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

I Want to Network, Just Not With You

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do you fend off rude questions from co-workers such as, “That’s a nice sweater. Is it NEW?” They often look me up and down, scrutinizing every thread and every sleeve on my apparel, as they ask this question.

While I don’t mind compliments about my clothes, I do mind the judgment that follows these supposedly thoughtful remarks.

GENTLE READER: The advantage in buried criticisms is that you are under no obligation to dig them up. Miss Manners advises you to say only “Yes,” accompanied by your most wide-eyed smile.

(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.)