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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners 6/17

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it OK to have 50 people in your backyard, eating, dancing and socializing, and then when it’s time for you and your family to eat, to come inside and eat at the table, leaving all the other people outside? Or should the host family eat outside with everyone?

GENTLE READER: How rowdy are the 50 people? And are you certain that they were invited?

Because Miss Manners wonders why this family seems to be hiding from their guests. Perhaps they just want their food to stay hot.

Either way, it is obviously rude for hosts to enjoy a different venue from their guests. To alleviate curiosity and as a means of revenge, she therefore suggests that the guests poke their heads in frequently to ask for ketchup.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was having a nice dinner at a restaurant with my dear friends Josef and Guillaume when they told me that two friends of theirs, Harley and Tucker, were coming to town soon, and that they would be hosting a cocktail party in their honor. I had met these friends at Josef and Guillaume’s home on a previous visit, and chatted with them on several occasions.

Guillaume invited me to the party and told me the time and date. But two days before the party, I received another call from him: He told me that Harley and Tucker were going to be in town for a limited time and wanted to see a number of other friends at the party, so he was asking that I not attend.

I didn’t know quite how to respond, having never been invited to a social event and then uninvited later, but I said “sure.” He did say that they would have me over for dinner sometime soon.

What would Miss Manners do?

GENTLE READER: Refuse to accept any more invitations from these two for a while. If you do get invited to that compensatory dinner, you would be well within etiquette bounds to decline, saying, “Of course I would love to see you, but I am afraid I am a bit hesitant after the last invitation was rescinded.”

This would rightly induce your would-be hosts to fall all over themselves apologizing. If that does not happen, or you feel it insufficient, you may certainly keep the relationship more distant until they have adequately apologized.

Miss Manners further questions a cocktail party that cannot handle one more person. Harley and Tucker certainly should have greeted you, but they were under no obligation to spend the entire party with you at the expense of their other guests. She wonders what sort of evening Josef and Guillaume had in mind.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website

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