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Miss Manners: How should spouses handle arguments when hosting guests?

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Dear Miss Manners: Our marriage has its ups and downs, including heated arguments. But our social life continues, and sometimes that means having guests at our house.

To date, we have never had an explosion in the middle of a rally, but I can’t say that will never happen. If so, what do you suggest we do once we have calmed down and regained our composure?

Allow Miss Manners to introduce you to a useful military concept that dates back to the 14th century: the truce.

While you and your partner appreciate this unstable relationship, it shouldn’t be inflicted on the guests. As entertaining as it can be for them and as productive of amusing gossip, watching hosts fight puts them in an untenable position.

If they pretend not to notice, they look stupid and may even be unwanted in the future – in case your quarrel is forgotten, but you don’t appreciate witnesses to your discord. If they take sides, they will upset at least one host, and probably both.

Forget the possibility that they don’t gossip about it. Why should they be discreet when you are not?

So if you and your co-host can’t control each other, you should put the fun on hold until there’s a clear winner. The only alternative is to have a firm policy that when others are present there will be a total truce.

This means pretending nothing happened and preventing yourself from firing what you consider to be subtle darts that your guests won’t understand. They go.

Dear Miss Manners: When someone invites you to their home, are you supposed to wash your own dishes, or is the host supposed to pick up your plate when you have finished eating and then wash the dishes?

Just ask what’s the right thing to do, when you’re at someone’s house and they tell you that you have to do your own dishes before you leave.

Why? Were you snack at your parents’ house and leave a mess?

I was just asking. When a question – especially a question asked twice – involves such a clear transgression, Miss Manners can’t help but wonder if she’s heard the whole story.

Of course, guests shouldn’t normally be asked to clean up, although a considerate guest would try to ease the burden on the host – at least to the extent that they clean up any mess they make themselves. created, if he did not offer to participate. thoughtless guests is to refrain from inviting them again.

But it wouldn’t be bad to ask someone close to the house not to leave dirty plates anywhere.

Dear Miss Manners: Do you wrap sympathy gifts?

what you call “Sympathy gifts” usually take the form of food or other necessities that would help relieve the bereaved of necessary duties. You wouldn’t surprise a new widow with diamond earrings unless you have something other than sympathy on your mind.

So indeed, Miss Manners would consider festive wrappings as out of place.

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.