Con­flicted friend’s news sets a trap

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Go!sunday - Ju­dith Martin Send ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, miss­man­ or email her at dearmiss­man­ners

Dear Miss Man­ners: My best friend re­cently texted me that she was go­ing to buy a preg­nancy test. I saw her later that evening, where she told me, “I’m not very ex­cited, but I’m preg­nant.”

Since she did not tell me this even with a smile, I didn’t know how she wanted me to re­act. I told her she should start pre­par­ing for the baby and tell her hus­band, who would be ex­cited.

A few days later, she sent me a mes­sage say­ing that I had said in­sen­si­tive things and hurt her feel­ings be­cause I wasn’t ex­cited about her be­ing preg­nant. I apol­o­gized and told her that was not my in­ten­tion, but also ex­plained that I wasn’t sure I was sup­posed to be ex­cited. Is there a way I could have known that she ex­pected me to be ex­cited about her news?

Gen­tle Reader: This was a trap. Your con­flicted friend wanted you to have the feel­ings that she did not yet have the pres­ence of mind to muster.

Dear Miss Man­ners: I used to be close with a girl­friend of mine. We did a lot of things to­gether. She ended up get­ting a job that takes up a lot of her time, so we grew apart. We kept in touch now and then on so­cial me­dia. She got a boyfriend some­where in that time and never told me. All I saw was a text that said, “I got en­gaged.”

I didn’t know she was dat­ing, let alone get­ting mar­ried. She in­vited me to the wed­ding, but if I haven’t seen her in over two years, I prob­a­bly won’t see her ever again. I want to send a card. I don’t want to be cheap, but I don’t want to give money. Is giv­ing a card with­out money mean?

Gen­tle Reader: Miss Man­ners will never tire of as­sert­ing that money is not a po­lite wed­ding present — and presents are not re­quired if you do not at­tend the wed­ding.

But she is fur­ther baf­fled by your anger at your friend’s at­tempt to ac­knowl­edge your past re­la­tion­ship by invit­ing you to her wed­ding — in­ter­pret­ing it in­stead as ex­tor­tion. She hopes that at the very least, your re­sponse will in­clude your best wishes, ac­knowl­edg­ment of your past close­ness and re­grets for not be­ing able to at­tend.

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