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Miss Manners: No polite way to pull invitation

Judith Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am looking for an appropriate way to uninvite someone to a corporate event. The guest list has been revised, and I need to uninvite five guests.

GENTLE READER: If this were a social function, Miss Manners would have to tell you that there is no polite way to rescind a proffered invitation. In contrast, revising the list of attendees to a work meeting carries no such ban. It seems clear that the event in question follows the unfortunate practice of blurring the boundary between professional and private life. Your only hope is to reassert the distinction.

This will be easier to do if the uninvitees are employees who were “working” the event, since – after you explain and apologize – you may be able to suggest that their workload is being reduced. If, however, you have spent the past few months telling everyone that this event is fun and not work – of if these are outside guests – you would do better to locate five more chairs.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work with my mother, who happens to be my “boss.” In what way would it be best to address her while in the workplace?

GENTLE READER: Address her as you would an employer who did not rear you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have a super busy year with a wedding and grad party, but my daughter doesn’t really want to waste the time with a grad party because all of our family has to travel, and we want to focus the traveling on the wedding.

But I want to acknowledge her graduation and hope that people would send a gift even though we are not having a party.

Is there a way to word this appropriately on a card? “Our daughter is graduating, but we want to save you the travel, but please acknowledge her anyway.” Just kidding, what is the best way to handle this?

GENTLE READER: Of course Miss Manners understands that you are kidding. How could there be a polite way to tell people that you are doing them a favor by not offering to entertain them, but that they should not consider that an excuse to skip rewarding your daughter for finishing school?

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