DEAR MISS MANNERS: I worked for a small company until recently. During my time there, I formed many wonderful personal and professional relationships. I left for a career-advancing opportunity.
Before I left, I was invited to come back and visit. My new position allows flexibility, so I have been able to come back and see my friends and former colleagues three times in the last 18 months.
I am mindful of their time, and my visits are prearranged and short. It is my perception that these visits are welcome.
However, during my last visit, I was met with several remarks from former co-workers with whom I had not developed friendships. Their remarks (followed by nervous laughter) ranged from: “What are you doing here? You don’t work here anymore” to “Are you just here to get the latest gossip?”
What is the best way to reply to these comments? Or is there really no reason to visit my former place of employment?
GENTLE READER: “Just visiting old friends” — with the subtle, if not overt, implication that the people asking are not among them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece, a young adult attending college close by, is staying with us for the holidays since her parents live quite far away.
She is the daughter of my husband’s brother, and we have a big extended family. We have visited their home and stayed many times.
The problem is that the niece’s mom does not seem to like receiving any updates or pictures of her daughter spending fun times with my children, who are around the same age. She simply does not want to acknowledge that her daughter is staying with us, for fear of being (or appearing) obligated to us.
I am wondering if it’s rude of me to send her pictures when we take the kids out to a movie or another outing. To be clear, I am not posting these updates or pictures to social media, just sending them to her personally. She either doesn’t respond or responds very awkwardly.
I simply mean to share the cousins’ experiences, but she appears to be taking offense.
I have decided to not send her any more updates. What is your take on the appropriate thing to do?
GENTLE READER: You are inferring your sister-in-law’s intentions — that she does not want to feel obligated to you — but it seems to Miss Manners that it may just be painful to be away from her daughter. It is also possible that neither of us is right.
Nevertheless, this woman has made her distaste clear, and the best recourse is to cease sharing the pictures. If she wants to see them at a later date, she knows where to find you.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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