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Not necessary to thank in-laws for visiting

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband’s parents visited us recently from out of state. About two weeks after they departed, I received a terse note from my husband’s grandmother, in which she expressed concern for my relationship with my mother-in-law because I had not written to thank them for visiting.

I felt a bit hurt because we have a new baby, and it was a real effort to clean, shop and cook for their visit. My mother-in-law spent some time playing with the baby, but she did not pitch in with any chores.

Am I truly remiss in not writing to thank them for enjoying our hospitality? More important, what shall I say in the letter I must now write?

GENTLE READER: That your mother-in-law did not “pitch in” does not, at first glance, relate directly to your question – except to indicate that you are attempting to defend yourself by making a countercharge of in-law rudeness.

Miss Manners has no objection to the strategy, merely the tactics.

Nice as it might have been for your mother-in-law to help, they were your guests and cannot therefore properly be criticized on this point. She suggests writing to your grandmother-in-law that it was always your understanding that the guest thanked the host, not the other way around – but that you are not expecting a letter from your mother–in-law, as you know that the rule does not apply to immediate family.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am one who is always on different committees, such as the retirement committee. When my grandbaby came, these same people on the committee didn’t have the decency to celebrate the new arrival with a grandma gift. What to do?


Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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