Miss Manners: Neighbor’s Remake Leads to Awkward Moment

Miss Manners: Neighbor’s Remake Leads to Awkward Moment

Dear Miss Manners: I have a neighbor, “Mr. Griffin”, who is an artist. He gave one of his paintings to his next door neighbor. Several months later, Mr. Griffin gave me one of his paintings, which I hung in my family living room.

One day, Mr. Griffin’s lady neighbor stopped by to visit me and saw the painting on my wall. Imagine my shock when she told me it was the same painting Mr. Griffin had given her before! He asked for it, then obviously gave it to me. It was very upsetting for me and uncomfortable for her. We both tried to laugh it off, but it was very awkward. How should I have handled this situation?

You managed the current situation as best we can. The real question is: what do you intend to do when Mr. Griffin asks you to collect the painting so he can give it to the neighbor across the street? Miss Manners is tempted to suggest you prepare a card to hang on the wall saying “Currently on Loan to the Biddles”, but she suspects it will be easier to keep the peace by returning it when the time comes.

Dear Miss Manners: We love to host and are lucky to have a large guest space in our home. At the same time, some of our “regulars” can be difficult, and I would like your advice on how I can be compassionate and accommodating while maintaining my sanity.

These particular visitors engage in what seem like ongoing monologues of consciousness. Topics range from what shoes they plan to wear to what they’ll do next (“I think I’ll take a shower,” for example) to repeated questions about outings or events that have already been explained in detail ( in addition to printed documents). directions left on bedside tables) to anything that catches their attention (“Have I told you about the person you’ve never met and their dog/kid/job/house?”).

Not only is incessant chatter incredibly overstimulating – we also have pets and children who demand our attention – but it also tends to be one-sided rather than real conversation. I try to be understanding; these friends live alone, are retired, and are probably eager for companionship and connection with us. But I find I dread their visits, which usually last more than 5 days, and I’m relieved when they leave.

I guess you could suggest a direct conversation, but it would be helpful to have some advice on how to initiate it and what to say. All parties are very sensitive and are likely to be hurt or offended, which is why I want to approach this issue as thoughtfully as possible.

We could expect Miss Manners asks what you like about guests who don’t know how to stop talking or when to leave, but not all friends (or relatives?) can be great conversationalists, and modern technology unfortunately trains other skills .

The best investment you can make would be to plan situations during visits that encourage good conversation – for example, sit-down meals with guests brought together by interest and ability to carry on good conversation. And housework to do during monologues.

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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