DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have recently lost my only child. I do not like it when people wish me a happy Father’s Day. I have mentioned this to my immediate family, and they think it’s weird but are stopping.
Am I out of line? I feel as though they are a bit thoughtless in wishing me a happy Father’s Day, because it could never be a happy day for me.
I would never wish this to someone who has lost a child, especially an only child. It just seems tasteless and almost feels like it’s rubbing it in my face, although I know they are not. I now just avoid everyone, but I still get text messages from well-meaning friends and family. I don’t feel comfortable responding to them about how this bothers me.
GENTLE READER: What is wrong with these people? These are not even mindless strangers who toss holiday greetings around promiscuously, but your own relatives and friends who know of your loss. And they are telling you to be happy about it.
Miss Manners is afraid that you will have to remind them. A quiet “I suppose you have forgotten what happened to my child” should do it.
Relatives’ sales pitches
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am confounded on how to reply to the numerous requests/demands from family and friends to buy whatever merchandise they are selling — a variety of jewelry, miracle skin treatments, cleaning products, etc. This doesn’t even begin to cover all the times they sell things for their children.
It seems the only time they want to talk to me is when they want me to buy something or host an event at my home. I would never dream of inviting people into my home to sell them something.
Be assured that all these people are financially comfortable and mainly do this as a way to make money while they stay at home and raise their children — a decision I fully support, if that is what they want to do.
However, I have bought all these people shower gifts, wedding gifts and baby gifts. I was happy to celebrate the happy occasions in their life. I married early and have no children, so it is not as if my contributing would be “payback” for gifts given to me.
I would like to know the best way to respond to these incessant requests. Ignoring them seems rude, but I don’t see any other way of dealing with it.
GENTLE READER: How do you normally respond to the sales pitches with which we are all constantly bombarded? By ignoring those that do not interest you and responding to those that are made face to face with, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
This is not rude: It saves both your time and theirs, and your money. So do that when your friends and relatives turn commercial.
Use only with soup?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Would you please advise whether there are any correct uses for a round-bowled cream soup spoon other than for cream soups?
GENTLE READER: Breakfast cereal. You can get away with a lot at breakfast.
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.
© Universal Uclick 6/23