Miss Manners

Sometimes Cruel Remarks Aren't Worth Addressing

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a church supper, I clearly heard an acquaintance say that all suicide is because of self-pity.

Not only am I a mental health professional, but I have a personal history of suicidal feelings of my own. This woman's remark was cruel and downright evil.

Of course, I couldn't say anything in that setting, and she was also sitting directly across a large, full table from me. So although I ended up saying nothing, and that was several months ago, it still bothers me.

Should I still respond in some way? If so, how? I'm sure she didn't know I overheard the remark. I'm sure that, by now, she has forgotten she said it.

Is there anything I can do to advocate for people who are hurting from depression, or should I just chalk it up to ignorance and forget it?

GENTLE READER: There is not much you can do about it now, since the comment was made months ago and not addressed to you. If something similar happens to you, Miss Manners suggests quietly saying, "I assume you've been fortunate enough not to encounter this situation."

Leave it at that. There are more effective ways to channel your desire to be an advocate than embarrassing individuals, which rarely works.

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