DEAR MISS MANNERS: A group of friends has been showing up at a restaurant bar for as long as 30 years, and on rare occasions, a latecomer may be the recipient of three or four drinks already purchased by the group. By the time he gets an opportunity to reciprocate, everyone, including himself, is ready to leave.
The bar manager thinks the lucky one should leave a heavy tip for being so lucky. Some members feel the buying of drinks for their friends caused them to have higher tabs and took care of the tip according to the increased amount they spent.
Should the lucky one have to tip the bartender a second time, even if he made no purchase?
GENTLE READER: Speaking of tips, Miss Manners advises you not to accept any on etiquette from those who stand to make a financial gain if you act on their advice.
It sounds as if all these friends are leaving the bar too late. You all should have left for good the moment the bar manager started nosing into who was treating whom. Let us hope that he does not go around explaining to other patrons' dates how lucky they are to be asked out and demanding that they give him a cut.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My roommate and I got along well for the first few months. Now we barely talk. I find that we (we're girls) get along fine. She says, "I hope you can be a better roommate." That annoys me. I feel all I need to do is show respect and give her space. Am I correct?
GENTLE READER: You also have to give her back her stuff, including her beau, presuming he wants to go back.
Sharing living quarters with another person is a tricky and complicated business even for those bound by blood or passion. It requires going beyond the fairness of rules, although that is the place to start. A harmonious atmosphere, not just one person's way against another's, should be important enough to both to allow them to make the sort of small concessions that render life at close quarters bearable.
First you should agree on such crucial matters as noise level, guest policy, bill divisions and the use of shared appliances. Strict observance of the law is not enough, however. You should also be trying to put up with as much as you can tolerate of the other person's quirks and habits and to curtail those of your own that are found intolerable. If your humming drives your roommate crazy, it is no justification for you to point out that there is no rule against it, and if she leaves hair all over the sink you're not going to be happy when she points out that it is your week to clean.
If you are doing all this and still have no clue as to why your roommate is fed up, Miss Manners certainly doesn't. Unlike her, however, you have the opportunity to ask politely if there is anything you have done to offend her. Not that Miss Manners necessarily thinks that you have. Someone who would make such a cutting remark is a good candidate for being a bad roommate.