since the topic his animals, be they pets, is Miss Manners’ advice: Don’t poke the bear.
Many pet owners feel the same way you do – often strong enough to consider, like you, doing something that would be quite rude: namely ridiculing those who disagree. The pet owners who disagree are equally passionate – with the added incentive of thinking you’re attacking not just their pug, but their firstborn as well. Surely this is enough reason to leave sleeping dogs.
Dear Ms Manners: My cousin opened a new business. He sent a massive text to thank those who supported him through the process (he never told me about it) and a link to RSVP to his grand opening.
The text also contained a link for donations, and those who donated a certain (significant) amount participated in a raffle for a gift. I congratulated him and he replied with a “thank you” and a copy and paste of his original message.
I have absolutely no intention of attending the opening or sending a “donation”. I sent him a generous wedding gift and beautiful presents for each of his children without a thank you, text or otherwise. I only receive invitations to events that generate gifts, but he has parties at his house all the time that he posts on social media.
I’m not going to respond one way or the other. If he asks, I’ll say I’m sorry I can’t be there (without further explanation).
I know his father (my brother) is going to ask me why I don’t go. I plan to tell him I don’t hear from my cousin unless it’s a money grab, I never get a thank you in return, and this is the result. I know that will get a defensive reaction, but he needs to know. Is there a nicer way to get my point across without the bitterness?
It depends on what is your point. If it’s for cousins to write thank you notes, then you can stop sending presents—and, if asked, say your impression was that your cousin had outgrown gifts for not acknowledging them.
If your point is that enticing your relations to support your business isn’t fun, you can answer by saying you’d rather keep family and business separate – and while you’re very happy with his new business, reserve your donations for social causes.
If your point is that your brother needs to know what his son is doing, Miss Manners fears you’ll have to wait to be asked because a more direct criticism of his behavior would be rude.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday at washingtonpost.com/advice. You can ask questions to Ms Manners on her website, missmanns.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.