Dear Miss Manners: I was raised to send thank you letters out of politeness. As an adult, I realized that it felt good to thank people with letters or cards out of sincere gratitude.
I was invited to join my boyfriend for a very generous group vacation where our accommodations were fully paid for by his close friends (a couple). The vacation lasted a week, and although I enjoyed myself and enjoyed the company of the group very much, I sometimes felt uncomfortable and a bit embarrassing for the hosts and other guests, who were all very close friends.
However, I wanted to thank the hosts and I expressed to my boyfriend the idea of buying a map and a small souvenir of the region to send by post to their home later. He made fun of me and, in general, seems to think that it is strange and useless that I go so far to send thank you cards.
I feel embarrassed by what I have to do. I think the hosts were quite indifferent that I was there in the first place, and my boyfriend seems to think that formal thanks were not necessary.
I still bought the card and a small souvenir (even if I also fear that it is not their taste), and I decided to think of sending it later – but now it’s “later” , and I still don’t know what to do. Do you have any thoughts?
What if you want to feel forever in its place with these people, just be the strange complement that takes advantage of a connection to accept generous hospitality, then disappears in silence until the next opportunity presents itself.
That your boyfriend thinks gratitude is unimportant is a bad sign. Maybe he thinks the group is so close to the hosts that they can take their generosity for granted. Miss Manners assures you that it will not do well. There always comes a time when the most affable host begins to ruminate that we take advantage.
Dear Miss Manners: I am baffled as to why, when dining with a friend or group, it is often expressed as bad manners to ask for separate checks. If I had to make an analogy: when I go shopping with two friends, the cashier never asks if we want separate receipts. It is understood that each person will pay for their own items and will have their own receipt.
Why are expectations different in restaurants? When we eat out, no matter who we are with or the size of the party, I always ask in advance if we can have separate controls. I say it quickly, before orders are taken, and always with a smile. I only remember once or twice in the past decade when staff have not just complied.
You are not the only person who is confused. A restaurant may choose not to allow this, but it is only for its own convenience. Miss Manners hopes that such objections do not come from your colleagues, as there is nothing rude about it.
New Miss Manners columns are published Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com.