The Washington Post

What to do when a fellow diner is rude to a server? Don’t take it sitting down.

- Miss Manners JUDITH MARTIN, JACOBINA MARTIN AND NICHOLAS IVOR MARTIN New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washington­ You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanner­ You can also follow her

Dear Miss Manners: I know that it is not okay to be rude to someone who is rude to you. But what do you do when you observe rudeness done to another person? I was at a restaurant with three family members. The waiter came by to refill our water glasses but skipped one of them. That relative said, in a loud, sarcastic voice, “Whaddaya think?” The waiter then said, “Oh, I’m sorry — I didn’t realize that was water because of all the lemons in the glass.” He then filled the glass.

The remaining members of our table were embarrasse­d by this diner’s behavior and felt bad for the waiter. What can be done in such a situation?

The problem is worse than you think. Being a member of the table both associates you with your relative’s misdeed and amplifies your duty to see that the waiter is not mistreated (because he is, for the moment, working for you).

Miss Manners reminds you that neither of these empowers you to correct another person’s manners, so you will not be able to take this sitting down. Excuse yourself from the table, find the waiter and apologize for your relative’s misbehavio­r.

Dear Miss Manners: My wife and I got married almost four years ago. We are a lesbian couple, and all of our close friends and family attended our wedding. We have different last names, but we believe we are just like any other marital couple, except we are Mrs. and Mrs.!

We recently received an invitation to a party, and the einvite allowed you to see the other couples who were attending. I noticed that a male same-sex couple was given a single invite, but my wife and I received separate ones. I was angry. I felt my marriage was being dismissed. It hurt, as a gay woman who has always felt different and like an outcast.

My wife is going to the party, as she does not want to give this any energy it does not deserve. I am not hurt by her going. The hostess attended our wedding, so my wife is giving her the benefit of the doubt. Am I making too much of this? I just need an objective perspectiv­e. I only want the same inclusion as everyone else.

An objective perspectiv­e would say that one need not look far to find people being treated shabbily for being different — but that what happened here was more likely a mistake than an insult.

Miss Manners agrees that one invitation could have been addressed to you both; perhaps it was the different last names that threw the hostess off. But you are close enough with this woman to have invited her to your wedding — which she attended — and she correctly addressed her invitation to another gay couple, albeit male.

Do you believe, despite all of this, that she does not consider your marriage legitimate — and intended to say so by the way she extended her invitation? Either way, directing anger at someone without being certain of their motives does not strike Miss Manners as fair treatment — which you claim to be seeking.

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