DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I traded in his car for a used luxury sedan. As we came home from the dealership, one of our neighbors looked at the car, then at us, and asked if we'd bought a new car. I said, "Well, it's used, but new to us" and smiled. She answered back, "You can't afford that." I laughed and said, "I had no idea you were my financial adviser."
She became very angry and told me, "You don't have to be a jerk about it." I shrugged my shoulders and said, "But saying 'You can't afford that' isn't being one?"
She stalked off in a fit of anger. We walked into the building and decided to ignore her going forward.
Was I being overly sensitive? I guess it doesn't really matter, because we only ever have small talk with her. No friendship has developed from our interactions.
GENTLE READER: Nor is it likely to, Miss Manners thinks. You responded to rudeness with more rudeness, which did not make you feel better, did not make your neighbor reconsider her own behavior, and increased the total sum of unhappiness in the world. For any one of those reasons, she would have thought it did matter.