DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one go about politely refusing the entreaties of old friends to reconnect?
I have so many demands on my time as it is. My hands are already full maintaining existing friendships, and I don’t wish to put in the effort to reconnect with someone I haven’t seen in years.
There may be a time in my life when the demands are fewer, but right now is not that time. “Sorry, I’m 31 now and I’ve become very discriminating about who I spend my free time with” lacks tact.
GENTLE READER: So, Miss Manners would have thought, does ignoring requests, but, at least with electronic communication, this is the widely accepted solution.
Etiquette accepts this by inventing the fiction that perhaps the communication was misdirected to spam or the receiver is not an expert at modern technology. The nontechnical equivalent for direct entreaties is the vague response (“Oh, we’d love to, but right now things are very busy”), repeated to exhaustion.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a little conundrum. I currently live in my late parents’ home as the trustee to their estate. My siblings and I are in the process of selling the house, and I will be moving soon. My parents lived in this home for many decades.
My mother received both of her parents’ ashes when they passed, and she buried them in her front yard and made a little handmade headstone. I’m conflicted about moving away and leaving my grandparents there. But I don’t know if this is an etiquette issue or some ancient taboo thing that I would be violating if I chose to dig up their ashes and headstone and take them with me.
None of my siblings seemed to care about doing anything with them when I mentioned it. Is there any protocol I should know about this?
GENTLE READER: Disinterments are not to be done lightly, but you have another problem, which Miss Manners informs you of with the utmost respect: You presumably would prefer to avoid a discussion with the new owners about who is interred on the property.
The good news is that the ashes are likely self-contained, which will make recovering them easier. Although your siblings have not expressed any concern, they, and you, might appreciate a respectful reburial of the ashes somewhere that is less likely to be disturbed.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a potluck dinner attended by households of varying sizes (i.e. some singles, some couples, some families with children), should attendees bring one dish per person, or one dish per household?
GENTLE READER: Because she believes that it is the host’s responsibility to feed the guests, Miss Manners looks on default potlucks with suspicion.
But recognizing that they have their place, and in the interest of feeding the hungry, she recommends a target for each household unit attending of one serving per guest. Not wanting to burden guests further, she decrees that if you provide both eclairs and cheesecake, guests may have to choose one or the other. Should more specifics be needed, surely the hostess, who has been relieved of the bulk of her own duties, will have time to address them.