Miss Manners: Can boss break bad news to other departments I work for?


Dear Miss Manners: I finish my projects rather quickly, so my boss occasionally “lends” me to other departments for short assignments when they have a project that requires extra hands or someone is going on medical leave. I joke that I am Spackle: They just push me around until I fill in the cracks and hold everything together.

However, when my department has an urgent project, I am pulled back in. Should my supervisor be the one to inform the other department that I am being removed from their roster, or does that task fall to me? My boss admitted to never having thought of it before.

Breaking bad news is your boss’s job, but Miss Manners sees it as another way in which you might be happy to help.

The department head whose extra pair of hands disappears without explanation will be indiscriminately angry. But the department head you apologize to when you explain that you have been recalled will think, “Wow. This person is happy to help out in a pinch. They accept responsibility. They deliver bad news gracefully. Perhaps they should come work for me full-time — at a better salary.”

Dear Miss Manners: Do I socially introduce a distant family member who is a U.S. general by using the title “general?”

At formal events, in professional settings and while reviewing the troops, yes. At Thanksgiving, “Edith’s cousin Clyde” will do.

Dear Miss Manners: Shortly after I suffered a leg injury, I was invited to a friend’s house party. The party was pleasant, but exhausting in my injured condition.

After a few hours of socializing, I was ready to leave. I apologized to the host for leaving so early and said my goodbyes.

To my dismay, I left the house to find that my car was trapped behind two rows of cars, and there was no valet to move them out of the way. I was forced to return to the party and wait about an hour for one guest to leave, and ask another to switch parking spots with me. Is there something you’d recommend I do if this happens in the future?

There is indeed: Ask your friend to sort it out in the moment. That is one of the many duties of a host. Miss Manners would be surprised, and concerned, if your friend is not horrified to learn that you unwillingly spent an hour at the party, exhausted and in pain.

Dear Miss Manners: I have received an email from a friend inquiring if I have received a notice from a charity regarding a donation in memory of my father. I have not. How do I respond? Thank him? Contact the charity?

You are under no obligation to chase the charity, Miss Manners assures you.

You will, however, have to express provisional gratitude when you answer that the gift has not, so far as you know, been received.

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.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button