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

Must I Stop and Talk When I’m in a Hurry?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend calls out to you in a parking lot. You wave hello, and keep going to your destination. Is it OK just to wave to a friend when you are in a hurry? Or do you have to stop and talk?

GENTLE READER: In our current situation, you could actually be fined for it. That excuse will not last forever, however.

When things return to normal, Miss Manners assures you that as long as you make it clear that it is your schedule, and not your affection, that is in question, it will still be acceptable to keep moving. This can be accomplished by accompanying the wave with a gesture to a (real or imagined) wristwatch and a hurried, but pleasant and apologetic, facial expression. If you are able to follow up later with a phone call or email, it may quell any fears that the friendship was not worth stopping for. Unless of course, that is the actual case.