Miss Manners: Friend and husband gave mixed messages during storm

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Dear Miss Manners: A major snowstorm was coming. My friend called me and offered to come to her house if the power went out, telling me she had an extra bedroom and a generator so her house would be heated. I thanked her.

The next day she called me to remind me of her generous offer and added that I should also bring my little dog with me. She said: “I really mean it – please don’t sit in a cold house. » I thanked her warmly for this offer.

Well, the next day the blizzard started, the phone rang and it was her husband, who never called me. He said hello, then, “I know you were invited, but don’t drive in a snowstorm” (which I wouldn’t do, anyway). He continued: “If your power goes out, just snuggle with your dog until it comes back on. Don’t leave the house to come here.

I felt bad. He called back right away and said, “It’s not that we don’t want you here; we just want you to be safe.

Your friend doesn’t need a generator. Her house must be sufficiently heated just from the exchanges with her husband. For example: “What did you say? You call her back immediately and tell her she’s welcome here! »

Whether or not this exchange was preceded by the husband’s words, “It would be crazy for her to drive in this blizzard—it’s too dangerous,” Miss Manners cannot say. She would prefer to think so and advises you to do the same. You could probably tell if you complimented your friend on her husband’s thoughtfulness, but that seems like a risky idea.

Dear Miss Manners: I am a referee. I used to only organize friendly matches, but I recently started refereeing professionally as well.

General etiquette requires that I be thanked at the end of matches for officiating. How to respond correctly to thanks? After all, I’m paid to be there and enjoy my job, so I don’t think a “You’re welcome” is appropriate. How do you advise me to respond to expressions of gratitude for simply doing my job?

We thank very much for people to do their jobs, and rightly so. But if you don’t like the conventional “You’re welcome,” suggests Miss Manners, “I appreciate you saying that.”

She has heard of much less kind treatment of referees from those who are unhappy with the outcome of the match.

Dear Miss Manners: Why do we still use Miss, Mrs and Ms? What is it really for?

Who cares if someone is married or not? I don’t want to wonder if they are married or single when I write or say their name. Why can’t we turn to a universal title like that of men? No one cares if they are married/single/widowed, etc.

Guess what? Miss/Mrs. Miss. Manners (keeping them guessing) is pleased to announce that we have a feminine courtesy title that has nothing to do with marital status: Mrs. Don’t believe anyone who disapproves of it as a 20th century invention . This dates back to at least the 17th century, when it did exactly what you’re asking. Why do people continue to resist it?

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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