Miss Manners: They ask, I say no. All of a sudden, they’re ‘simply joking.’


Pricey Miss Manners: Typically folks will ask me for one thing, after which as quickly as they hear the start of a solution that they didn’t need, they interrupt and rapidly insist that they have been “simply joking.”

Take the co-worker who wished me to work a shift for them (once more), or the irresponsible member of the family who wished to borrow more cash. On the few events that I did comply with cowl a shift at work or assist a member of the family, the requests have been by no means jokes.

What’s the easiest way to inform somebody “no” when we have to, and ask them to drop the “simply joking” ruse?

Why? The ruse permits them to save lots of face and so that you can snort it off moderately than having to say no — or truly give them what they need.

Sorry, however Miss Manners finds it to be a superb cowl and handy answer for you. Second solely to not being requested in any respect.

Pricey Miss Manners: I’ve graduated from college and began my first full-time, everlasting job. I’ve by no means been happier. I’ve pals, pretty co-workers, and I really get pleasure from my discipline. Additionally, after 27 years on this Earth, I’m lastly financially unbiased and freed from my dad and mom.

I do not need to bore you with the small print, however suffice it to say that they have been extraordinarily controlling. They supported me financially, for which I’m extraordinarily grateful, however they made it clear that their assist hinged on my absolute obedience. A part of my obedience was hiding the truth that I’m a lesbian, as a result of they’re very homophobic.

I want to put all of this prior to now, and I’ve made some nice steps! I’ve come out to everybody else in my life and established boundaries with my dad and mom.

The difficulty I am having now’s that my co-workers appear to seek out “How do you get on along with your of us?” to be an acceptable getting-to-know-you query. I like these folks and I assume they’re attempting to be pleasant, however I don’t know what the suitable response is.

Whether or not it’s a peer or a boss, I discover myself floundering for a solution that doesn’t make me appear ungrateful to my dad and mom or impolite to the asker. Is it acceptable to only say that it’s private? Ought to I lie and say we get alongside properly?

“They’re doing fairly properly, thanks.”

Sure, Miss Manners realizes that this doesn’t strictly reply the query. However inquiring into the specifics of familial dynamics is impudent and prying — and a line of questioning that most individuals can be glad to keep away from answering themselves.

Pricey Miss Manners: I really feel very lucky to have the ability to retire early. When folks study of my upcoming retirement, I’m usually requested, “What’s going to you do?”

I do know it’s a standard query, however I don’t suppose older folks can be requested this query with the identical subtext, which appears to point I have to do SOMETHING.

I do have journey, hobbies and volunteer actions to pursue, however I don’t plan to work once more. What’s a well mannered response to “What’s going to you do?” that doesn’t justify how I’ll spend my time?

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday by Saturday on You may ship inquiries to Miss Manners at her web site, You can too observe her @RealMissManners.

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