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Saturday, July 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: ‘Unfriending’ etiquette still fuzzy

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boyfriend’s friend and I have been social media friends for years. He has recently become engaged, so I wanted to message him about getting together with him and his new fiancee.

However, I discovered he has deleted me as a friend. I’m ordinarily not affected by such things. In this case, however, I am quite hurt. I really liked my boyfriend’s friend, and I am not sure what happened. Should I leave things as they are or have my boyfriend ask?

GENTLE READER: The etiquette around “unfriending” is still evolving, a process impeded both by the nomenclature and the indirectness of the interaction.

It can mean anything from a deliberate slap across the face to an inattentive address book edit. On some platforms, it may not even be a deliberate act, but one initiated by a computer doing its own spring cleaning.

In cases where intent is unclear, etiquette, as a rule, adopts the least insulting interpretation possible – a reasonable, if un-modern, approach. Miss Manners therefore sees nothing wrong with expressing your good wishes and invitation through other means, be it a handwritten note or a willing boyfriend.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am the office manager at a small company, and usually when an employee has a close loved one pass away, my boss tells me to order flowers and send them to the funeral home.

However, in the past year, my grandma and my mother-in-law both passed away and my boss told me, both times, to order flowers and send them to the funeral home.

Is that appropriate? I didn’t do it either time (he didn’t notice) because I feel like it would be sending condolences to myself and because he should have sent the flowers himself. Hopefully you can clarify what the appropriate action would be for me and for my boss in case it happens again.

GENTLE READER: Prior to the deaths in your own family, Miss Manners finds nothing wrong with your boss staffing out the flower assignments. His condolences were being sent on behalf of the company, rather than in a personal capacity, and are therefore a legitimate staff activity.

She agrees, however, that this does not extend as far as asking you to, as you say, buy flowers for yourself. He could have approached a different staff member with the task, but the gracious thing would have been to do it himself. As he had already failed in his presumed intention of making you feel that the company was interested in your well-being, you can be excused for ignoring this particular order.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: If invited to a potluck function and asked to bring a dish, do I still bring a dish although I replied yes, but have since changed my mind about going?

GENTLE READER: It is rude to withdraw an acceptance to be a dinner guest, and also one to help cater the meal. So if you don’t attend but still send the dish, Miss Manners will count only one rudeness against you.

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

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