DEAR MISS MANNERS: My best friend recently texted me that she was going to buy a pregnancy test, but that she was not very excited. I saw her later that evening for a kickball game, where she told me again, “I’m not very excited, but I’m pregnant.”
Since she did not tell me this excitedly or even with a smile, I really didn’t know how she wanted me to react to the news. I told her she should get ready and start preparing for the baby and tell her husband, who I knew would be excited.
A few days later, she sent me a message saying that I had said insensitive things and really hurt her feelings because I wasn’t excited about her being pregnant. I apologized to her and told her that was never my intention, but also explained that because of the manner she told me, I wasn’t sure I was supposed to be excited.
Is there a way I could have known that she expected me to be excited about her news?
GENTLE READER: This was a trap. Your conflicted friend wanted you to have the feelings that she did not yet have the presence of mind to muster.
Miss Manners recommends that you be forgiving and chalk the discrepancy up to early pregnancy hormones. But be mindful that your indulgence does not turn into extended emotional misuse -- or perpetual free babysitting.