to Miss Manners’ attention that modern businesspeople blame everything from rude emails to embezzlement on “poor communication.” She innocently thought the term referred to her cellular telephone’s carefree disdain for clarity and intelligibility.
Your boss committed three actions to which you object, none primarily a failure of communication. He didn’t give you the job you wanted. He offered you a job you didn’t want — or more precisely, he made a decision for you about what you would like. And he is jaunty, which Miss Manners interprets to mean “friendly, in a possibly condescending and likely unprofessional manner.”
The first is, as you recognize, within his right. The latter two show a poor understanding of the divide between business and personal manners. Do not fall into his error. You have reason not to like or trust this man, but you are not required to do either. He is your boss, not your friend or your father. Treat him with every professional courtesy and keep your personal feelings for your friends and family.
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.