Dear Miss Manners: My husband’s parents visited us recently from out of state. About two weeks after they departed, I received a terse note from my husband’s grandmother, in which she expressed concern for my relationship with my mother-in-law because I had not written to thank them for visiting.
I felt a bit hurt because we have a new baby, and it was a real effort to clean, shop and cook for their visit. My mother-in-law spent some time playing with the baby, but she did not pitch in with any chores.
Am I truly remiss in not writing to thank them for enjoying our hospitality?
Gentle Reader: That your mother-in-law did not “pitch in” does not, at first glance, relate directly to your question – except to indicate that you are attempting to defend yourself by making a countercharge of in-law rudeness.
Nice as it might have been for your mother-in-law to help, they were your guests and cannot therefore properly be criticized on this point. She suggests writing to your grandmother-in-law that it was always your understanding that the guest thanked the host, not the other way around – but that you are not expecting a letter from your mother–in-law.
It would be a favor
Dear Miss Manners: We have a “couple” in our neighborhood who have decided they do not want to associate with the rest of the neighborhood when it comes to BBQs, parties, etc. Over the past year they have turned down multiple invitations.
At the last event, another neighbor approached them to let them know we were having a party with a band. They kindly went out for the evening.
There was some sort of incident that happened over a year ago that triggered this. I was not present, so I don’t know all the details, but it appeared to be petty.
After a year of inviting them, over and over, is it OK to finally say enough is enough and stop leaving an invitation at their door?
Gentle Reader: Although Miss Manners has not heard directly from the “couple” you name, she has no trouble imagining what their question to her would be, namely, “How do we politely avoid endless, unwanted invitations from our neighbors?”
It seems to her that as they probably picked up on your considering them a “couple” in quotations marks, they are behaving very well.
Her advice to you is to stop. Not only will they not be offended if you stop issuing invitations, it is their most fervent wish.
This column was co-written by Judith Martin’s son, Nicholas Ivor Martin.