DEAR MISS MANNERS: I live in an apartment with four girls, and we had a birthday party for one of them. Each of us invited our own friends, and some of them came very early. The party was set to start at 9:30 or 10 p.m., and people arrived at 7:30 or 8!
I began to drink early, and by the time 11 p.m. rolled around, I was pretty much done for the night. I had seen a few of my friends, and they had left, so I left with a guy for a while, just to be with people I knew.
I forgot to take my phone, and apparently when I came back (an hour later), a few of my friends had stopped by. I feel awful, because I don't know which friends came by, and I haven't talked to anyone since.
I just found out that people were trying to find me that night, and I didn't even realize I was missed! I thought it would be OK to step out (because I was a bit drunk), but I wasn't there to greet my guests who I had invited!
What can I do now? I don't want to call every single person I invited and ask: "Were you at my apt party last weekend? I was gone and don't know if you came!!" Please let me know what I can do!
GENTLE READER: "I was drunk and didn't know what I was doing" is not Miss Manners' idea of an attractive excuse. Yet it is preferable to the deliberate decision to leave a party one hour after the time for which one has invited guests.
Presumably you know whom you invited to the party. Want to or not, you should call them and apologize, without whatever self-blame and self-derogatory humor you can muster.
Some will reply, "That's OK, I didn't get there anyway," in which case you can console yourself that they, too, were either drunk or rude.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was having dinner at a restaurant with my husband in the city in which we moved from about five years ago and excused myself to the ladies room. On the way there, I ran into a former co-worker whom I hadn't seen since I moved.
Of course, I said hello and that it was good to see her.
She then followed me into the ladies room (she had been on her way out) and kept talking to me about the happenings at my former place of employment.
I listened politely but felt a little strange about having a somewhat long conversation in the ladies room and wasn't sure how to put an end to the conversation. It seems fairly obvious why one goes to the ladies room, but she didn't seem to get the hint. So I just kept standing there listening, until she finally said that she had to get back to her table.
Should I have said something to end the conversation sooner? If so, what?
GENTLE READER: "I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me." Granted that this person seems oblivious to the situation, Miss Manners is confident that with a little effort, she will be able to figure out why you disappeared into a booth.