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Advice | Miss Manners: My friend gave me a present made by someone who bullies me


Dear Ms Manners: I’m good friends with a woman and we have a mutual acquaintance, Jason. He is a bully and has been quietly harassing me over the years. I go out of my way to avoid him and his wife, which works for the most part.

I haven’t told my girlfriend about Jason’s meanness and bullying because I don’t need to involve her. Unfortunately, she gave me a present made by Jason and his wife. I didn’t want this item in my house and donated it to a thrift store the next day.

Now I feel bad because my friend spent a lot of money for this item. I wonder if I should have kindly informed her of the situation, kindly declined the gift, and let her pass it on to someone who would have appreciated it. She is completely unaware of the pain this man and his wife have inflicted on me, and she was very generous with this gift.

Is there anything else I should have done? What should I do if it happens again?

The idea that it It is possible to harass someone in an inconspicuous way, Miss Manners realizes, is not unique to you. But it can’t help her to notice that the illogic of simultaneous hype and trivialization of whatever happened has led to your current confusion.

If you were harassed, you may have a duty to warn your friend about Jason. If instead the behavior was just annoying or abusive without being intimidating, then your instinct not to involve your friend was the right one.

Dear Ms Manners: If someone received a book as a gift, should they wait until they flip through or read the book to comment on it in the thank you response? Or should the thank you be immediate, with any comments about the book saved for future communication?

Thank the giver nowbefore you read the book. If you like it then it will give you something to talk about when you see each other again. If you hate the book but are asked about it, you can reiterate how much you look forward to reading it.

Dear Ms Manners: Answering the phone is not my job, but I still do it about 10 or 12 times a day. Often people hang up without saying anything.

I assume this is because they realize they dialed the wrong number. But I was under the impression that it is rude to hang up silently and that you should apologize briefly. If callers with a wrong number say something, at least I know it wasn’t an important call with a disconnect.

You’re quite right Hanging up on another person is rude, but Miss Manners will, unusually, make a small concession to the Efficiency Over Etiquette crowd:

If you, as the wrong caller, can hang up quickly enough to believe in your heart that the call didn’t go through, she’s willing to overlook a single stray beep from another electronic device she never really wanted.

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

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