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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners 8/30

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: It seems these days that people interject their opinions or input when not asked.

For instance, at work the other day, I asked a co-worker for input on a situation that had occurred. Another co-worker heard this interaction and immediately interjected their opinion on how they would have handled it.

If I wanted this person’s input, I would have asked. I have experienced people butting into my conversations many times. I usually stop talking until the interrupter has finished, ignoring them, then continue on.

How do I tactfully tell people who do this that they are being rude and intrusive when I really want to scream at them for their unwanted intrusions?

GENTLE READER: When you are after serious advice, it is best to do so privately, not in an open setting where others may presume that you are collecting opinions.

But yes, Miss Manners agrees that there are too many opinions floating around unanchored to requests or actual knowledge.

The natural inclination to instruct everyone has been inflated by a constant call for feedback. You buy something and are asked to evaluate the experience. You read or watch the news and are asked to register how you feel about it. Your spam email keeps asking you to fill out surveys.

Small wonder that everyone is kept so busy dispensing opinions without enough time to slow down and study the matter being judged.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was married earlier this year. One week into the marriage, I discovered that my spouse had been having an affair in the months running up to the wedding.

I am now planning to divorce. Must I return the wedding gifts?

GENTLE READER: No, as you actually did get married, and that rule applies to broken engagements. Nevertheless, it would be gracious to offer to do so.

But Miss Manners definitely agrees about the necessity to return the bridegroom.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: One of my dearest friends has become enamored of her cellphone, especially as it allows her to post updates on her activities as they happen.

Imagine my surprise when she tweeted from the funeral of an elderly parishioner, complete with photos taken inside the church. She sent these tweets during the funeral, which required her to hold up the phone, snap a picture and then type into the phone.

I find this tasteless but don’t know what to say, if anything.

GENTLE READER: You need to put into your will that your dearest friend should be barred from attending your funeral. And refrain from inviting her to your wedding or parties. Perhaps you could go for a walk together.

Miss Manners considers that you have received ample proof that your dearest friend is disrespectful to both the living and the dead.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it socially acceptable to wear white masks after Labor Day?

GENTLE READER: Tee-hee.

Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.

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