DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boyfriend of a year was approached by two female friends of his asking for a night out of the city to visit him in the suburbs for dinner.
After asking me, we agreed to host a dinner party for the four of us in his home. I have yet to meet these friends and thought it would be fun to host a party and get to know them.
Upon further discussion of what I thought I would cook for the evening, I learned that these two ladies plan on cooking for us. Apparently, that was part of the idea, to get out of the city where their kitchens are small and to cook in a larger kitchen.
I feel like this it is rude of them, but am not sure, since it is technically not my kitchen, as we do not yet live together. I certainly would never invite myself to cook in another person's home.
Am I overreacting? What is the polite way to signal I am planning the menu and if they would like to bring a side that would be wonderful?
GENTLE READER: Funny that you haven't mentioned the gentleman's reaction.
They are his friends, and it is his kitchen. And while there are people who hate having others working in their kitchens, the offer, which they can simply decline with thanks, is not rude.
So Miss Manners will address herself to your question about overreacting.
Her guess is that this strikes you as the ladies' thinking it would be cute to feed the helpless bachelor who must be in need of some feminine care. And that you are bristling because this would ignore your attachment.
You would be well advised to drop that whole idea. They know about you, they have shown interest in meeting you, and you should accede graciously to their offer, which Miss Manners suspects that the gentleman has already accepted.
Besides, nothing will emphasize the two of you being a couple more than jointly allowing these friends to pamper you.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At least several times a month, I receive "warnings" from well-intentioned friends. These are usually messages that have been forwarded many, many times, containing alerts about computer viruses, credit card scams, health issues, dying children yearning for business cards and the like.
Trouble is, that when I check the accuracy of these well-meaning messages, the vast majority turn out to be false alarms, many of which have been circulating for years.
Of course I always ignore the "please forward this to all your friends," but what do I do vis a vis the sender? It seems rude to return a message telling them they've alarmed folks unnecessarily, but my not doing so simply encourages them to continue the practice of sending on unverified information.
GENTLE READER: The phrase you need, if you wish to alert your friends to their mistakes, is "You will be relieved to hear that..."
Miss Manners' idea here is to show sympathy for their concern, thus enabling you to explain how you found out, thus possibly encouraging them to check themselves before sending out the alarm.