DEAR MISS MANNERS: Here is my quite transparent hypothetical:
If two people are walking in the hallway at work, having a conversation, and a third person approaches one of them to talk exclusively about a work matter (ignoring the other person altogether), is this considered rude? Or is this acceptable, since the conversation is about work and occurs in a public space instead of in an office?
What should the ignored person do? Wait for them to end their conversation, get involved in this new conversation, or simply walk away? Or be gracious and say something like, “You two look like you have something important to talk about. I’ll catch you guys later,” in an expression and tone as authentic as one can muster?
I know that the last option is the adult choice, but it is very hard for us sensitive and easily offended people to carry off. And how does one develop a thicker skin, so as not to take slight at seemingly trivial matters? Thank you for your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: You are welcome?
No one should ever be interrupted or ignored, but Miss Manners is afraid that she must agree that a work conversation does take precedence over a social one. Waiting for a reasonable amount of time before politely excusing yourself and walking away is, in fact, the adult and mannerly thing to do.
If you must add a slight edge in order to appease your easily offended feelings, Miss Manners will permit you to say, “Please let me know when you are available again and I will finish my story.”