Miss Manners: Aspiring-influencer friend is plagiarizing my posts


Dear Miss Manners: I am not an influencer. I use one social media platform to post about current events and humorous experiences, using it as a way to stay connected with far-flung friends and family.

An acquaintance aspires to be not just an influencer, but a thought leader. Indeed, she employs consultants who assist her in her multiplatform strategies. I wish her well, except when she plagiarizes something I’ve written. She makes minor changes, but when she uses my material, her posts have a voice distinctly different from her usual commentary.

Obviously, many people can have the same idea for a punchline about the news of the day, but this is wholesale appropriation.

Politely (and privately) call her bluff. “Funny how we keep posting the same joke. Maybe we should brainstorm and collaborate. What were you thinking of saying about the latest events in Myanmar?”

Dear Miss Manners: I have profound hearing loss, the result of a childhood illness some 50 years ago. I worked hard at learning to lip-read and also have had speech therapy, and now most people can’t detect a difference between my speech and that of hearing-able people.

As a small-business owner, I frequently meet new people, and I’m upfront about the hearing loss — explaining the situation and asking that they look at me while talking.

Occasionally, someone will say, “You don’t sound deaf.” I admit that I find this rude, and it makes me feel defensive. I’d love to say something snarky in response, but fear it would reflect poorly on my business. I usually respond that I’ve had speech therapy and change the subject.

Do I continue to grin and bear it, or can you suggest a reply that will let them know that the comment is out of line without being mean?

“What? I’m not sure what ‘sounding deaf’ sounds like” — followed by a quizzical look.

Presumably this will be enough to shame these rude people to silence. But if it does not, Miss Manners trusts that you will cut them off before they attempt to offensively demonstrate.

Dear Miss Manners: My son is marrying a lovely woman raised in a different religion from ours. Our family’s religion considers tattoos to be taboo.

How can I gently suggest to my son’s fiancee that she consider a gown where her large back tattoo will not be visible? I’m afraid all the guests of our religion will be focused on the tattoo and not the bride.

Am I being old-fashioned? My son and his fiancee are in their late 30s, so I’m unsure if it’s appropriate for me to voice my concerns. How should I proceed?

Are you going to suggest that she stay away from summer outings, too? Because she is likely to want to enjoy them with her new family — and that will no doubt require clothing that does not cover her back.

Miss Manners suggests you steer clear of this issue, as this couple is indeed grown up and can likely handle the attention. If you would like to be helpful, perhaps you can remind your family that the bride does not have the same tattoo restrictions in her religion.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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