DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have been friends with a couple for over 20 years. Our son grew up with theirs – from elementary to high school, extracurricular sports, etc.
Their son is getting married outside the city. It is passable for us, but it would mean a flight and a hotel for our son and his wife.
Our friends have just informed us that although we are invited, our son and his wife are not “because of the cost”.
Our son will be hurt to know that we who are able to give a generous gift are invited, but he and his scratching wife (he is in school and she is teaching) are not. They would have spent their “gift” money on expenses to attend the wedding – if they had been invited.
Are we irrelevant to think that these are just nuts? The groom would surely prefer to have his boyfriend (my son) at the wedding rather than us. We thought it was weird.
Are we asking his parents to exclude us from the festivities and instead invite our son and his wife?
SOFT READER: As a society we have a disturbing tendency to use money as a punctuation mark in social situations: “So-and-so has been rude to me – and it’s worse because I paid a lot of money for it. gift “.
Miss Manners finds this disheartening. But if we’re going to talk about money, let’s at least be clear. You say the host excluded your son “because of the cost”. It’s a crass, awkward – and far too common – way of explaining why someone hasn’t been invited. You think the motive was even cruder: that potential guests were rated on their ability to pay (in the form of wedding gifts).
Whether you’re right or not doesn’t matter for etiquette – although Miss Manners might wonder why you consider people you think so little about as friends.
Still, negotiating someone else’s guest list is clearly rude.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Tell me, Miss Manners: what do you think of guests who tell you they are on a special diet?
I invited two people to dinner who told me they are on a keto diet for weight loss. It’s quite restrictive. They are not diabetic and have no other health problems.
I will absolutely fulfill their wishes. But is it polite for them to tell me what I can / cannot serve? In my eyes, they are not overweight.
I’ve been on a diet myself, but when I was invited to dinner at someone’s house, I just put the diet aside and came back to it the next day. I don’t want to dictate to my hosts.
SOFT READER: People who are looking to lose weight should be grateful for a meal in which they can eat some of the dishes, but not all. And probably, Miss Manners would think, so you don’t speculate on whether or not you need to diet.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What should I do when an elderly relative says she wants to give me a birthday present and, when I thank her for her generosity, goes on to ask me to order something online myself and tell her How much does it cost ? (This parent is not homebound and knows how to use the Internet.)
SOFT READER: Apologize for not having done it yet, every time you are reminded.
Please direct questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to his e-mail, [email protected]; or by regular mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.