Q: What is the proper etiquette for announcing a pregnancy to extended friends and family?
I am expecting a baby shortly and have not announced anything about my pregnancy via social media and have no intent to. The result is, only friends that I keep in contact with frequently or see in person, and immediate family, know that I am pregnant.
I was fine with this and intended to send out birth announcements to extended family once my child was born. However, it seems that every time someone I’m not close to finds out I’m having a baby in a few short months, they act offended that I hadn’t told them sooner.
So I’m wondering, was I supposed to mass-announce my pregnancy? Or is it OK to keep things like that private, simply for the reason that you don’t feel like broadcasting it via social media?
A: There are sensible reasons for not advertising a pregnancy — from the possibility that something might go wrong, to the hope of avoiding hearing everyone else’s grisly birth stories.
But beyond that, Miss Manners encourages you to resist the notion that you are obliged to make your life public. Traditionally, births, marriages and deaths were formally announced to one’s circle of acquaintance. The rest was, and is, discretionary.
Q: I am in my early 70s and could definitely get a lift from a face-lift. The problem is that I’m not sure how to find a surgeon I trust.
I know several women my age who look wonderful, and I suspect they have had “work” done. I would love to ask them for the names of their surgeons but fear that my question would be insulting or intrusive.
Is there a tactful way I could ask? Or is it just plain bad manners to ask someone who did their face?
A: Yes, “Who did your face?” is definitely not charming conversation.
But you might be able to tease that out of them by talking about yourself, and then, after the inevitable reassurance that you look fine, saying: “Still, I wish I knew someone who could recommend a surgeon. I’m not lucky enough to have your good genes.”
Q: How do you answer well-meaning people who ask how you are doing after the death of your spouse?
My husband died last year, four months after I retired from my job. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to his brain.
I still miss him and want to ask him countless questions. He is sitting on our mantel in his urn, but needless to say, his answers aren’t well-phrased.
I haven’t been very active socially because I don’t have a well-thought-out way to answer people’s concern, except to say, “I’m doing as well as can be expected.”
A: It seems to Miss Manners that that says it all. You needn’t claim to be fine, but you will have responded to the well-meaning people that you are not in a state of crisis requiring intervention.
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.