Miss Manners: We invited our neighbors, but they had plans together – Lifotravel

Dear Miss Manners: In our neighborhood, there is a core group of about 25 residents who are very close, often taking trips together. We do not belong to that group, though we are friendly with them.

We host an annual event at our home, and when the invitations went out for this year’s gathering, three members of the group responded that they would be out of town; the others did not respond at all. Lo and behold, it turns out the entire group would be on a weekend trip together.

Had any one of them let us know about the conflict, we’d have gladly changed the date. We are stung — not because we want to join the “cool kids” on their outings, but because we feel it was rude that no one clued us in that we had selected a bad date for so many.

Are we wrong to feel that way? We certainly shall not host again.

How you feel about the situation is not for etiquette to judge, but Miss Manners sees why your neighbors would be squeamish telling you about a party to which you were not, well, a party.

The normal ban on such discussions does not, technically, apply: Any one of them was free to say they were sorry to miss your event but they, and a number of neighborhood friends, would be away that weekend. But that does not put them under an obligation to do so. The guilty parties are the ones who never responded at all.

Dear Miss Manners: I have long hair, worn in ringlets, which sometimes draws compliments as well as questions. I’ve been surprised multiple times by women asking me, in front of others at a party or gathering, “Is your hair natural?”

I always say something vague because I don’t think my grooming routine is any of their concern. I would never ask a woman, particularly in front of others, “Are you naturally blond?” What’s the best way to handle these questions? I find the questions inappropriate, and am left shaking my curly head.

Laugh and say, “Thank you.”

Miss Manners understands that this is not an answer to the question that was actually asked; rather, it is a response to its subtext, which was, “Admit that it takes time and effort for you to look this good.”

Dear Miss Manners: When my brother, his family and I attended a wedding that was held six hours away, I drove my car and my brother accompanied me. My sister-in-law drove her car, with my 30-year-old nephew and his girlfriend as passengers.

However, I made the return drive home alone, while the four of them rode in their car. Was it impolite of them to not volunteer for someone to ride with me? Our homes are very close to each other and we left at the same approximate time. At 75 years of age, I would have felt more comfortable with company just in case of an emergency.

Their behavior was not impolite. But while Miss Manners is unable to provide you with the basis for a good grievance, she can solve your actual problem: Next time, say, “Would one of you come with me in my car? It’s a long drive and I would love the company.”

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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