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Saturday, July 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Limiting friends on social media can be done impersonally

Nicholas Ivor Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I finally signed up with a popular social media website at the request of my two sisters, one who lives abroad and the other one 1,500 miles away. They both wanted to be updated on my family and daughter’s events.

However, due to my busy schedule, I want to limit the number of my “friends” on social media to 10 people, mostly very close family and friends of my daughter.

I have received a friend request from a person I carpool to work with. I do not want to increase my social media friends list. Should I accept the invite, even if it means having 11 friends? Or what is a polite way to decline?

GENTLE READER: Most social media sites save users the trouble of figuring out how politely to say “I don’t want to be your friend” by allowing them to decline without actually informing the person making the request. Miss Manners does not agree with this implementation; she does agree that you are not bound to engage in unwelcome social interactions.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A cousin who remarried informed me that not only has she taken her husband’s last name, but she has also changed her first name. A friend did this some years ago, but answers to both first names, old and new.

Is it recommended to honor the new first-name identity and offensive to retain the familiar first name? Retroactive first-naming feels like losing ties that bound – especially when one interacts infrequently, over long distances!

GENTLE READER: Changing first names upon marrying is a new idea to Miss Manners. She wonders if it is the bride’s intention, by changing her entire name, to loosen old ties by disappearing. But assuming this is not the case, it is correct to address her by her new name.

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

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