Miss Manners

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A good friend’s sickly, elderly brother died in his sleep. We converse on a daily basis, so I found out relatively quickly. Another good friend of mine is also a mutual friend, but they only see each other a few times a year.

Should I tell my other friend about the death of the brother of our connected friend, or is it not my place to do so? Is it disrespectful to inform someone of a death before the family does?

In this particular case -- since the two friends don’t see each other that often -- it’s not likely that the deceased’s brother will see or contact our mutual friend in the near future.

GENTLE READER: Unlike good news, bad news is not generally something the principally affected person is eager to convey, Miss Manners finds. And certainly news of the deceased does not possess sole ownership. You may in good conscience tell your friend the news. And then it is up to him to convey condolences.

(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, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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