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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners: Friend’s engagement expectations should serve as warning

By Judith Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: One of my girlfriends recently got engaged. I was very happy and excited for her, as she had waited for this proposal for what seemed a long time. When she texted me with a photo of the proposal taking place, I quickly texted back my congratulations. The next day, I then followed up with a phone call to again congratulate the happy couple and find out the details of the proposal.

Imagine my dismay when, a few days later, my friend discussed with me how disappointed she was in her friends’ response to her engagement! She proceeded to tell me that it really bothered her that none of her good friends took her out for champagne to celebrate or for a manicure.

I sat there in silence as she talked about what she has done for her friends who have gotten engaged, but no one did it for her.

Am I a bad friend for not doing these things? I assumed there would be engagement parties, bridal showers and everything else that comes along with this engagement, so I never thought of doing something extra so quickly for her.

Is this something I should bring up with her as to why it bothered me that she came off as so self-centered?

GENTLE READER: First, a warning:

Do not agree to be a bridesmaid to this lady. If in the first flush of this happy time, her thoughts are not focused on her new life with her fiance, but on how others should pay her obeisance, it is only going to get worse.

Miss Manners’ next cautionary advice is not to get into a discussion of your friend’s fault or your own grievance. Rather, you should be leading her into talk about the virtues of the bridegroom and listening to tedious wedding details (should the tablecloths be pink or rose?). That is the duty of a good friend under such circumstances.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Today the granddaughter of someone I know asked me point blank if I think her grandmother is beautiful. Is this a proper or improper question?

GENTLE READER: It is a dangerous one, as the world seems to be full of literal-minded people who would rather state their blunt opinions than consider and react to the subtext that would lead someone to ask such a question.

In any case, the proper answer to the granddaughter is yes. Miss Manners assures you that all grandmothers, like all babies, are beautiful.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend of many years has become predictably rude, demanding and demeaning to wait staff when we lunch together, a ritual of many years. I find that I cannot abide her ill-mannered treatment of these people, plus it ruins my meal.

Recently, while in a restaurant together, I gently asked her to treat the wait staff nicely. She exploded in anger against me and walked out. Can this friendship be saved?

GENTLE READER: No. Not at lunchtime, at any rate.

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.