DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend and I have never shared the same political views. She likes apples, I like oranges.
Before the war began, I got constant anti-war paraphernalia, everything from dairy farmers against the war to pictures of starving children from Ethiopia who were against the war.
I have close family and friends in the military and have formed my own opinions as to the presence of American troops in Iraq. After several e-mails containing anti-war statements, I wrote her back and asked her to please remove my name from further forwards which included any political statement for or against. I told her that I appreciated her intense concern for the actions of our government, but that I didn't want to discuss them.
After that e-mail, I received a very short e-mail in which she said that she apologized and that she wouldn't send more political e-mails.
The problem is that now she completely ignores me. We haven't talked since and she ignores my phone calls and e-mails. I didn't want something like this to ruin a friendship, but it seems like it has. Was I wrong in asking her to remove my name from the distribution list? What is the proper etiquette for asking someone to stop sending you unsolicited e-mails which aren't personal but mass distributed?
GENTLE READER: When it is a friend, you voice respect for her point of view, say without rancor that you prefer not to get into the issue, and perhaps add that you are not receptive even to mass mailings that support your own viewpoint.
Wait. Isn't that what you did?
Miss Manners is left believing that your friend's emotions were running so high as to render her unable to tolerate your holding to your own views. Let us hope that it was temporary and she is now ready for peace. It is impossible to run a democracy if people with opposing ideas refuse to deal with one another.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have two sons and each of them has been living with their girlfriend for about two years now.
We give a substantial amount of money to our sons on their birthdays.
We want to know if we should buy their girlfriends a birthday gift and if so, what would be appropriate type of gift?
GENTLE READER: Probably not chunks of the family fortune or your great-grandmother's pearls.
What precisely you should give them Miss Manners cannot say, but yes, it would be nice to recognize their birthdays in some way. These ladies may someday be managing your grandchildren's birthday parties. The scale would be (in order of warmth) friend of the family, prospective member of the family or equivalent to member of the family, according to your assessment of the relationship.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was recently invited to a "Greenback" wedding shower. Does this mean I must bring a money gift?
GENTLE READER: That is certainly what these greedy people plan to extract from you. Miss Manners hopes you did not miss that because the invitation was too subtle.