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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: During the entire quarantine, my “friends” have been getting together with people from their extended families and other friends for continuous parties and holiday celebrations -- like 26 people!

My husband and I are following the stay-at-home orders. We have never been sick, thank goodness, and are not going to any events, not eating at indoor restaurants, etc. We’re only going to grocery stores.

I’m missing out on so many things and have lost touch with my friends, I guess due to my jealousy that they are still having a good time and seeing each other while I am at home.

I feel so conflicted and sad. Any suggestions on how to move forward, knowing I may not have these friends in the future?

GENTLE READER: Because they might forget you? Or because they are courting the virus and might not be around?

But you are not really looking into the future. You are just piqued and sad at being left out of the fun, even though it is because of your own good judgment.

Miss Manners understands and sympathizes. And she is glad that it is not taking the mean form of wishing your friends ill consequences.

Now let us consider the future, when it will be possible for you to see friends safely, including ones who escaped infection despite rash behavior.

That depends entirely on whether you and they have the strength never to mention the choices you made during the pandemic. If they crow about theirs, it would be unbearable. But should you speculate that they should have been made sorry, or even express bitterness at your sacrifice, it will not go over well.

If you feel that the friendships are worth saving, you could start now by keeping in touch virtually, listening to their doings without scolding them, and saying that you are looking forward to seeing them later.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Does it still hold true that one should blacken the wick of candles before displaying them? I think it looks nicer to have fresh candles on display, but a friend pointed out this is not correct. Is this practice archaic and obsolete?

GENTLE READER: Archaic and forgotten, possibly, but that does not mean that Miss Manners has taken it off the books. The rationale is to indicate that the candles are actually used, and not just there for show.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I jointly owned and worked full-time in a business for over 25 years, and last year, we sold the business and retired. Now when we bump into friends and acquaintances, they ask about his retirement: what is he doing with his time, etc.

They don’t even look at me, much less ask the same questions. Usually hubby will say things like, “Ella is volunteering at the animal shelter and has new hobbies” in an effort to include me. They usually nod and continue asking him questions.

I want to wave my hand and ask if I’m invisible! These are people who know full well that the business was ours, not just his. Is there anything I can say to include myself without sounding petty?

GENTLE READER: “I suppose you are wondering what I’ve been doing in my retirement.” Miss Manners hardly supposes that anyone would be rude enough to reply, “No, actually I’m not.”

(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.)