DEAR MISS MANNERS: About three years ago, I started a relationship with a man I’m in love with, and we’ve been living together for two years.
Early in our relationship, my “best friend” (we have been as a family for half of our lives) heard some gossip about my husband, believed it completely for the truth, and completely changed her attitude toward him. She refused to tell me what was said about him or whoever said it, only that when the relationship failed, she would be there for me.
Shortly after, I learned from someone else what was being said and who was saying it: a known liar and gossip who had taken treats of the truth and added a lot of untruths and speculations.
I could not believe that my friend would at all listen to anyone with such a reputation for savagery, first and foremost, and secondly, that she did not have my back.
Needless to say, our friendship has become cold and distant. I have tried to restore the friendship by sending invitations (which are not accepted) and engaging in a positive, hopeful conversation about my life (which is shut down). We talk occasionally, but it is now limited to polite conversation about family and work.
My boyfriend proposed a few months ago and gave me a beautiful diamond that my friend has not yet recognized. Her only statement to me about my commitment was, “I just want you to be happy,” which was connected to her typical doomsday voice.
We have started making plans for our wedding. Should I send her an invitation?
ENVIRONMENTAL READER: Because a wedding is an important life event, decisions about who to invite should have a medium to long term perspective on each individual’s status.
Siblings we quarreled with and hung up on last week are still invited. Siblings we broke up with decades ago over their treatment of dad’s third wife are probably not. Friends that we were recently on intimate terms are still considered to be, even though we are no longer seen every week.
You, not Miss Manners, will have to decide if that person is still a friend or if the air quotes indicate a permanent status change.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a family member who is an attention pig. She somehow always controls the conversation to show how she is always the right and wisest in situations. Each of her stories ends with how she was right, and everyone else “saw the light” after they listened to her.
Listening to these stories is exhausting and I do not want to be rude, but I can not help but talk to her. Is there any way to stop this narcissistic view?
ENVIRONMENTAL READER: Do not listen. Or more precisely, adopt a facial attitude that is sweet but distracting. You will deprive your relationship of the joy of being listened to, without — and this is a point that Miss Manners emphasizes — enabling yourself to be accused of something worse than being absent.
Send your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.