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Is it rude to call someone rude to their face?

Is it rude to call someone rude to their face?

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Dear Miss Manners • My niece (23 years old) regularly texts during movies. When I was at a movie with her and my partner, I asked her not to text during the movie because it would upset my partner. She said OK and did not text.

My niece later told us that her boyfriend suspected her of cheating on him because she said she was at the movie with her “aunt” but wasn’t texting.

In having this discussion, my partner said texting in a theater is rude, period, and went on about it. In my opinion, it is rude to call someone rude to their face. Do you think my partner was rude by calling my niece rude?

Gentle Reader • Yes, and doubly so because your niece did not, at your request, text during the movie you attended together. Miss Manners notes that you, your partner, your niece and your niece’s boyfriend are all in agreement that there are some activities that should not be interrupted by texting. We are simply disagreeing over what those are.

Dear Miss Manners • I have friends who got engaged about a month ago. They refer to each other as fiancee and fiance, even though I clearly know they are engaged. They don’t use their names even to close friends since their engagement.

I would understand if they were a young couple or on first marriages, but this is her third and his second, and they are in their 50s. It’s just kind of annoying. I am happy for them, but I am wondering if this is a common or accepted practice.

Gentle ReaderAs you are already happy for your friends, what would you have them do to make you even happier? Refrain from reveling in their new tie, on the grounds that they are too old or maritally experienced?

Of course, there is reveling and reveling. It would be understandable to be annoyed by a couple who behaved in your presence as if they were alone. But to object to their use of the correct formal terms strikes Miss Manners as churlish.

Dear Miss Manners • A close friend died unexpectedly, and my daughter notified me via text. I was upset at the news and with the way it was delivered. I told my her this, but she said that is how her generation does things.

Gentle Reader • It may be, but your concern is with what your daughter should have done, not with what her contemporaries are doing.

News of the death of someone dear to you should not be delivered casually, which is more easily accomplished in some technologies than in others. Assuming that your daughter knew you could be reached more quickly through a text — and that you would want to hear the news as soon as possible — Miss Manners would still have advised her to text you that she has urgent news, asking you to call.

Send questions to Miss Manners, aka Judith Martin, on her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, Mo. 64106. Miss Manners’ son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin, contribute to this column.

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