DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am ready to yank my fingernails out with vise grips!
One of my best friends lost his partner several months ago, and keeps bombarding friends and family with tribute requests. I acquiesced initially, but I’m taking a firm stand now and refuse any further participation.
How do I convey my message without losing a friend?
Mind you, his significant other was a tough 22-ton tanker times 10 -- a two-fisted hardcore alcoholic. On any given day, he would be in a stupor at best, breaking coffee tables at worst. For us to contribute to a liver foundation because he died of liver disease, I feel, is outrageous!
It’s been going on nearly a year now, and my friend is asking if he can count on us for yet another memorial donation. Please give some soothing advice, or else I’ll be going in for a medical manicure very soon.
GENTLE READER: “I have limited resources and will be turning my attention to another cause this year. But I will be sure to drink a toast in Thadeus’ honor the next time we are all together remembering him.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a dear friend who is only available to speak with me late at night, around the time I am having something to eat. It has come up that she doesn’t approve of my eating while on the phone. I understand, but the alternative is that I would call her back later, which she also doesn’t want me to do.
I am hungry, distracted and need to eat something, so I am torn between eating or talking with her. How should I handle this?
Oh, and I am not in need of losing weight, so that is why I don’t see this as an opportunity to do so.
GENTLE READER: While Miss Manners would never have jumped to that conclusion, you now have her wondering about the timing of these conversations and how long it takes you to digest.
Would not the logical solution be to pick a time that is mutually satisfactory? Late enough for your friend, but after you have had time to eat? She suggests that you start setting some parameters: “9 p.m. is when I have my muffin break. Perhaps you can call at 9:15.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a call from a man who had gotten my phone number from my niece. She did not ask me first if it was OK for him to have it.
Is it all right for her to have done this? She thinks I’m overreacting.
GENTLE READER: Perhaps she would change her mind if you reversed the situation. Miss Manners does not necessarily recommend putting this into practice -- she is not in the business of exacting revenge. But the mere suggestion that you know lots and lots of eligible people her age who would just love to chat with her, constantly and without warning, might be enough to make your point.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)