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Mister Manners

Sardonic Advice for the Etiquette-Impaired

11/30/05 08:33 pm - autumnelephant

Dear Mr. Manners,

My mother recently started a new job and now finds herself in a slight dilema. Seeing as the holiday season is swiftly approaching, should she purchase gifts for her five coworkers, or give nothing at all? She has been there approximately one month, so would it be appropriate to give a small gift such as a candle or box of chocolates? Thank you for your advice!

8/7/05 06:26 pm - le_oisillon - Friends mingling

Dearest Mister Manners,

I've been dating my boyfriend for a year and two months already. In the begining of our relationship we both kept our friends realitively seperate from each other. On ocassion we would mix with our friends. Recently he has moved into a house with 4 roomates whom he grew up with. He considers them close friends, but the few times that I've interacted with them I've decided that I don't care for most of his roomates. I don't know what to do because sometimes my boyfriend gets asked by his roomates if we want to double date with them and th their girlfriends. I don't want to seem callous and cold, but I don't really want to assoiciate with them too much. What should I do? What is the proper way to behave around people you don't really care for and should I give them another chance?

Advice would greatly be appreciated.



7/4/05 09:23 am - palantiriell

Dear Mr. Manners:

I am breaking up with my boyfriend of two months. Two weeks prior to the break-up was my birthday, during which he gave me a rather expensive gift (without any romantic correlations; it was tool to a hobby we both enjoy). Am I required to give back said gift on break-up? Others have advised me to, and others say that since it wasn't an engagement or promise ring that it doesn't count. Which is your opinion?

-Sincerely, Palantiriell

12/13/04 04:03 am - badkitty1782

Dear Mister Manners,

Recently a friend and I agreed to exchange gifts. We didn't set a price and, while we don't know each other too well (mostly online, although we've hung out a couple of times), I figured that since we're both adults in our early 20s making more than minimum wage that we'd at least go for $15 or 20. I got a little eBay happy and found some good bargains on some things I thought she'd like. I figured that splurging a bit could make up for her birthday . . . plus mine is 2 weeks after Christmas so I thought that perhaps she might get me something, as she said she would come to my party (if I have one). I'm a dumbass. ANYHOO . . .

Here's the deal-- I got her Christmas present to me in the mail the other day. It was from Border's Books through Amazon.com. By the looks of it (it was wrapped), I thought it was a calendar. Nope. It was a children's book about a cat. Not a non-fiction book about cats or a young adult book about cats. One for 5-8 year-olds, I think the back of it said. It was a cute story and I liked the art work . . . but I'm still rather befuddled.



10/28/04 06:26 pm - 10021 - Are apologies to be automatically accepted?

Dear Mr. Manners,

I've recently been the victim of some unpleasantness at work. Some co-workers made false accusations behind my back, which got back to me via my manager. Apart from the sting of hurt feelings, this potentially could have been career-limiting. Fortunately for me, other co-workers were there and made sure to let my manager know the truth. I'm not certain, but there's a distinct possibility that these offenders will be directed to apologize to me.

I know that as regards my career in this company, I need to verbally accept any apology that they might proffer. However, knowing that it's not sincere, I have trouble accepting the apology it in my heart. Please give me some guidance on how to handle the situation gracefully.



9/14/04 08:44 pm - momentsmusicaux - Incessant yammering

Dear Mister Manners,

I recently travelled on the train in the UK. Now you probably don't know, but some years ago, the train company in question decided to designate a particular coach on each train a 'quiet' coach, where use of mobile phones, walkmen, and other noisy electronic devices is not allowed. This came about after many complaints about journeys ruined by people yapping on about 'being on the train' and infuriating ringtones echoing back and forth.

I happened to be booked into this coach, which I was rather pleased about. But not long into the journey, a phone rang further down the coach. Someone told the owner of it that this was the 'quiet coach', but he continued to talk. I thought that after being told, the least he could have done was to take his phone to the atrium outside the carriage to finish the conversation. The ticket inspector explained it to him when he passed and that was that. But later on, someone else's phone rang, and while the first one carried on his conversation reasonably quietly, this one was all giggles and squeals.

I was just ITCHING to get my own mobile to ring, and then yell into it 'Hello, I'm on the train, I'm in the quiet coach but I don't give a damn and I'm annoying everybody but wittering on inanely on my mobile.'

However, I'm not sure this would be the most polite thing to do, and it might not get me the desired outcome.

What do you advise?

8/26/04 12:24 pm - ialdabaoth - Dear Mr. Manners,

I often find that people around me are operating without a full understanding of their actions, and that educating them on such topics as real psychology, physics, mathematics, or even simple cause-and-effect and object permanence would both greatly enhance their personal enjoyment of their lives, and keep them from making a mess in front of me that they don't know how to clean up, and that I must clean up in order to continue with *MY* day.

Unfortunately, attempting to explain these things to people plainly and succinctly often results in unmitigated hostility, as they take any attempt at education as a demonstration of their lack of intelligence. This confuses me, since if I thought they were stupid, I wouldn't be bothering with trying to educate them.

Likewise, attempting to explain these things to people in more 'polite' ways tends to obfuscate the meaning, to the point that they either stare dumbfounded and ask me what I mean, or assume I meant something different than I did and continue to not understand the situation. My choices then are to either clarify simply (see previous paragraph), or find another 'polite' way to explain myself (see current paragraph).

What should I do?

8/25/04 05:16 pm - prolixfootle - A Most Gracious Invitation

Welcome one and all to the very civilized world of Mr. Manners, where rudeness and inconsideration are thwarted with tact, diplomacy and sterling manners.

Mr. Manners is looking forward to sharing his unique brand of sardonic advice with those less versed in the intricacies of common courtesy.

Mr. Manners doesn’t claim to be a dogged adherent to the arcane intricacies of etiquette. Rather, a more common-sense approach to civility is preferred. So, if one is having difficulties with courteousness, they should feel free to query Mr. Manners. He will gladly, and to the best of his abilities, detail a polite and tactful resolution to the quandary.

A word of warning: Mr. Manner’s will always attempt to maintain proper decorum and an unflagging air of politeness. However, he has in his repertoire numerous favored devices for dealing with those less intimately acquainted with common courtesy, as well as those with a penchant for voicing the inane. Amongst these are sarcasm, humour and acerbic wit. Please keep this in mind when considering the veracity of his advice.
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