Coun­ter­ing ‘I’m jeal­ous!’ state­ments

The Mercury News - - Books+authors - Ju­dith Martin, Ni­cholas Ivor Martin and Ja­cobina Martin www.miss­man­


I have an ac­quain­tance whose re­sponse to other peo­ple’s good news is al­most al­ways a fer­vent, and loud, “I’m so jeal­ous!” This might be in re­sponse to forth­com­ing va­ca­tion plans, a de­li­cious din­ner out or a restora­tive nap. I’m sure that she doesn’t re­al­ize how un­pleas­ant it is to be told that my en­joy­ment has caused her emo­tional dis­tress. I’ve taken to avoid­ing con­ver­sa­tions with her be­cause I am not sure how to re­spond to this state­ment, and would rather not avoid all men­tion of any as­pect of my life that might serve to in­spire it.

I have of­ten thought of an­swer­ing her “I’m so jeal­ous!” ex­cla­ma­tion with a light-hearted “Oh, dear, I had hoped you might be happy for me! I am so sorry to have caused you dis­tress!” but am not sure if this would be con­sid­ered ap­pro­pri­ate, or ex­actly which fa­cial ex­pres­sion would best con­vey my mean­ing. I worry that oth­ers are also put off by what seems to be a ha­bit­ual re­sponse and is, no doubt, meant to charm, not dis­may.


Miss Man­ners finds your re­sponse to be perfect. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing fa­cial ex­pres­sion (eye­brows to­gether, mouth turned down) should demon­strate that is equal parts hurt and con­fu­sion. With any luck, that will be the last time that you will have to in­dulge her.


Am I cor­rect that food, once on my plate, re­mains my food even if moved to the re­frig­er­a­tor as left­overs?

My hus­band thinks that any­thing he finds in the re­frig­er­a­tor is fair game. Is this the ac­cepted cus­tom for left­overs? Should I buy a mini fridge to keep in my closet?


Would it not be less ex­pen­sive just to ap­peal to your hus­band and ask him not to eat it? Miss Man­ners hopes that you will not re­sort to the of­fice break room prac­tice of la­bel­ing your food, when a short con­ver­sa­tion af­ter your meal seems so much eas­ier. And would set a far bet­ter prece­dent for mar­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

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