Dear Miss Manners • My girlfriend has done a lot for my family and me, but my family shows little enthusiasm for her. How can I get them to appreciate her more and to reciprocate what she has done? I live in fear of them attacking her or being cynical about romance itself.
She has helped me get a job, gotten me a raise, written letters to my family, gotten me a huge discount on rent, given my family free food, etc.
Gentle Reader • Your girlfriend seems to have an inordinate amount of influence over your career and financial status.
Miss Manners is further struggling to see how many of these attributes could be reciprocated by your family, or how you made the leap to the possibility of them attacking her.
Is it possible that your family is (perhaps unfairly) reacting negatively based on past patterns, relationships or behavior? A solution might be this: “Kelsey is really trying to get to know you, and she is important to me. Please treat her kindly. I would like her to be around for a while.”
The subtle implication — that the family might be responsible for the fact that previous partners are no longer in the picture — will likely not be lost on them. Perhaps it will shame them into more gracious behavior.
Dear Miss Manners • About a year ago, we received a “save the date” from a couple identified only as “Max and Jenny,” with their photo and the date of their planned wedding. Neither my wife nor I recognized the names or the photograph.
We put the date on our calendar, expecting to hear more later. Now we have received another notification, postponing the date for another year, presumably because of COVID. This card also had only their first names and photos, and we still did not recognize them.
It did have a return address, which we did not recognize, either. Should we contact the couple via mail to ask who they are? We are wondering for whom we should be saving this date.
Gentle Reader • No doubt these are the children of work acquaintances, or of high school friends. Miss Manners can only suggest that you look up the address for more clues (or at least a last name), decline the invitation or resign yourselves to blindly attending a mystery event.
Wedding couples should take the note: If you are going to expand your guest list to people with whom you are not in regular contact, at least provide some helpful and telling leads.
Dear Miss Manners • I am cursed with terrible handwriting. Sometimes even I can’t read what I have written. When I try to write legibly, my writing looks like that of a 5-year-old.
Which brings me to thank-you notes. If I hand-write them, they are illegible or ridiculous-looking. Is it acceptable to write my thank-you notes on the computer? It makes more sense, but feels wrong, though I don’t really know why. Well, I sort of do: because it seems impersonal. But is that reason enough to have to send bad handwritten notes?
Gentle Reader • Or, as Miss Manners helpfully suggests, you could simply take efforts to make your handwriting less bad. You do not get an etiquette pass for an issue that is, at least partially, in your control.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.