Miss Manners: Telling white lies to friends is presumed excusable

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Why do some people feel it necessary to lie to those they know and appear to love, while they are uncomfortable telling a little white lie to strangers?...

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Why do some people feel it necessary to lie to those they know and appear to love, while they are uncomfortable telling a little white lie to strangers?

Such was the case when a neighbor/friend organized a dinner party for her husband at a popular family-style restaurant for a total of eight dining guests. The neighbor/friend assured us she had a reservation.

However, when we arrived, we learned otherwise and had to wait close to an hour to be seated. The establishment refused her request, as you must have 12 in your party to qualify for a reservation.

Upon inquiry, the neighbor told us that she felt uncomfortable lying to the restaurant hostess, but felt we could find it in our hearts to forgive her.

I am confused by her behavior and believe this could have been handled with a little more thought, in either moving the event to another restaurant or adding four more guests. This is not the first time she has pulled this stunt, only the latest. What are your thoughts?


GENTLE READER: That indeed, there is such a double standard, particularly in regard to restaurants. Miss Manners hears about it in the peculiar confessions of people who panic about their lack of table manners when going to a restaurant - with no thought for the relatives and friends whom they may have been disgusting for years.

Your friend has already explained the reasoning behind this: that lack of consideration toward one's own circle is permissible because one can probably get away with it. Not a charming attitude.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the protocol for wearing hats? Can they be worn at a wedding? May women wear them only indoors? How does one politely ask a family member to please remove a baseball cap during one's wedding ceremony?

GENTLE READER: During one's wedding ceremony?

Are you telling Miss Manners that rather than gazing into the eyes of your beloved and listening to the officiant explain what you are getting yourself into, you were checking out the guests?

It is true that the only proper hats for wedding guests are outrageous ones worn by ladies attending daytime ceremonies. Had you caught the offender on his way in, you might have enlisted an usher to say, "Sir, would you mind removing your hat," or appealed to your relative's wife, mother or child to snatch it from his head.

However, you cannot police your own wedding guests. So you might just as well concentrate your attention on the ceremony.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it rude for me to take home several pieces of candy from a dish at my girlfriend's dinner party without asking her permission to do so?


The candies were sitting out for anyone to eat. However, I didn't want to eat them there, so I took several to eat later. Is this considered tacky or rude?

GENTLE READER: To treat someone else's house as a free grocery store?

Refreshments of whatever kind are offered for guests to consume during their visits, not to allow them to stock up at the host's expense. Miss Manners would like also to bring this rule to the attention of guests who ask to take home leftovers from meals.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, ; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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