Standing up for your values even as you keep your job
Dear Miss Manners: My daughter and I disagree on a very touchy subject. She thinks that it is appropriate to call someone out on something that they have said that is racist or bigoted in any situation. I feel that there is about one time in 20 where it is not appropriate.
I think that if you are at a social event with coworkers and your boss says something in this manner, you should turn and walk away. She says that I am not standing up for others who are different. She thinks it’s worth losing your job over. Who is doing the correct thing in this situation?
Gentle reader: Gone, thankfully, are the days of saying “that’s just the way he is” as an excuse, or of shrugging about a boss being “old school.”
However, Miss Manners is not unsympathetic to people who need the work. But if one is willing to quit a job, it behooves that person to quit in a responsible way that gets the point across, but is also professional.
“I am afraid that we do not see eye to eye on several issues, so I think it best that I leave the company. I hope that you will make your next employee feel welcome.”
Dear Miss Manners: I sent out invitations for a small party, quite some time in advance, and received prompt RSVPs declaring that almost everyone would attend. In the week leading up to the party, almost everyone has revoked their RSVP, for various entirely plausible reasons.
Of the 15 or so who agreed to come, only three now intend to grace me with their presence. Those who are no longer attending are chums of mine of various stripes.
I am confident that I am not being shunned for any reason, and I don’t want to stir things up by holding a grudge. However, I do not know how to politely respond to suggestions that they “swing by at the end” without seeming passive-aggressive. My instinct says I should tell them not to bother, as I will feel embarrassed if they show up and find such a small crowd. But this feels rather like rescinding the invitation, which I do not want to do.
Gentle reader: Just because your guests have issued themselves new invitations does not mean that you have to honor them. Your party was for a certain time. Sadly, if they cannot make it, that is their misfortune.
Miss Manners cautions you that allowing them to show up “whenever” would be rewarding bad behavior, however wellintentioned, and virtually ensuring that it continues.
Try saying pleasantly, “Oh, I am afraid that we might not be going that late. But I am sure that we will have another party one day and will try harder to suit your schedule.”
Dear Miss Manners: I am a young woman finishing up her degree at a local community college. I must admit to being very fond of my cellphone; I read the news on it when I wake up, play games while waiting for the bus, listen to music during my ride and so on.
However, even I’m surprised by the number of people who pull out their phones in (what I believe to be) wholly inappropriate situations.
For example, I was in the locker room after my aqua yoga class, changing back into regular clothes. All of a sudden, I heard a camera shutter go off. Frightened, I pulled my towel around myself tightly and turned around to locate the noise.
As it turned out, it was simply another young woman (fully clothed, thankfully) taking a selfie in the large locker room mirror. After getting my wits about me, I managed a pointed “Do you mind?” — which she seemed baffled by.
Leaving alone my fear at the sound that someone was specifically taking pictures of women in the locker room, Miss Manners, what if she had gotten me in the background of her shot? What if she had not cropped it out? I would be horrified that such a picture of me existed.
Was I wrong to call her out? Was there something else I should have said? And finally, could I please implore other Gentle Readers not to take photos (or do other public business, such as phone or video calls) in such a private environment?
Gentle reader: If common sense is not prevailing, you might ask the establishment to post a sign: “No cameras in the locker room — without a warrant.” Miss Manners sees nothing wrong with your quite understandable reaction.
To send a question to the Miss Manners team of Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin, go to missmanners .com or write them c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.