DEAR MISS MANNERS: I think it is lovely that people can go on vacations to wonderful and exotic places, but is it appropriate for them to share photos on social media of their luxurious trips?
One or two is fine, but when I see photo after photo of a vacation, I start to get uncomfortable. I was taught that it is not polite to share vacation photos in this way, in the same way that it is improper to talk about an expensive gift.
The photo posters may have the best intentions, but I cannot help but feel that they are bragging about their ability to take such trips and that they should consider the feelings of those less fortunate.
GENTLE READER: Well, of course they are bragging. What do you think is the purpose of social media?
However, that need not be the only motivation for posting vacation pictures. People have always thought that others are as interested in their travels as they are. They are wrong, of course.
Miss Manners considers the new method to be vastly superior to the previous one, in which the travelers would issue an apparently innocent social invitation and then bring out their home movies. The saving grace of social media is that one is not trapped with the perpetrators of boredom but can safely skip exposure.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A “friend” of 25 years informed me over lunch in a restaurant that my husband of 39 years has been having a long-term affair with his assistant. When I politely told her that this was laughable, she persisted, smirked, shook her head and called me naive.
Do friends say things like this to friends? She says she was only trying to protect me. Do you believe her explanation, and should I believe it?
Her husband of 30 years asked for a divorce four years ago, and she has been very bitter since. She’s lucky to have some friends who took her under their wings and made excuses for her irrational behavior, but she doesn’t seem to be moving on, and the friends are starting to worry about her.
GENTLE READER: If you are asking whether it is an act of friendship to attempt poisoning a friend’s marriage, the answer is no. Not even if the would-be poisoner is miserable and wants company.
But Miss Manners gathers that you are not giving up on the friendship, tedious as it has apparently been for the last four years. You only want to squelch the accusation.
In that case, you should not be arguing. As you have already discovered, that sets you up for the trap of being “in denial.” Either way, you lose.
It is therefore time to be high-handed instead. “I’m sorry,” you must say coldly, “but I cannot allow you to insult my husband.”
Repeat as often as necessary.
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 10/21