My former colleagues made sarcastic comments to me
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I worked for a small company until recently. During my time there, I made many wonderful personal and professional relationships. I left for a career development opportunity.
Before leaving I was invited to come back and visit. My new position allows for flexibility, so I have been able to visit my friends and former colleagues three times over the past 18 months.
I am aware of their time, and my visits are prearranged and short. I have the impression that these visits are welcome.
However, on my last visit, I was greeted with several remarks from former colleagues with whom I had not developed any friendships. Their remarks (followed by nervous laughter) ranged from, “What are you doing here? You don’t work here anymore” to “Are you just here to get the latest gossip?
What is the best way to respond to these comments? Or is there really no reason to visit my old workplace?
SWEET READER: “Just visiting old friends” – with the subtle, if not overt, implication that the people asking are not among them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece, a young adult who attends college nearby, is staying with us for the holidays since her parents live quite far away.
She is my husband’s brother’s daughter and we have a large extended family. We have visited their home and stayed several times.
The problem is that the niece’s mother doesn’t seem to like receiving updates or photos of her daughter having fun with my kids, who are around the same age. She just doesn’t want to acknowledge that her daughter is staying with us, for fear of being (or appearing to be) obligated to us.
I wonder if it’s rude of me to send him pictures when we take the kids to the movies or some other outing. To be clear, I’m not posting these updates or photos on social media, I’m just sending them to him personally. She does not respond or responds very awkwardly.
I just mean to share the experiences of the cousins, but she seems to take offense to it.
I have decided not to send him any more updates. What do you think of the thing to do?
SWEET READER: You infer your sister-in-law’s intentions — that she doesn’t want to feel obligated to you — but it seems to Miss Manners that it can be painful to be away from her daughter. It’s also possible that neither of us is right.
Nevertheless, this woman has clearly expressed her disgust and the best recourse is to stop sharing the photos. If she wants to see them later, she knows where to find you.
Please send questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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