Miss Manners: Singleton treated badly by smug couple friends
By Judith Martin, Nicholas Martin and Jacobina Martin,
Dear Miss Manners: I am in my late 20s, and find myself the only single person in a small mixed-gender group of friends. Generally this isn’t an issue. However, one man in the group started dating a young lady about a year ago, and they recently became engaged. Since then, he and his intended have begun having get-togethers to which all of our friends are invited except for me.
Generally, these are informal events to which, in the past, I would have been welcomed. His excuse is that the events are “couples only” and that he isn’t excluding me; rather, my single status is excluding me.
I have never heard of such a thing, especially for an informal barbecue or game night, and I am quite hurt that they are choosing to host events designed to exclude only me. After all, it’s not like I’ve chosen to be unattached.
Are couples events really an acceptable way to host a casual evening in with friends? What is the right way to respond to this to let them know how hurtful they are being?
While Miss Manners has some sympathy for hosts who are trying to ensure an even number of guests for certain games or table place settings, this can obviously be accomplished by adding a new person, rather than subtracting an existing one.
Presumably, your male friend brought his fiancee along at some point before they were engaged. You might point this out. “Do you know any good prospects?” would, however, be infinitely preferable to, “Well, I certainly hope that you and Kitty make it, so that you don’t get excluded from the group, too.”
Dear Miss Manners: Quite often, a friend will admire an item I am no longer using and express their desire to have it. On several occasions, I have given it to them — only to discover that they promptly sold it.
I am disappointed. If they had asked if they could sell it for me, or even stated their intent, I might have felt differently, but this rubs me the wrong way.
Do I need to adjust my thinking, or qualify the gift? Perhaps both?
How about not giving it to them in the first place? You are under no obligation, Miss Manners assures you, to give away your possessions simply because you are asked. It does not matter if they are no longer in use or will fetch money. That is the job of estate sellers and auctioneers, who share the profits — not friends. You need not enable them.
Dear Miss Manners: I (the bride) have called off my wedding. I know I should return the ring and gifts. What about deposits to venues from the groom’s family? Do I need to help with those or anything else?
You may well be dealing with an open and volatile wound. And while there might not be much that will calm a young man scorned, offering to offset the bill might help. Miss Manners suggests that you do so with as little interaction or explanation as possible.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
2021, by Judith Martin