DEAR MISS MANNERS: I lost about 75 pounds over the course of a year due to a chronic illness. It was partially the illness, but mostly the medications I was taking, which made me nauseous and I never had an appetite. My doctors and I feel that the illness is mostly under control now.
My closest friends and family are aware of my diagnosis, but it is not something I’m comfortable sharing with those outside my inner circle. However, when I see someone who has not seen me in several months, they are often over-the-top complimentary of how great I look.
For the most part, I can say “thank you” and change the subject, but many times, people will not give up. They want to know my diet and exercise secrets, and it gets very uncomfortable because obviously I do not have any.
I don’t want to lie to them, but I’m also not comfortable sharing my medical history in casual conversation. How can I politely decline to answer these questions without telling people to back off?
GENTLE READER: “I didn’t put any special effort into it. I was actually able to eat as much as I wanted.”
Although this is quite true, as you did not want to eat, Miss Manners is aware that it will annoy your questioners. They are hoping to hear a magic formula that they can use to lose weight without the tiresome necessity of eating less and exercising.
But so be it. They will be momentarily stunned, during which time you can open another topic.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have an amazing group of friends and neighbors with whom I love to enjoy outings, parties and events. Depending on the host, venue or situation, the guest list is not always under my control. A lot of these gatherings get posted on social media.
A childhood friend of mine, who knows none of the other ladies, comments on the social media posts that her feelings were hurt that she did not get invited, and that she must not be very much fun.
I’m at a loss as to how to respond. I have told her before that it wasn’t up to me who to invite, it wasn’t my home, or I could only invite very limited guests. This does not seem to stop her from commenting.
She does not live in our area, she does not know any of the other ladies, and it makes me feel terrible. Am I in the wrong?
GENTLE READER: Only for not understanding that your childhood friend is still a child.
It is unfortunate that social media has trashed the rule against advertising parties to those who are not invited. But still, mature people should come to terms with the fact that they are not likely to be included in everything. And in this case, it is especially unrealistic of your friend to pout about not being invited to strangers’ parties.
Miss Manners notes that you have tried to explain this, and can only keep doing so. But you can at least spare yourself doubts.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.
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