Advice | Miss Manners: Visiting friend sleeps on the rug instead of guest bed


Dear Miss Manners: I have a dear friend who lived in the same city I lived in for many years. Several years ago, I moved to the other side of the continent, and she now visits me once a year for seven to 10 days. To my surprise, instead of sleeping in the bed in the guest room, she opts for the thick Persian rug on the floor. I only realized this when I cleaned the guest room upon her departure the first time. The rug smelled of body odor, so rather than launder bed linens (easy), I had to clean the rug to rid the room of the residual odor.

She says nothing to me about her sleeping preferences, but she has done this on every single visit. I don’t know how to address it, or even if I should. I don’t want to embarrass her, but cleaning the rug is time-consuming and creates unnecessary wear on the fibers. (In case you wonder if I’m sure she is sleeping there, she left her door ajar one night and I happened past it.) Any suggestions?

Assuming this is a dear friend you care about, inquire if there is anything amiss with the bed in the guest room — without being too specific about why you are asking.

This will give her the opportunity to confess that the springs have all sprung, or the mattress is so soft that, once one lies down, it is impossible to get back out without calling fire and rescue. Such an approach has the downside of being an implicit promise to correct any deficiencies — and lacks the simplicity of swapping out the rug before her next visit.

Dear Miss Manners: My son has been dating his girlfriend for about six months. In many ways, they are compatible and good for each other. I am happy for him.

She is very sociable and has a bubbly personality, but she has the habit of answering any question posed in the room — even if it is not directed to her. She answers the question before the person being addressed has the chance, and sometimes even interrupts the person asking the question to start answering it.

She is 24 years old, fresh out of college. Can Miss Manners please advise how I can let her know that this is not acceptable behavior? I have tried subtle, gentle hints without much success. I want to avoid awkwardness and bad feelings for my son’s sake.

Correcting her manners is not your place, even if she someday becomes your daughter-in-law. But Miss Manners will tell you how to deal with the more limited problem of what to do when she answers a question intended for yourself.

Listen with measured, if not unlimited, patience while she gives her answer. And then give yours. That this will be mildly embarrassing for your son’s girlfriend is regrettable, but if she, or your son, have the courage to point that out, you can innocently explain that the question was directed to you.

Eventually, the new girlfriend will figure it out — just as, eventually, she will no longer be 24.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on 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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