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

Replying to Online Birthday Wishes

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife has had a very dear friend for many years. This friend’s son, of some age himself, was recently contacted by a child who said that he was his birth father.

How does one inform close friends and associates of this new addition to his family? The grandmother happens to be thrilled that she has a new youngster to dote on and to spoil.

GENTLE READER: With associates, Miss Manners recommends a bold approach: that your wife’s friend introduce him as what he is -- her son’s son from a previous relationship -- while acting as though it is only she, not the father, with whom the boy was not previously acquainted.

Friends and family will require a less ambiguous explanation.

(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.)