DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a church supper, I clearly heard an acquaintance say that all suicide is because of self-pity.
Not only am I a mental health professional, but I have a personal history of suicidal feelings of my own. This woman’s remark was cruel and downright evil.
Of course, I couldn’t say anything in that setting, and she was also sitting directly across a large, full table from me. So although I ended up saying nothing, and that was several months ago, it still bothers me.
Should I still respond in some way? If so, how?
Is there anything I can do to advocate for people who are hurting from depression, or should I just chalk it up to ignorance and forget it?
GENTLE READER: There is not much you can do about it now, since the comment was made months ago and not addressed to you. If something similar happens to you, Miss Manners suggests quietly saying, “I assume you’ve been fortunate enough not to encounter this situation.”
Leave it at that. There are more effective ways to channel your desire to be an advocate than embarrassing individuals, which rarely works.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Several months ago, two co-workers and I started a monthly tradition of “girls lunch” out of the office. It became apparent almost immediately that one of the co-workers was going to be a problem.
She is rude and demanding to the wait staff and always sends her meals back. She is a lousy tipper to boot, and I overtip to compensate for her stinginess.
Needless to say, the two of us want nothing to do with any future lunches out with this co-worker. How do we tell her that from now on our lunch trio is only a duo?
GENTLE READER: Make it a duo dinner.
Not only is there no diplomatic way to tell her that you are firing her from lunch, but there is no way to escape being seen by her if you go off to lunch together.
Miss Manners notes that you can, however, suspend the regular lunches and resort to meeting on the side, on your own time.
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