DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been having a discussion with my sister-in-law, who stated that it is not correct anymore to say thank you, either in writing or verbally, for receiving a gift, and I should not expect it. The gifts in question are given from us via my sister-in-law to her daughter and their family.
I say yes, she says no, and to stop expecting this simple courtesy. Please let me know.
GENTLE READER: When gratitude is no longer required in response to generosity, Miss Manners will be sure to let you know. But you might warn your sister-in-law and her family that this could happen only with the simultaneous death of generosity.
How to reply?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been seeing a gorgeous woman for about two weeks. I have arranged to have a single red rose in a bud vase and chocolates delivered to her for her birthday.
I know she will call or text me to say thank you. Without wanting to sound too clingy or silly, how should I acknowledge her? We both agreed to be patient and allow our relationship to grow. So???????
GENTLE READER: Thanks do not require acknowledgment by the giver.
Miss Manners realizes this is not what you want to hear, since you are hoping to be invited to share the chocolates, presumably before they melt. If you cannot rein in your emotions to this extent, she would settle for you reining in your punctuation.
Like nailing Jell-O to the wall
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In recent years, as people use the telephone increasingly less, I find that most of my plans with friends are made via email, text message and even social media wall posts.
I would not have a problem with this if these so-called friends actually kept our engagements. In this last week alone, I have found myself cyber- (and text-) stalking three friends to confirm plans we have made. And more often than not, these attempts are not responded to, even when the other person extended the invitation to begin with.
I find myself spending a lot of weekends alone when the Monday before I might have had two or three social plans. Is it me, is it my “friends,” or is it the new tech- and self-obsessed American culture? Am I being shunned for a more attractive plan?
GENTLE READER: In another sense, you are not alone.
While the sanctity of an invitation proffered and accepted has been under attack for some time, the advent of the text and email invitation accelerated the process. The ephemeral nature of such invitations make them hard to take seriously.
Miss Manners would like to believe that handwritten invitations would solve your problem, but you may need to change not only the method of delivery, but also the correspondents.
Seen but not heard?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My girlfriend insists on talking to her phone using a voice-to-text application. She does this to send text messages or to answer social media posts, insisting that it is much easier than typing a text message.
My perspective is that it is fine to do that, but very rude to do it in the presence of others. The whole point of texting is to do it discreetly and quietly. What are your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: Being seen or heard to be texting is equally rude when in the presence of live people. Miss Manners notes, however, that your girlfriend’s method has the advantage of providing entertainment to those present when her phone repeats back its garbled interpretation of her message.
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 12/31