Author Topic: Miss Manners is right!  (Read 7378 times)

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RooRoo

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Miss Manners is right!
« on: July 27, 2013, 12:40:03 AM »
Make sure to read MM’s answer to the first letter. Note the tone of voice MM recommends using.

I could not get the URL to become a link, because of the R-word, so you'll have to cut and paste.

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/relationships-and-special-occasions/columns/miss-manners/soon-to-be-empty-nester-can-rely-on-her-friends/article_236786bb-01fb-519e-9d3e-e6147716b5c3.html

Failing to be warm and friendly when we use a polite phrase does not make us rude!
 :D
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 12:44:19 AM by RooRoo »
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

Bellantara

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2013, 01:04:32 AM »
Fixed link: http://tinyurl.com/lgxo9ld  Well done!

artk2002

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2013, 01:38:15 PM »
Good catch!

By implication, this addresses the myth that the purpose of etiquette is to make the other person comfortable. Miss Manners and other old-school mavens are well aware that that isn't the purpose of etiquette. Her cold "Fortunately, I have friends" is very deliberately intended to make the other person uncomfortable. Her "How kind of you to take an interest" in a very bored voice is another one.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

EllenS

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 08:51:31 PM »
An excellent example of letting people wallow in their own foolishness, without descending to rudeness yourself.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 10:09:26 PM »
Good catch!

By implication, this addresses the myth that the purpose of etiquette is to make the other person comfortable. Miss Manners and other old-school mavens are well aware that that isn't the purpose of etiquette. Her cold "Fortunately, I have friends" is very deliberately intended to make the other person uncomfortable. Her "How kind of you to take an interest" in a very bored voice is another one.

Because the implication is, "and you aren't one of them." (Hence the use of the third-person point of view.)

gellchom

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 12:30:59 PM »
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

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 08:50:59 PM »
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."
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.
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

gollymolly2

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Re: Miss Manners is right!
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 10:16:42 PM »
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.