Dear Miss Manners: I have a neighbor across the hall who has some problems but is a lovely lady. I’m trying to figure out what this condition is called so that I can be as helpful as possible.
She always prices everything: “I spent $50 on these pizzas and wings; This plate costs $15; I used $5 gas to get to you; I donated $35 worth of food to the food pantry.
We’ve always chipped in without prompting, so these statements are not meant to pay us for our fair share of something. It’s clear he has a money problem, but we’re unsure what it means for him to add a dollar amount to every aspect of life.
Gentle Reader: It used to be called materialism, but Miss Manners holds that the condition is so contagious it can no longer be differentiated. Fortunately, if the information is of no importance to this woman, there is no reason for you to take any notice.
Dear Miss Manners: I have been married for almost 20 years to a wonderful man from a large and close family. They are nice people, but they run with misinformation, and they enjoy having political “discussions” among themselves.
This is not my cup of tea. In addition, he has started participating in these debates over a group lesson that includes all family members. This has been going on for about six years.
I put my phone on silent because notifications bother me. I’ve turned them off on all apps that I can. But I can’t turn off all text notifications because other people need to reach me the same way.
How can I politely disassociate myself and indicate that I do not want to be involved? While I can silence my phone, alerts still make it to my watch, and the constant buzz of new notifications for messages I really don’t want to see my teeth set over the edge. I’ve tried muting the group chat, but I haven’t been able to do so. I fall short of telling my husband to stop including me.
They are lovely people and I don’t want to hurt their sentiments. Can you give any suggestion?
Gentle Reader: It would surprise Miss Manners if technology hadn’t already solved your specific problem before you opened your letter. But since this undoubtedly went on to create a new, but similar problem while she was reading the letter, a courtesy solution is necessary.
It is rude to demand another person’s immediate attention, absent in very specific circumstances, many of which involve physical harm. But calling the offender rude is not the answer.
Miss Manners mentions this to build your courage to the real solution: politely ask your relatives to remove you from the list, because that’s just not your cup of tea. If they ignore such requests, ask your husband to intervene—they are, you can remind them in a warning tone, their side of the family.
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.