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Etiquette for a Work-Related Weekend Visit

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband works from home, and a colleague does not. Colleague sometimes texts my husband that there is a product or mail for him at the office, and kindly offers to drop it by our home. My husband accepts and is very appreciative.

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WRITTEN TO MISS MANNERS: While I have a coworker who does not work remotely, my husband does. My husband’s coworker often texts him to let him know that he has packages or mail waiting for him at the office and offers to bring them home. My spouse agrees and is grateful for it.

On weekends, the drop-off usually occurs first thing in the morning, when I’m still in bed or lounging around in my robe and slippers. My husband decided to show Colleague around our “new” house this morning because we relocated during the pandemic. My pajama-clad bedroom, where I checked email, was not part of the tour.

I consider Colleague a close friend, but we usually only cross paths when we’re both “ready to greet the world.” I thought it would be impolite to not make an appearance, so I robed up and came out. I scampered away as the men continued their conversation about our new house, the work that needed to be done, etc.

I don’t want to come across as rude or uninterested. To what do you propose I listen?

CAUTIOUS VIEWER: The fact that it hinged on bragging about a brand new house suggests that it won’t be happening again any time soon. Though Miss Manners thinks you were too polite during the unexpected business visit, she assures you that your presence was unnecessary.

To avoid being caught in your jammies again, perhaps your husband can give you advance notice if Colleague plans to be included in any future remodeling.

WRITTEN TO MISS MANNERS: My closest friend is someone I’ve known for over 18 years. Their kids even started calling me “uncle” after he and his wife introduced me to them.

They uprooted to a major metropolitan area several years ago. We maintained contact as much as possible. His parents, who still resided here, were frequent visitors.

Three years ago, I reached the age of retirement and returned to the place where I spent the majority of my life. I made an effort to maintain contact, but my friend has become less available. A while ago, I sent him a text message expressing my sadness over the loss of my last surviving sibling. That’s tough, bro,” he said in response.

He hardly displayed any compassion. Many months have passed since that day, and I haven’t heard from either him or his wife.

Is it impolite to inquire as to what exactly I may have done or said to cause such a profound offense that they feel compelled to cut off all communication with me?

CAUTIOUS VIEWER: Absolutely not. Proper etiquette requires politely deflecting blame for one’s own actions onto another person.

If your friend insists that everything is fine, you may feel compelled to confront him about his insensitivity. Even so, there are subtle ways to go about it: “Oh. I just wanted to touch base and maybe hear more about your brother. Additionally, I am interested in learning more about you.”

Miss Manners worries that the second statement will reveal whether or not its previous absence contributed to the distance between you.

(Your questions can be sent to Miss Manners at Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, via her website at www.missmanners.com or her email address at dearmissmanners@gmail.com.)

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