How do I tell a bossy friend to let me have a say?
Each week, Miss Manners answers questions exclusivelyfrom the MSN audience on all of your etiquette dilemmas.(Have an issue you want help with? Send in a question today.) Read on for this week's hot topics:
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
I was raised to comply with whatever wishes a guest had when they were visiting me (such as play whatever music they wanted to play, because they were company). That always worked well as I was lucky enough to be treated that way when I was the visitor.
But I have one friend (we've been friends for 20 years) and she apparently does not subscribe to that rule. When she visits me, we do what she wants, we eat where she wants, etc. That part I don't mind.
But I finally realized that when I visit her, we still do what she wants and eat where she wants.
After all this time, I'd like a say in the matter (when I visit her). We do not share the same restaurant preferences and I'd like my preferences to be considered. She is coming up in a month and I will spend New Year's at her home. What can I say when I am a guest at her home again? Or should I just keep quiet?
"How is your friend supposed to know that what is done at your house is not what you want to do? That's what you've been doing with her for 20 years.
While it is true that hospitality requires trying to please the guest, it is the hostess who should do the planning and offer choices. Your friend may be following the rule of being a good guest, which requires going along with those plans the hostess made, even if the hostess guessed wrong about what would be pleasing.
But Miss Manners agrees that you must break this impasse. Your friend is visiting you first, so you have the chance to make plans that include things you like to do."
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
My husband and I have been debating how to politely decline an invitation without an excuse. For instance, if we are invited to an event that we just don't want to go to, I feel it is appropriate to say "thank you for thinking of us, but unfortunately we can't make it." He says this is lying because we could make it, we are just choosing not to and this makes him uncomfortable. How would you suggest we respond?
"Would your husband be more comfortable telling the hosts honestly that you are not going because it sounds boring, and besides, you don't like them?
Often when people hold themselves up as being that strictly "honest," Miss Manners finds that they lack an equivalent concern about being kind.
Lying is saying you expect to have open heart surgery that day when you really plan to go skiing. That is why it is foolish, as well as unnecessary, to supply an excuse. Tell your husband that you can't make it because you can't bring yourself to go."
Judith Martin's latest book is No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice. She is also the author ofMiss Manners' Guide toExcruciatingly Correct Behavior(Freshly Updated). She and her husband, a scientist and playwright, live in Washington, D.C. Theyhave two perfect children, of course.
1. you have a mouth, USE IT.. if she's your friend she'd understand without any hard feelings, if you fear hurting her, maybe you should be friends with ppl who aren't so bossy nor is intimidated by them
2. being honest from the get go is the easiest way to go, there's nothing wrong with simply not wanting to go.. if you cannot make up your mind about it, then telling them "we'll see when the event comes" that means maybe, they won't know you're not going and you won't have to be straight up "no"
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