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

If Friend's Calls Are Inconvenient, Set Up a Time That Isn't

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I talk with a friend of mine at least three to four times a week. In the past year, it has become very annoying.

In nine times out of 10, if she calls and I can't answer, I'll call back -- sometimes in five minutes. She has never answered my return call, but she'll call back in 10 to 15 minutes. It has become so obvious.

I don't understand the reason for this behavior. I have not directly addressed the situation, but I must. How?

GENTLE READER: What has become so obvious? Miss Manners got lost in all of the numbers.

It is obvious to you that you are not answering your friend's calls because it is inconvenient. But you believe it to be equally obvious that she is not answering yours because she wants to prove a point?

You would be hard pressed to directly address this in a way that won't seem dismissive and self-important -- particularly if you wish to continue talking to her three to four times a week. Let it go -- or resort to texting to find a mutually convenient time to speak, preferably in person.

(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, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors