DEAR MISS MANNERS: I suffered an injury that resulted in the necessity of several surgeries and a large cast on my hand for a period of several months (and counting).
Since my accident, I have literally not left the house a single time without at least one person asking me what happened. I find it very rude and invasive, and why would strangers want to know my medical history, anyway?
I usually respond with a terse “I had an accident” or “I injured my hand” and leave it at that. But some people then continue to press for specifics.
I am at a loss as to how to respond to their rude question without resorting to rudeness myself. “None of your business. Quit being nosy” is what I feel like saying (but wouldn’t).
Can Miss Manners please help me come up with a better response?
GENTLE READER: Just as you need not satisfy their curiosity at the expense of your own privacy, you are under no obligation to provide such people with variety. “I injured my hand,” can be repeated, without rancor or even inflection, as many times as even the nosiest person can ask.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’ve been living life for other people for the last 20-something years. I’ve decided to take a risk and sell everything to move to a bigger city.
I’ve always taken care of my family and friends, but I’m doing this for me.
While I do have friends and support in the new city, I haven’t told anyone here. Am I required to let my family and friends here know I am moving? I know if I tell them, they will convince me to stay. What should I do?
GENTLE READER: Without knowing the particulars of the relationships you are fleeing, Miss Manners cannot give more than general advice: Telling distant friends and relations your new address only after you unpack in the new city is perfectly acceptable.
Spouses, dependents and dogs usually deserve advance notice.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A dear college friend and I text one to two times a week. When I was going through some old things, I came across a memento of our time together. I mailed it to him and, via tracking, I know that it was delivered to the correct address.
We continue to text weekly, but he has not mentioned it. This is wholly unlike him. He is always proper. I thought perhaps he was out of town when it was delivered, but it’s been three weeks.
I feel uncomfortable asking him if he received a package from me. What to do?
GENTLE READER: Your discomfort cannot be because it would be unmannerly, Miss Manners’ area of expertise.
“Did you get it? What did you think? Isn’t it funny that I found it after all these years? Do you remember that trip?” Etiquette has no objection to your using any one of these questions — or all four, so long as they are part of a single, breathless inquiry.
But do omit the part about checking the tracking, which, though perfectly rational, tends to raise the hairs on the back of one’s neck.
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.
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Author: Judith Martin