DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my husband travels for business, he sees nothing wrong with going to happy hour or dinner, including alcoholic drinks, with single female colleagues. And picking them up from the train station, airport, etc., and texting them with emoji – mostly regarding work, but sometimes not. He says these colleagues are just “someone to hang with after work.”
This has always made me feel very uncomfortable. Am I wrong to feel this way? Please help resolve this dispute. We’ve been married for 32 years with three grown children. We have a good marriage, and thankfully are still in love.
GENTLE READER: And yet you haven’t built up any trust? If you go to a male dentist, is your husband worried that you will start kissing as soon as your mouth is no longer numb?
Miss Manners suggests that you take a look at the workaday world. Whether or not you are in it, you must see that it contains all genders. You might also have heard that although cordial working relationships are encouraged, people who don’t know when to stop are apt to run into terrible professional trouble. Men who are fearful of false accusations – and Miss Manners has heard from many of them – should not shun their female colleagues, which has professional consequences for all, but provide their own chaperones.
The way to resolve your dispute is to apologize for your lack of trust, and to stop trying to make a fool of him for being the person who is forbidden to mix with his colleagues on business trips.
Unless he is a proven philanderer. In that case, you would best keep him under lock and key, because temptation is everywhere.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a very smart niece and nephew who live out of state. I try to send them gifts that they would like. This year, I sent them a message on social media that I would be sending them gifts via a courier service, and that they should watch for them.
Needless to say, I never received an acknowledgment or thank-you for the message or gifts. I don’t know if they received the gifts or not. Is there a way to convey to them that although I love them and enjoy sending them gifts, I find their silence very rude and disrespectful?
GENTLE READER: What is it that you enjoy about sending presents to people who won’t even acknowledge them?
This is the era of feedback, as your niece and nephew are surely aware. It is impossible to go to the drugstore for an aspirin without then receiving an email asking how you enjoyed the experience. So your relatives have no excuse for withholding feedback from you.
If you don’t want to accept silence as negative feedback and stop throwing good presents after badly received ones, Miss Manners suggests that you mimic a typical commercial plea: “Your feedback is important to me. Please take a minute to let me know if you enjoyed receiving that present.”
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.
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