Miss Manners: I removed friends from group chat after they skipped plans

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Dear Ms. Manners: Last year I planned dinner with seven friends from junior and senior high school. (We’re all in our 50s now.) Over dinner we decided to make it a monthly thing, which I was responsible for planning. Most members of the group attended at least three of the seven meetings; However, there are two that came only to the first. Last month over dinner we decided not to invite them anymore, so I removed them from our social media group.

Needless to say they are not happy. I know I probably should have informed them that they were removed before I did, but it’s too late for that now. Our first dinner without them is coming up and I know that when they see the pictures online I’ll be a bit heartbroken.

Do you think it was wrong not to include them more? (I say “I” because I’ll be the one who’ll take the heat from it.)

Thats is quite easy to remedy Miss Manners conjecturing facts unproven: All you have to say is, “Totally my fault. I thought because you’re not coming you’re not interested. Of course I’ll add you back to the group in a moment.”

Did we forget to mention the part of the group discussion that was, “Because neither of us can stand any of them, how about we use the excuse that they didn’t attend to get rid of them?”

Even if they do, it’s not too late to use the above excuse and expect their continued, voluntary no-shows. It may be less satisfying than telling them that you still haven’t forgiven them for that incident at the junior high dance, but it will be more polite.

Dear Ms. Manners: When my mother died, her funeral was very well attended. My siblings and I formed a welcoming line at the front desk so we could thank each guest for attending.

Many guests wanted to talk at length, which of course stopped the people behind. A guest wanted me to look for pictures of my mother in old yearbooks with him.

I tried to divert those who lingered by saying, “Oh, I want to hear all of this in detail. Can I find you when the receiving line is ready?”

My approach was not effective, and in some cases I would interrupt the person, thank them for attending, and then turn to the next person in line.

It felt terribly rude, and I still feel bad about it, even though I checked with each person later. Is there a better way I could have handled the situation?

Such problems arise in each receiving line. The solution is to keep an eye on other participants who can be substituted if necessary. They might alert one of the (probably) many people who had asked what they could do to help.

In your example of the friend with the yearbooks, gently take her by the hand and lead her to the cousin who knows what that friend can be like, explain briefly that he has some pictures to show, and return to the receiving line . Miss Manners assures you that the right deputy, properly briefed to keep the line running, will know what to do.

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


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