DEAR MISS MANNERS: Spontaneity is often referred to as the "spice of life." I love being spontaneous, if I can.
But now I'm being spontaneously called on with increasing frequency for a variety of meetings by a person who may become a business partner. The first time, I rearranged another engagement to meet with her spontaneously. By the third time, I said no. I couldn't rearrange my schedule.
I feel that she doesn't value and respect my time. What should I tell her the next time she asks me to appear spontaneously?
GENTLE READER: As you have discovered, spontaneity is less charming when it is used to justify rudeness (as it often is to explain not answering social invitations).
Miss Manners would hope that a prospective business partner would also value reliability and respect. But if that is not the case, why allow her to endanger your other professional relationships? Next time she asks, tell her, with charming spontaneity, that while you would love to, you have a prior commitment.