Etiquette School is in session! > "So kind of you to take an interest."

Miss Manners is right!

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gellchom:
I do think that deliberately making others feel uncomfortable is rude.  It is certainly understandable when the person was rude, especially deliberately rude, first, and sometimes even justifiable when the provocation was realy extreme -- like a bigoted slur.  And notice that Miss Manners did say that saying "Thank you for reminding me" would be rude. 

This is certainly a thoughtless thing to say.  But it's far from certain that anyone saying it means to hurt the OP; they are probably just lamely trying to be sympathetic.  That's not so easy, especially when it's not an experience you've had yourself yet; look how many posters ask what to say to someone bereaved.  I don't think it really deserves an icy rejoinder, although I certainly understand the impulse.

We've all been in both positions, I think -- saying the wrong thing when we mean well, and hearing stupid, even painful comments from people who just don't know enough to keep it to a simple "I'm sorry."  You wouldn't believe the things I heard when I had a miscarriage and when my father had (and died from) Alzheimer's.  Well, yes, you would, if you've been in a comparable situation.  It took a lot of self-control not to react. 

But what would it have accomplished?  I knew they all loved me and were just trying -- and failing -- to say something comforting.  Smacking someone down for a blunder doesn't help anything.  I think people learn better when someone takes them aside privately and explains why what they said is actually hurtful and suggests something better, or, if an in-the-moment response is called for, says something like, "I know you mean well, but that's actually not very helpful.  But thank you for your sympathy."

RooRoo:

--- Quote ---I think people learn better when someone takes them aside privately and explains why what they said is actually hurtful and suggests something better, or, if an in-the-moment response is called for, says something like, "I know you mean well, but that's actually not very helpful.  But thank you for your sympathy."
--- End quote ---
Gellchom, that method works quite well - on you and me and other reasonable people. It doesn't work at all on the gloaters, the insensitive, and the other types who typically respond to hurt with, "What's the matter? Can't you take a joke?"  >:(

What kind of person says “Pretty soon you’ll be all alone” to someone whose husband recently died? I'm sure you wouldn't (because I know you're kind; your posts show it), and I know I wouldn't. You and I would listen to her compassionately, and resolve to call often after the youngest child leaves. We wouldn't be thumbing our noses at her loneliness.

gollymolly2:
I disagree. I think most people do hurtful things out of thoughtlessness, not meanness. Delivering a line like "so kind of you to take an interest" in a pleasant tone will usually be effective in either (1) moving the conversation along to a new subject, or (2) making the thoughtless person realize what they said. In most cases, you can handle situations perfectly effectively by being pleasant. So icy rejoinders or thousand yard stares or similar etiquette weapons are usually unnecessary and just serve to make the user feel superior, in my opinion.

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