By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin
ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am about to graduate from university. During my studies, I held several jobs at the same time, volunteered, participated in extracurricular activities, carried out research and in the end, I will graduate within the time frame for my degree.
It was difficult and stressful, and I never had the same social experience as most of my peers, but it paid off. I had a great job lined up for months in my desired field in a place I couldn’t be happier.
I try not to flaunt it, but it comes up in normal conversation with classmates, friends, and family, especially when discussing post-graduation plans.
I often hear things like, “Your resume is going to be great, I can only put silly stuff on mine” or “I haven’t been nearly as successful as you.” I wish I could do it again.
They are good people who should not put themselves down. I believe a compliment should always be graciously accepted, but in cases like these, I’m at a loss. How can I respond without implying that I agree with their derogatory comments about themselves?
NICE READER: Such compliments are common, perhaps because the giver doesn’t realize how unpleasant comparisons are. However, Miss Manners does not find them difficult to answer: “Thank you; I’m sure your CV is impressive.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A scenario recently surfaced in a conversation where one spouse comes home from work and the other is talking on the phone. Would it be considered rude for the person talking on the phone to continue their conversation?
NICE READER: It would be rude if that person didn’t. That said, Miss Manners has no objection to using it as an excuse to wrap up the call with the friend calling to tell you all the details of her recent doctor’s appointment or trip to the cleaners in dry.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother and I each received a Wi-Fi photo frame from my sister-in-law. She knows we have a new grandchild/great-grandchild on the way, and she wanted us to be able to get pictures of them through the frame. How thoughtful, right?
Although we expressed our thanks for his kindness, neither of us wanted the gift. It seems like just one more device to install, maintain and clutter up our homes. We really don’t want to bother with all that. So we sent a thank you without mentioning that we didn’t like it.
Now she keeps asking us to let her know when the frames will be installed so she can start sending pictures of my grandnieces. How can we politely let him know that won’t happen?
NICE READER: We don’t. We don’t need it either. Your goal is to get your sister-in-law to stop bothering you and hand over the pictures, not to make her feel bad about her gifts.
Miss Manners sometimes circumvents technological requirements by pleading incompetence, but that would only be asking you for help setting up the device you don’t want. Better to say you’re ready for the photos now, and when your sister-in-law comes snooping, explain that you’ve experimented with different locations – not to mention that you’re referring to storage locations – but can’t wait to see the photos. .
Please send your questions to Miss Manners on her website missmanners.com.