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Advice | Miss Manners: Friends kept commenting on my stuff during a move

Dear Ms Manners: I recently moved after living in the same house for many years, and my friends who helped, and even the paid mover, kept saying things like, “You already have one umbrella. Why do you need more?”

I moved quickly to get out of a terrible relationship and faced comments and ridicule about the items I decided to keep. (I had hired the mover because of my extensive container yard, which was a quick but bad decision. He’d gotten five-star ratings from other customers, but how, God only knows.)

I love the friends who helped, but seriously, if you don’t have anything nice to say, shut up.

that’s for sure a difference between movers you have hired and friends who have offered to help move your household. Professionals should not criticize your belongings – they should just move them or advise you how to do that – and you can calmly ask them to continue with the work.

But if you let generous friends go in between your private things, they won’t be completely impersonal. You don’t have to defend your choices, but neither should you tell them to mind their own business. If they did, they wouldn’t be there. So if they find you’re burdened with having too many umbrellas, you can just smile and say, “I’m expecting rain.”

Dear Ms Manners: A small group of friends gathered for lunch at a local restaurant. The meal was complete and I would need a doggie bag.

Before I had a chance to advise our waiter, another member of the group noticed another member of the wait staff and instructed him on how to take care of my leftovers, down to what kind of container should be used.

This conversation was conducted in a language that I do not speak. All the staff speak English quite well. I was reprimanded by my partner for making it clear that I did not appreciate the infringement. Was I out of line?

Oof. Initial Miss Manners was afraid your dinner companion had pinched your leftovers. As it is, she doesn’t quite understand why you’re upset. You seem to have decided that your friend was motivated by a bossy desire to live your life, which of course Miss Manners would condemn.

But she has another hunch: Your friend prides itself on being able to speak a foreign language and rarely gets the chance to try it out on native speakers. Can’t you find it in your heart to find this endearing?

Dear Ms Manners: I just read that they are bad ways to take your menu off the table altogether. I’m in a dilemma: I suffer from myopia, so sometimes I have to hold my menu a little further from my eyes than the table top allows.

This is weird guideline was intended for children who find it funny to fold their menus over their heads like hats. While you may be wondering who came up with this unauthorized instruction, Ms. Manners can assure you that it does not apply to you.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday at washingtonpost.com/advice. You can ask questions to Ms Manners on her website, missmanns.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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