DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner, who is generally a wonderful and caring person, likes to, as he puts it, “read the internet” (that is, his favorite news sources) for at least an hour every day.
I don’t particularly mind, although I wish he wouldn’t do this at the table (but I have been guilty of that, too). However, he has a habit of reading things “at” me -- regardless of what I am doing at the time. I may be reading, writing, cooking, thinking about something or rushing around trying to get ready in the morning, but whatever he sees that strikes him as funny, interesting or worthy of derision, he will begin reading it to me without first asking if now is a good time.
Much of what he reads is actually interesting, though I’d prefer not to follow the daily ups and downs of politics so closely. I don’t mind him sharing it with me, but I’d prefer a daily summary of the best of the day’s news, rather than an ongoing commentary.
How can I politely request this? I’ve made the point before, and he has sounded as though he understands, but the habit hasn’t changed. I’m not sure how to give daily reminders appropriately.
GENTLE READER: Next time he tries to read a headline at an inconvenient time, try putting a quick and apologetic finger up, followed by, “Oh! One sec. Let me just finish my thought.” (Or paragraph or risotto or pants-buttoning.) “Then I would love to hear about what you’re reading.”
Miss Manners recommends that you repeat this as many times as necessary, as long as at dinner you remember to say, “I was distracted when you were trying to read me something. Now I would love to hear all about it.” By this time, he will likely have forgotten, or will just give you the highlights.
Better yet, establishing a “no devices” rule at the table will help to classify this information as dinner conversation.