DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I went out to brunch with a friend I have known for many years, we became a little intoxicated, and through the course of laughter, my friend said to me that I am much more fun when I’m drunk.
She isn’t the first person to say this to me, and this particular friend has said it a few times now. Another friend once said to me that the drunk version of me is more fun to hang out with.
I’m always unsure how to respond, because the implication, no matter how it’s worded, is that I’m not fun when I’m sober. I have a great sense of humor, and I use it often. Maybe I am sensitive, but I know I’m not an uptight person; I can be silly and cut loose, especially with my friends, even when sober.
How do I respond to this statement that I feel is more insulting than complimentary?
GENTLE READER: “Oh dear, what a bore I must be when I am sober. But as the alternative would be acquiring a drinking problem — and neither of us wants that — I am afraid you will have to continue to put up with me.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a longtime disciple of yours, I know to promptly mail a handwritten thank-you note upon receipt of a gift. Often, I find that I am in very routine communication with a gift-giver via text and email.
Upon receipt of a gift, is it necessary to acknowledge it right away via text or email, or should my first acknowledgment of the gift be via the formal, mailed thank-you note? If the former, how would I differentiate the two messages so that the formal thank-you note doesn’t exactly mirror what I’ve already texted?
If the latter, how should I handle a “Did you receive the gift?” text when the thank-you note is in the mail, but has obviously not yet been received by the gift-giver?
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GENTLE READER: Writing a prompt thank-you letter is the first line of defense. And Miss Manners thanks you for doing so diligently.
If, however, you find yourself engaged with the giver before the message has been delivered, she suggests some version of, “I did receive your present and I love it. Thank you. A note is in the mail.” If pressed for particulars, try to generate a generous list of adjectives to describe it — so that you do not repeat the ones that you have already used.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’d like to know if it’s rude to eavesdrop on one’s wife when she’s talking to herself.
GENTLE READER: It depends on what she says — and whether or not you want to get caught. If you are worried that you will be reprimanded, you can always plead ignorance: “I am sorry, dear, but I thought you were talking to me.” This will either get you off the hook — or force your wife to watch what she is saying aloud.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.