Advice Columns

Miss Manners: Don’t worry about having the last word on blog

niversal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m not sure whether to reply to comments on my blog.

On the one hand, ignoring reader comments entirely makes the blog look one-sided and discourages people from expressing their opinions.

But on the other, for me to post a subsequent comment to those who agree with me — like “Thanks, you’re swell, too” – seems self-serving; for me to post a subsequent comment to those who disagree — like “I disagree; let me have the last word why” – is still more self-serving.

I reply to those I know via private email, but many people don’t give contact info, since an email address on a website is an invitation for spam. What do you suggest?

GENTLE READER: Too often the purpose of maintaining a blog appears to be to have the last word, so Miss Manners appreciates your modesty. But if your purpose is to foster dialogue, it seems only logical to allow dialogue. Replying politely to those who disagree with you will further your purpose more than thanking everyone who agrees with you.

It’s her money

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our nanny has been with us for some time now, and we just adore her. She is everything you could want in someone who cares for your children – kind, attentive, patient … I could go on.

She is from another country and will be traveling in the next few months back to see her family for the first time in almost a decade. I am so excited for her to get to see her own babies and grandbabies, and I want to do something extra-special for her by way of taking her to get her hair and nails done, and maybe buy a new outfit.

I know that the amount of money I spend on her can go far in her home country. If I offered her the equivalent sum, I know she would spend it on her family. She does so much for others and lives a very modest life in order to send more money back home.

Is it OK for me to insist that she spend some time and money on herself, just this once, or should I offer her some cash and express my hope that she'll do so?

GENTLE READER: That her job includes telling the children how to behave does not make it yours to do the same for her. Miss Manners believes that a kind, attentive employer restrains her impulse to make personal choices for her employees. You should offer her a bonus and say how much you hope she enjoys her trip. If you want to present her with a new outfit in addition, all the better.

Talking shop nonstop

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Must every conversation become a job interview? People always seem to ask what I am doing, and I do not see a reason to tell them. Is there a polite response for people who see others as only their careers?

GENTLE READER: Not if you mean a polite response that tells them to reorder their priorities.

But a polite response need not actually answer the question. If you do not want to tell people what you do for a living, Miss Manners suggests that you tell them what you do for fun.

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.

© Universal Uclick 9/17