DEAR MISS MANNERS: Lately, people have been saying to me, "It is not my story to tell" when I ask about the welfare of friends who might be having problems, or after I find out something devastating about a friend I care deeply about.
For example, I found out a friend's brother had died. When I asked why no one had told me, I was told, "It's not my story to tell." Same for a friend whose husband was dying. Same for another friend whose mother had died. Same for a friend with dementia.
Do these people think those who are suffering should contact and notify every single person they know?
This answer would only make sense to me if the individual going through something told people not to say anything. This was not the case in the above-mentioned situations.
GENTLE READER: Are you telling Miss Manners that people are resisting gossiping? She is amazed.
But she is also amazed that, when you hear that something devastating happened to your dear friends, you don't get in touch with them. Not to hear the details firsthand, but to offer your sympathy -- and, if warranted, your help.