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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners 8/25

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my very best friend of nearly 30 years visited my new home, she brought her daughter. To say the least, they were terrible houseguests.

I share a communal property, including a swimming pool. A few highlights from the two-day visit: The daughter helped herself to all 12 towels at the pool (leaving none for other guests); she ruined carpets by not drying off before going inside; she ate so much there was not enough food for the other residents/guests at dinner; and she was caught snooping in everyone’s homes – drawers and kitchens, among other places.

The entire situation left me quite embarrassed. Even my neighbors/family noticed this terrible behavior. I had planned extensively for the visit; however, without supervision and correction from the mother, this child was out of control.

I hate to lose my relationship with my friend, but I don’t care to have the child visit again until the behavior is corrected.

Obviously, this is a very sensitive topic – which, in the past, has resulted in the end of relationships for me. Any suggestions on how to gently approach this? Or even how to decline any future visits?

GENTLE READER: Not all dogs are house trained, and not all friends merit invitations to stay the night. If you cannot entirely suspend stay-over privileges until the daughter has outgrown her current behavior, or has been traumatized by less-gentle hosts, perhaps you can time them to minimize the impact on your fellow residents: winter days when the pool is not open and evenings when there are fewer residents around.

In saying this, Miss Manners trusts that reasonable efforts to make your guests welcome were already in place. Grabbing all the towels is serious, but a rug that cannot withstand damp feet might be put away for the duration of the visit.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have been married for 40 years. He recently received a generous gift from a relative on his side. He’s not great at writing thank-you notes, so I whipped into action and drafted a wonderful, thoughtful note.

I wrote this thank-you in the plural (“we thank you”). My husband wants it to be in the singular, and says if we sign it “with love from us,” I’m accounted for.

I maintain that it’s mixing pronouns if the whole note is from him, but we both sign it. I know the important thing is that a thank-you is sent, but I’d like for the giver to know that it’s from me, too.

GENTLE READER: Until your final admission, Miss Manners was prepared to applaud you for the perhaps-not-entirely-selfless-but-nevertheless-virtuous act of making your spouse appear more polite than he is.

She admits to not understanding why it is important that the giver see your hands pulling the strings. But she agrees that changing pronouns mid-epistle is apt to be confusing, even if it is a violation of grammar, not etiquette.

Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website

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