Q: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year now, and as soon as I met him he instantly wanted me to meet all his friends, which I thought was so sweet.
I met the whole lot and loved all of them except one: my boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend. She apparently wanted to date my boyfriend years ago, but he was never interested in her, so she turned to his best friend and settled.
For years she kept a very protective eye over my now-boyfriend, so when I came into the picture, it didn’t matter how nice I was — she was going to dislike me.
I’ve made absolutely every effort with her, but she actually refused to acknowledge my existence for this whole year I’ve been with my boyfriend. By this I mean if I said hello to her, she would turn away; if I asked her how her day was, she would start talking to someone else; if I walked into the room, she would leave, etc.
All the while my boyfriend did his best to kindly tell her to be polite and that she was being rude. However, I thought he mainly wanted to stay out of girl drama, so I did my best to remain positive and kind.
Recently she sent me an email saying that she was sorry if her actions “hurt my feelings” but that she was bad at relating to other girls and recommended I shouldn’t take it personally.
I sighed. I felt as though she wasn’t very sorry at all, and in fact was merely choosing not to practice something I think we should have all mastered by now: common decency.
How would you respond to her rather lackluster apology in a dignified and graceful way while still nudging that her behavior is inappropriate and needs to be changed? Also, while not upsetting my boyfriend, who I’m sure will be forwarded a copy of anything I reply back to her.
A: We can agree that the non-ex-girlfriend is unrepentant, but her non-apology is less potent than she thinks. She hopes it will satisfy your boyfriend that she has apologized while making clear to you that it is your reaction, not her behavior, that is at fault.
Your message should negate those terms: “I appreciate your apology and look forward to your thinking of me as an individual, rather than only one of ‘other girls,’ once we get to know each other.”
If the behavior does not change, you will have done your best, and Miss Manners will second your taking the whole problem back to your beau.
Q: How do I approach my mother and her boyfriend when they are whispering while I am in the same area of the house?
My mother invited me to stay. I am from out of state. I can’t go anywhere since I don’t have a car. She is 75 miles from my sisters.
A: Begin speaking as you approach them, so as to give warning. Although it is possible they were discussing your departure, Miss Manners agrees it would be best if you not attempt to find out.
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.