DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I moved into my home, I moved in with my then-partner of two years. Now, three years later, my partner has left me, and I am a young woman living alone.
I am not bothered by that, but I have not yet had time to grieve my five-year relationship, and things are still turbulent with my ex.
How do I politely tell my next-door neighbor that I am not interested in his offers of a date or companionship now or in the future?
He is very nice to me and, before, was very nice to my ex. I really don't want to burn the bridge of friendship, but so far, my excuses of being very busy or not sure of my plans have not discouraged him. What can I do or say to get my interests across?
GENTLE READER: Or lack thereof. "I'm so sorry, but I'm afraid that I'm just not interested in changing the nature of our very nice friendship."
Miss Manners notes that wisely, you have not told him you are "not ready" for romance, as when you eventually are, it will be very clear -- as he lives next door -- that you were just not ready for him.