DEAR MISS MANNERS: I created a substantial presentation kit to nominate a good friend who is well-off financially for a national award to honor her for her volunteer work.
Before she won, my friend said she wouldn't think of traveling without me to the major city for her to receive the award at a dinner. The award carries a prize of several thousand dollars, which she plans to donate to one of her charities.
I am a retired public relations professional living on a small income, but I have been a generous donor, within my means, of time and money to all of my friend's various charities. Would it be unseemly of me to ask that she pay my airfare? (I would be staying with friends, so there would not be lodging expenses.)
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners would never be so crude as to characterize your suggestion as something of a kickback.
She does wish to remind you, however, that although you were kind enough to nominate your friend, that should not be regarded in the light of a favor. You presumably did so because you recognized her merit, and she presumably won on the basis of that merit.
It was gracious of your friend to issue you such a warm invitation, and it would not be gracious to reply, "Only if you're paying."
What you can say -- and Miss Manners is pleased to be able to tell you that it conveys the identical caveat -- is "Oh, I'd adore to go; I'd be so proud. And I have a friend there I can stay with, so if I can scrape up the fare, I'll certainly be there. When is the latest I can let you know, so you'll have time to invite someone else if I find I can't manage?"
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Employment opportunities being scarce, I have been on my absolute best behavior at work. I have been going the extra mile with the attitude that no job is too small.
A consequence of this action is being very overworked and stressed out. I find myself having to bite my tongue a lot, and it is a struggle to keep a smile on my face. Recently I was actually motivated to such desperate levels of impatience that I had to remove myself from the area and not come back until I was able to talk to, not yell at, the goober I was dealing with.
Was my leaving without saying anything a rude way to stop myself from verbally abusing this person (deserved I must say)?
GENTLE READER: If walking the extra mile takes you over the brink, Miss Manners is afraid that it will not assist your career.
She cautions that in your state of exhaustion, you are probably prone to making mistakes yourself, and co-workers you have alienated will be only too happy to point these out.
Walking away without a word is rude, even if it is not as rude as what you might have said, and you should at least murmur, "Excuse me," or "We'll deal with this later." Miss Manners does hope, however, that you will find a more satisfactory way to control your temper than by biting your tongue -- although she supposes that if you do this often enough, it will remove the possibility, if not the impulse to make uncivil remarks.