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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Blanket Texts to Contacts May Reveal More Than You Want

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a dear friend who periodically sends out texts to everyone on her smartphone contact list for holidays: "Happy New Year!", "Happy 4th!", etc.

It is nice to receive them, but some people respond to it by unwittingly replying to all, meaning I also see a total stranger's reply to her on my phone. This is no big deal, but sometimes it turns into a more personal conversation between two people, and I am also seeing their messages to each other.

Do I just ignore the whole thing, or do I let them know at some point that their messages are not private? If I do break in, how do I politely phrase it?

I don't wish to cause trouble or embarrassment, but wish they would keep their conversation to themselves, just as I hope that my messages to my friend are kept private.

GENTLE READER: Warning someone who incorrectly believes he is having a private conversation is always good manners and often good public policy. Miss Manners will be brief, as she also suggests you do so quickly, before they start discussing you.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Last fall, my niece and her fiance mailed out "save the date" notices for their wedding. My parents received one. I just found out my parents were not included on the invitation list due to the fact that the wedding couple could afford to invite only so many people.

My parents had scheduled their annual vacation at that same time, but canceled it because they thought they would be invited to the wedding.

I have a major problem with these "save the date" notices just because of this situation. This is something they should have figured out in the first place before they mailed those notices out, and it puts many people in awkward positions and hurts feelings. I am angry because it really hurt my parents' feelings, and their vacation is ruined.

I have not discussed this with my niece or my in-laws. Should I address this or just let it go? I think it's extremely rude and totally inconsiderate, to say the least.

GENTLE READER: When save-the-date cards were first invented, Miss Manners welcomed them as a way of alerting guests to, well, save the date, not to mention taking advantage of airfare sales. She should have known that people would start misusing them.

Guests were afraid that these required committing themselves so far in the future that they could not think of excuses to decline. But actually, they are merely announcements; answers are required only when the actual invitations arrive.

But those must, indeed, eventually arrive. To treat the advance notices as lottery tickets -- that lucky you may, or may not, be chosen to attend -- is arrogant, callous and disgraceful.

If there are other marriages pending in that branch of the family, it might be useful to mention that your parents never got their invitation. Otherwise, it is hard to see what you would gain by telling your in-laws how rude they are.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Marriage & Divorce | Family & Parenting