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

Self-Acknowledged Rudeness Doesn't Make It Right

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend of a friend, who I see at some social events, does an odd thing. She will ask a question that is quite rude and none of her business, but add "I'm nosy" or "I'm rude" at the end. For example, she asked another guest, "When is that husband of yours going to get you pregnant? I'm nosy."

The idea, apparently, is that rudeness is acceptable when the person admits it ahead of time. What is the appropriate response?

GENTLE READER: "Evidently."

Miss Manners advises that this be said with a sympathetic smile and followed by silence.