Miss Manners

Friend's Daughter's Rudeness Can Be Finessed With Concern

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend sent a personal email message, asking me to donate to her daughter's mission trip overseas. A few weeks later at church, we were talking after services, and her daughter came up to us. My friend introduced us by saying, "Sweetheart, this is the lady who donated for your mission trip."

The daughter didn't even glance in my direction before saying in an irritated tone, "I don't have time for this; give me the keys."

I was shocked. I could tell my friend was embarrassed, so I said I needed to go anyway and left.

Time has gone by, and I have received no apology in any way or even a thank-you. I would like to send my friend and her daughter an email, but don't quite know how to word it. My husband suggested to kill them with kindness, but I want to let them know just how put off I was by that behavior. Any suggestions?

GENTLE READER: While there is no doubt that you are owed both a thank-you and an apology, your friend is aware of this and her daughter does not care. Aside from the fact that you are not the etiquette police, a note will therefore be ineffective.

Similarly, Miss Manners suggests that an abundance of kindness is unlikely to be fatal, either to your friend or to her daughter's behavior. Next time you see your friend, say that you are so sorry that the mission trip was not everything your daughter had hoped for. When your friend protests that the trip was a resounding success, explain that you must have misunderstood the daughter's reaction.

If the mother truly was embarrassed, this will provide an opportunity for her to apologize and offer thanks on her daughter's behalf. Those most to be pitied here are the people to whom your daughter presumed to offer moral instruction.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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