Miss Manners: We Like The New Neighbor But Her Signs Make Us Uncomfortable

Dear Miss Manners: We moved to a new neighborhood and quickly took a liking to our next door neighbors. My husband has spoken to the wife on several occasions, and their conversations have been nothing but lovely.

However, in a recent Valentine’s Day talk, she was strongly hinting at my husband to buy me a gift from his catalogue.

We strongly oppose multilevel marketing companies as a whole, but we really value emerging friendships. How can we gently, but permanently, tell him that we are not interested while continuing our friendship?

Gentle Reader: Ignoring his instructions. It might be the end of it.

But should it evolve—say, with invitations to sales parties—Miss Manners fears you’ll have to say, “We’re not really interested, but we’d love to see you just socialize.”

Dear Miss Manners: My daughter has been ill for 13 years with a rare, chronic, often debilitating disease. She eventually had an allogeneic bone marrow transplant, but she didn’t respond as well as we expected.

People have brought us food and done other thoughtful things, and many have donated money to help with expenses.

Her husband took unpaid family leave, and they have a little boy we can’t send to preschool because of my daughter’s weakened immune system. (We have some amazing in-home babysitters instead.)

My daughter wants to write thank you notes. But he has no energy, and his hands tremble. He has a list of people to thank for going back to May of last year. Can she send a computer-printed thank you note inside a card? I can handle addressing them for that.

Gentle Reader: Everyone understands that the law weighs the circumstances of a crime before reaching a decision. So why does everyone assume that etiquette mercilessly condemns violations without considering motivation?

Your daughter wants to do the right thing, and you can help her do it on the computer or by taking dictation. There is no chance in the world that the people who have helped him, who clearly know his condition, will scoff at receiving a thank you that is not handwritten by him.

Dear Miss Manners: For most of my life, I have had a special love for my mother that she uses just for me. His new girlfriend has started calling me with this love, and I wish he wouldn’t.

In addition to a stern voice, “Please don’t call me that!” How can I politely tell him that I would prefer to use my first name instead?

Gentle Reader: There’s no reason to be rude: upon hearing you addressed as such, he naturally thought it was your accepted surname. He hasn’t asked you to call him daddy, has he?

All it needs is, “Oh, that’s just mom’s pet name for me. Everyone else calls me Daisy.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners on her website at www.missmanners.com; to her email, Dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or via postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMichael Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.