DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am of the opinion that if one family member wishes to have a conversation with another who is not in sight, it is permissible to call his/her name to locate them in the house. Once the call-ee answers, I say that it is then the call-er's responsibility to go to where the call-ee is located, since shouting back and forth isn't polite to others in the house. But this often ends up happening with me. I have politely mentioned to several family members (those who initiate shout-outs) that I would prefer they locate me so we can talk at a more civil volume, but this has earned me many eye rolls or even led to being called "anal," one of my least-favorite words, especially when used incorrectly and applied to me.
I'm not trying to be haughty, but I think that expecting someone to stop an activity and come to you when you are the call-er isn't a polite way to begin a conversation -- it's more of a summons.
When I wish to locate a family member, I have no difficulty going to them, and frankly don't understand why other members of my family do not share this view. I have thought about simply refusing to answer the initial locator shout, but that may be too blunt a way to make my point.
Is there a polite way to resolve this, or am I getting bent out of shape over a trifle?
GENTLE READER: Doesn't Miss Manners hear your mother calling you? Shouldn't you run and see what she wants?
Yes, you really should. If it is your child calling, he should go to you. This is a matter in which rank counts. The elder generation gets to call the younger generation
Your system is right if it is your sibling or your spouse or your roommate who is calling you. But it isn't working, and Miss Manners doesn't want you to get bent out of shape. She advises you to enlist their help in getting an intercom system.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have just started high school, and have made many new friends, and some of those friends' parents are divorced. I have met some of those parents, and am utterly confused as to what is the correct way to ask how they should be addressed. I am unsure whether to ask the friend how to address them, or the parent, and I hate to be rude. Would you please help me solve my problem of what to do?
GENTLE READER: The worst part is that neither will give you a straight answer. If you ask a friend what his parent is called, he will probably say, "I don't know -- Mom;" and if you ask a grown-up directly, you will likely be told, "Oh, call me Chris."
Miss Manners recommends asking the friend, "What is your mother's last name?" and adding the neutral "Ms." to that unless directed otherwise by the lady herself.