DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m what they call a HENRY: High Earner, Not Rich Yet.
Miss Manners: Everyone thinks it’s a bad idea, but I want to go to her 16th birthday party
Miss Manners: Is it unseemly to let my guests know they can try my fancy bathroom?
Miss Manners: A woman I barely know gave me a bad reputation with this group
Miss Manners: The bride hasn’t told me the one thing I want to know
Miss Manners: I was jeered for what I thought would be a kind act
I’m a single woman in my mid-40s who works in the financial arena. I have a stable government job, a sizable 401(k) and will receive a decent pension.
I really enjoy talking about finance and money. It’s not only part of my profession, but a personal passion. I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, and a recent inheritance will get me pretty close to achieving financial independence.
However, I’m starting to realize that it’s probably best if I don’t discuss my financial situation with other people.
What is the appropriate boundary regarding financial matters? Is it nobody else’s business? Would a close friend be offended if one day they found out I was a millionaire and I hadn’t told them? What about dating?
I’m very fortunate to have financial security and to be set up for a comfortable retirement, which I can hopefully take sooner than later. I have no plans for anything extravagant, I just want to maintain my current modest standard of living.
GENTLE READER: Indeed, you are fortunate. Pointing that out to others is called bragging.
It is not endearing, not even to people as rich or richer than you. The exception would be fortune-hunters, if that is what you are looking for by asking permission to tell dates that you are a millionaire.
But Miss Manners is not trying to prevent you from discussing your field. It should be easy to find people who are interested in hearing about the economy. Just please don’t embarrass yourself and others — who can easily assume you mean it competitively — by revealing your personal wealth.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I enjoy entertaining friends and family for formal dinners. When everyone has completed their meal and the conversations are continuing, I will invite everyone to relax around the table as I begin to clear the dishes.
Too often, guests, in a polite attempt to be helpful, will clear the entire table. Dishes, flatware, candles, glasses, leftovers, linens pile up in the kitchen. Then they insist on helping in the kitchen. I end up directing guests to do things I could accomplish much more efficiently myself.
What should be a quiet, simple task instead becomes a complicated annoyance.
Is there a polite way to insist my guests stay seated at the table, or is this the small price I must pay to enjoy an otherwise pleasant evening?
GENTLE READER: But you were not relaxing and enjoying a pleasant evening — you were cleaning up. So of course your guests felt awkward about sitting around while you worked.
Dear Abby: She’s going to have a baby, and I think her plan is a bad one
Ask Amy: Can I ask her to give back the birthday present I made?
Dear Abby: I’m finally off the leash, and I’m worried I’ll go too far
Ask Amy: After our wedding trip, the boss came up with a risky plan
Harriette Cole: I made this resolution, then I struggled all year
Miss Manners receives two sets of complaints about guests’ helping: that they do and that they don’t. Ordinarily, she cautions guests to follow the host’s instructions, and hosts to insist upon them. But she appreciates the unwillingness to comply when the host sets an opposite example.
Please follow your own instructions.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.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.