Dear Miss Manners • I am a 63-year-old woman, and I met a friend (another 63-year-old woman) through a Bible study group four years ago. A week ago, we went to a movie theater. She brought out snacks and a drink for herself, and proceeded to eat and drink in front of me.
I would have never done that; I would have brought her a drink and snacks. I had picked her up and driven to the theater. When we went to the beach last summer, I stopped and bought her a sandwich and snacks, as she was driving.
Pre-pandemic, she and her husband and daughter would go away for vacations— sometimes one week, sometimes two weeks. I would feed her cat twice a day and water the yard. She offered me $20/day and I declined, saying that friends do not take money from friends. I never was paid for taking care of her cat and yard, but one time she took me out to lunch as a thank-you, and one time she gave me a pair of gardening gloves.
When her father-in-law passed away less than a year ago, I brought over a pie. I had never met her father-in-law, and only have met her husband a few times.
So, with this long explanation above, my question is: What do you think of my “friend” bringing her own snack to a movie theater and eating in front of me? Am I making much ado about nothing?
Gentle Reader • Having established that you are the better and more selfless friend, you might want to consider also being the more tolerant friend. As such, you might consider other possibilities for the transgression — ones that do not end with the intentional mistreatment of you.
Perhaps your friend was not sharing because she was being mindful of the risk of spreading disease. Or she knew she was violating movie theater rules by bringing in outside food, and did not wish to incriminate you. Or she somehow misinterpreted your rule about not taking money from friends and thought that it extended to her hummus platter and lemonade.
Or she was just being rude. But giving a friend the benefit of the doubt is essential in a close relationship such as yours. As is not holding on to resentment. Miss Manners humbly suggests that you let yours go. How was the movie?
Dear Miss Manners • If someone throws a party in your honor, and it is not a surprise, should you arrive before the guests to greet them, or should you arrive after the guests as the guest of honor?
Gentle Reader • If the event is not a surprise, then you are considered a de facto host. Coming late, in Miss Manners’ opinion, will only shorten the time you have with your guests — and cause them to think that you are either a diva or that they need to quickly hide and attempt to scare the pants off of you.
Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, 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.