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

Telling New Friends That You’re Not a Dog Person

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was visiting a large city, staying at an inn where guests all gathered for breakfast. Each morning, someone invariably yelled across the room to me, “Where are you from?” followed by more questions, such as “Why are you here?” And then “Let me tell you about this city.”

I am shy and introverted in the morning, and felt very uncomfortable announcing my life story to the breakfast room. Finally, I pretended I didn’t hear and looked out the window. What to say?

GENTLE READER: Yours is the polite and practical solution: polite because venues with common tables expect the guests to introduce themselves and to mingle, and practical because cowering in one’s room over a boiled egg is not much fun.

Miss Manners does not suggest there is ever an excuse for yelling at someone over breakfast, unless, perhaps, the person who is being addressed is hard of hearing, which is what you are pretending to be. If necessary, you can pretend not to understand and reply that it is, indeed, a lovely day.

(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.)