Mrs. Manner: I said no to a business meeting at the hotel at night.


Opinion

Dear Miss MannersA few years ago, a prominent person in the industry was in town and was someone who could work with me. This would have been a career opportunity – and to be honest, he had enough influence to hurt my career if he chose to.

He says that he will spend the whole day in another way and can only meet me at the hotel – after 10 pm he will leave the next day so he can only see me face to face, to discuss working together.

I didn’t want to understand, but he insisted that the meeting could only be at the hotel. This sounds like something of a red flag. I didn’t find anyone to go with me and all my friends asked me not to go under the circumstances. I ended up shrinking and always had some nagging feelings about it. My discomfort with being put in that position marred what little interaction we had after that.

Although the visit was unsuccessful, he is married and if we were seen together at the hotel at that time, it would have led to speculation and would have damaged our professional reputation. I could see myself taking that meeting if we had met earlier or if there hadn’t been such a huge power gap. But with a stranger, it seems like a really bad idea.

Was this a normal and reasonable thing to ask, and was I simply being sane? Should I have gone?

don’t you read The news? Or is this situation based on a famous case that happened to someone else?

Miss Manners assures you that the pain a person may feel in this situation is nothing compared to the negative feelings of being used to the situation.

Dear Miss Manners: I often see relatives with whom I have an unpleasant relationship at holiday gatherings. I am trying to make things amicable between us.

Often, when I say something that I think is innocuous, like, “There’s an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York,” I immediately respond with, “I know where the Metropolitan Museum is!” he shouts. Like I insulted his intelligence.

First, how can I keep everything on myself so that every self can’t be brought down? Second, how can I respond to him in a way that will help improve his mood?

He is your relative. Engaging in what’s known as insult collecting: looking for insults where no one is meant to. Some people are good at this, and can turn the most hurtful comments into complaints.

But you know that. You know it doesn’t help to censor yourself; Something so cute can be taken for an insult.

So you should be encouraging yourself to say, “You obviously know more about museums than I do, but I just wanted to be clear.” Do we have other metropolitan museums in the world? “

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



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