DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 13-year-old boy, and I’m bisexual. I don’t know how to tell my parents, although I think they might think that I’m gay (because of how I act and my obsession with nail polish). But I’m still very nervous to tell them.
I feel like if I do come out, they would accept it, but the topic is very awkward when I’m talking about it with my siblings. I already told my friends, but how should I tell my parents, family members and my parents’ friends?
GENTLE READER: Many a child has learned the effectiveness of scaring parents into thinking their impending news is going to be much more drastic than it is: “I’m pregnant! Just kidding, I failed biology.”
While there might be a temptation to oversell in the name of lessening the impact, Miss Manners cautions you against such theatrics. Tell your family members privately and simply, without apology or forecasting a negative response. Politely and patiently answer their questions and correct misconceptions, doing your best not to betray any annoyance.
And if all else fails? Skywriting.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work as a property manager and I speak on the phone with dozens of people every day: tenants, prospective tenants, vendors and other employees of the company I work for.
It has been bothering me lately when people I am on the phone with will not hang up without a proper valediction. Before hanging up, some will just say “OK” or “thanks.”
Our regional accountant does that to me, and I feel it is rude. Sometimes prospects who called to ask questions about the property will just hang up when I am in the middle of talking.
The last time this happened, someone asked me how much the apartment rates were. I assume they hung up because the rates was too pricey for them, but I would have thought the polite way to respond would have been “Oh, that’s over my budget, but thank you for the information” followed by a “goodbye.”
I’ve been getting so fed up with this behavior from multiple people lately that I’ve considered calling back the people who hang up on me to say something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry, I think something happened to the phones, as I was talking and suddenly the phone line cut off.”
Is this just the new norm to end phone conversations, and I’m just being petty? Or do I have a real reason to be miffed?
GENTLE READER: You are justified in your miff-dom, and Miss Manners finds your proposed solution to be a polite and likely effective one. But it is also within the parameters of your job to talk to co-workers directly about their rudeness, particularly if they represent the company. “Isn’t it awful how customers just abruptly hang up on us? We should lead by example on this, and not do the same” would give them the benefit of the doubt, without placing any direct blame.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.