Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
A&E >  Food

Don’t Push Friends’ Graciousness

Judith Martin United Features S

Dear Miss Manners: When a couple who are both business associates and friends invited me over for dinner, the wife, who happens to be a spectacular cook, mentioned she would be making an item for the main course which she knows is a particular favorite of mine. I looked forward to it very much because this is something I certainly cannot afford when eating out, and very few people are able to prepare it properly.

My wife, however, does not care for this dish - it’s rather unusual and something of an acquired taste. When I learned that my wife would not be leaving town after all and would be able to accompany me to the dinner, I e-mailed my hostess, explained, and suggested a few side dishes (also specialties of the hostess) that would allow my wife to enjoy the meal as much as the rest of us.

However, the hostess e-mailed me saying that she would be unable to obtain some of the more exotic ingredients for some of the dishes I had requested, and would not be able to make all of them. I wrote back, offering to find the necessary ingredients, but did not receive a reply.

We arrived at the dinner and there were only two dishes (besides the rice) that my wife could eat. While the rest of us enjoyed an incredible meal, my wife sat and nibbled her few items.

How can we avoid such a situation in the future? When I mentioned the requested dishes during dinner, the hosts’ manner was rather cold.

Gentle Reader: No doubt you expected her to thank you for giving her the pleasure of serving you. After all, you had taken the trouble to explain so many ways that she could serve you, in order to enable her to expand on her original graciousness.

There’s just no gratitude any more, is there?

For example, Miss Manners doesn’t notice any from you. Your reaction seems to have been that you discovered a free restaurant - pleased that you could get your specialty item, but encouraged by this to order other specialties, and then indignant because your wife (who incidentally made it clear that the evening was a low priority to her) was not able to order another meal.

Miss Manners doesn’t think you have to worry about how to deal with such a situation in the future, at least not at this couple’s house. Should anyone else make you a generous offer, she hopes you will respond by making a grateful fuss over them, rather than making them fuss more than they offered.

Dear Miss Manners: Two years ago, my church announced that a counselor was available if anyone felt they needed personal, confidential counseling. My concern was that a dearly beloved “relative” was involved in drugs.

After a few sessions, I realized the counselor was not trained and not capable of helping me. He assured me that what I revealed would be held in strictest confidence.

Since that time, the man’s wife has been greeting me at church functions with “How is your relative?” I am shocked that her husband betrayed my confidence and I refuse to shake her extended hand or answer her question.

She acts offended. What would be the most effective reply or action toward this un-feeling, crude and unChristian person to put her in her place and let her know I am furious and disgusted with her and her husband for their unethical deportment?

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners has no doubt that the person in question already knows that you are furious at her. That is why she acts offended.

Making her understand why you are furious would be considerably harder. But it is not your job to make them understand this; it is the job of whoever has the authority to remove him from his position for this serious breach. Tell that person or board. Social snubs are no substitute for professional complaints.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Judith Martin United Features Syndicate

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.