My husband said I missed this sticky situation

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband says I mishandled this situation.

We met a couple at church and felt we would like to get to know them better. One Sunday after services I asked if they would like to join us for dinner that afternoon and that we were eating at 4pm. The husband had walked away to talk with someone else, and the wife thanked me for the invitation and said she would talk with her husband and come back to see me.

When we got home, I reiterated the invitation by text message. There was no response.

As it happened, my dinner was ready to eat a little earlier than I thought so my family and I went ahead and sat down to eat as I hadn’t heard back. Imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang at 4 p.m. and the couple – plate of cookies in hand – happily declared that they were there for dinner.

I stammered something like, “I didn’t know you were coming, since I’ve never heard of you. They agreed they should have let me know, gave me the plate of cookies (which were delicious) and left with the promise of another invite in the near future.

This is where we disagree: we still had food to eat and my husband said I should have invited them to share the leftovers anyway.

I think since I never got a definitive response to my invitation, I was right not to plan to serve them and I think it would have been rude to say, “Well, we ate, but you welcome to what we have left. »

NICE READER: People make mistakes, that’s why excuses were invented. Apologies also make things easier even when you haven’t done anything wrong – for example, if you have dinner early because the food was hot and you weren’t expecting company.

It surprises Miss Manners that when the two families want to be friends, no one seems to have thought of it. You could have apologized for having already eaten. Your guests could have apologized for not telling you they were coming (accepting that they should have told you is not the same thing).

As for serving leftovers, it was not obligatory, but its very informality would have demonstrated your desire to count them among your intimate friends. As would another invitation.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I’m meeting friends at a restaurant and I’m the first to arrive, is it more polite to wait outside on the sidewalk or to come in and snag the table?

NICE READER: Etiquette doesn’t want to keep your friends waiting, but is indifferent to how it’s accomplished.

Before the cell phone, this meant that if you chose to be seated, you alerted staff or chose a place where you could see and be seen. These days, it can be as simple as a text message notifying your friends that you’re sitting in the back, next to the air conditioning vent.

Please send questions to Miss Manners on her website,; to his email, [email protected]; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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