Dear Miss Manners: One evening, I had a gathering of eight friends’ cards and a “white elephant” gift exchange.
One guest, “Maira”, came in as a substitute, sent by an absent member. None of us had met before. We tried to make her feel welcome, but she seemed a little distant and cold, and didn’t fit very well.
When it came to exchanging gifts, the first gift “Heather” picked up and opened and it was clear how much she liked it. She was delighted with him, saying how much she was tickled, told us how she would use it and would be very grateful to the giver. After getting to know Heather, we knew she really meant it and just wasn’t polite.
Under the Exchange Rules, as we move around in a circle, members can either select an unopened gift or “steal” an unopened gift from someone else. The last time we came to Moira was because she was sitting in a circle. He chooses to steal the gift from Heather, who seems desperate to lose it. But he pushed it forward and we moved on with Syria.
Later, however, several regular members privately remarked to me that they did not think Moira should have stolen Heather’s gift. He was worried that Maira would be as heartless as a one-time guest in someone else’s house. It would have been different if Heather hadn’t been so happy with the gift.
By the way, there were other “thefts” this evening, but none of them were clearly painful. Yes, she was playing according to the rules of the gift exchange, but we thought she showed little sensitivity.
What do you think Are we wrong to think badly of Maira?
Soft reader: With no stake in the social aspect of the gathering, Moira chose not to read the room – instead of winning the game. Miss Etiquette thinks you think badly of it.
However, the situation may pause you – before such parties in the future – to think about why giving gifts is considered fun, just snatching them away. Poor Heather deserves a song bass she can keep.
Dear Miss Manners: My wife insists that it is a Borderline Neanderthal attitude to cut a simple egg on my plate before eating it. Is it (I know a lot of people do that.)
Soft reader: Pre-bite eaters should usually be reserved for people who do it on behalf of someone who might otherwise struggle or suffocate – young, weak, and seemingly your Neanderthals. Friend
Miss Adab acknowledges that everything is less satisfying after the initial flow of the yolk, but it should not be underestimated to chase it around the plate with subsequent cuts. It is also more appropriate.
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