DEAR HARRIETTE: I was in an awkward situation the other day and really didn't know what to do. I ran into a woman who is a professional acquaintance. I have known her through a mutual friend for quite a few years and have been at social events with her from time to time. Her longtime partner died about two years ago. When he died, I sent her a note, but we aren't close, so I didn't do more. Anyhow, I saw her at an event the other day, and we greeted each other warmly. I wasn't sure what to do next. I wondered whether I should ask her how she's doing, since I haven't seen her since her boyfriend died. I decided not to do that because we were at an upbeat event, but I wonder if I did the wrong thing. Was I insensitive to not mention him? -- What to Say, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR WHAT TO SAY: You did the right thing. The only reason for you to mention her partner who passed away would be in response to something that she had said. Otherwise, it would be inappropriate for you to bring him up in a random conversation.
It is good that you trusted your instincts. Being in the present is what any moment requires, especially in a situation like this. Whatever was going on when you two were together is what you should have addressed. The end.