DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the best way to respond to someone who says, “You have too much time on your hands”?
A friend of mine is a kindhearted person and I love her dearly, but when I do something special for her or her kids, this is what she says. For example, I labeled the ice and water dispensers on my fridge for her, so she could get what she needed without putting her glasses on, and I’ve spent time on gifts because I thought her child would like them. This is how she responds.
It’s ironic, because she spends most of her time cleaning her house, whereas mine is clean but I still have time to enjoy doing things like this.
Is there a polite way to respond without being snarky? Because I get that way when my feelings are hurt.
GENTLE READER: When compliments are met with derision (“This old thing?”), the intention is not to insult the giver’s taste. Likewise, your friend must think that she is modestly deflecting your generosity.
However, Miss Manners agrees that it comes across less than gracious for deeds that are so thoughtfully meant. A stricken, “Oh! No, I don’t have much time. I just enjoy doing it and thought that you would like it. I can stop if you like” should sufficiently shame your friend into reminding her that generosity can always be terminated if it goes unappreciated.