Miss Manners: the former boss continues to look for gifts for her sons



Dear Miss Manners: My former boss and I didn’t stay in touch for the most part, but when I asked her for a recommendation to get a job in another state last year, she helped me. Since then, I’ve communicated briefly with her a few times – sending her photos, wishing her a happy birthday, etc.

Now she sent me an announcement for her youngest son’s college graduation. I feel like she’s just looking for gifts and appealing to anyone she can think of.

The reason I say this is because when I left her workplace and moved out of state, she never contacted me once except to send me an announcement from the Eagle Scout achievement of his eldest son. (I never met any of her sons.) I didn’t send a gift, and she found a reason to contact me and basically bully me into sending one.

She’s a manager who would give me leftover cake from her son’s birthday party for my birthday. It was insulting.

I can afford a gift; it’s not my problem. I just feel like I’m being bullied again into giving something away. How do you think I should handle this? I’m sure she’ll follow up and I’m sure she won’t forget it later. And I might need a professional recommendation from him in the future.

Bullying is one way to say it. Corruption is another. You don’t owe this woman a gift, and you certainly shouldn’t send one for fear of retaliation.

Miss Manners therefore recommends that you send your warmest congratulations to this woman’s son without an accompanying gift – and then avoid his phone calls.

If there comes a time when you need a recommendation and she has the audacity to refuse, you can say, “Oh, you were so kind in providing me with one for my previous job. What changed?”

If she’s ashamed, she’ll realize she’s stuck. Either she’ll be forced to admit she’s operating under a demented counterpart, or she’ll (perhaps reluctantly) write you the letter.

But of course, if she was ashamed, you wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it OK to mix my scrambled eggs and hash browns in a restaurant to get a little in every bite? Also, is it okay to wear a Hawaiian shirt over jeans?

The right technique is to toss a bite of eggs and potatoes onto each fork, rather than swirling the two together.

And the Hawaiian shirt? Miss Manners guesses it’s better over the jeans than under them.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday at washingtonpost.com/board. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.


Comments are closed.