Posted: Friday, August 19, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: Last night, I visited my daughter’s Facebook page and saw that she had enjoyed a lovely anniversary. Going a little further, I Googled her name and found an article about her in connection to an award she had won. In the article, it mentioned that she had a husband and a stepchild. This all came as a surprise to me, as I had no idea she had won an award or married the man she was living with. I like the guy, and I’m happy for her, but why didn’t she tell me she has apparently been married for a year?
We talk every six weeks or so, and I let her initiate the call because I know she has a specific time allotted for me. She hasn’t spent a holiday with our family in years. Instead, she spends a lot of time with her mate’s family.
How do I handle this new information? Do I flat-out tell her what I discovered? (She friended me on Facebook, so seeing the announcement is not an issue.) Do I wait for her to tell me? She has not mentioned her marriage to her siblings, either. I don’t want to jeopardize the relationship we have. She is super-sensitive and always defensive. I usually let her call the shots, but this time, it’s almost more than I can bear. — A Bewildered Mother
Dear Mother: We can only imagine how difficult it is to learn of such an important event after the fact. Send your daughter a lovely card and write, “I saw on Facebook that you and ‘George’ celebrated your wedding anniversary. Congratulations! I’ve always liked George, and I know you will be very happy.” If possible, send a gift, as well. You cannot force your daughter to be closer, and confronting her about this announcement will not produce a good result. Facebook posts and semi-annual phone calls are apparently as much as she can manage.
Dear Annie: My best friend, “Lizzie,” feels that it is appropriate for her to correct others on their manners. She chastised someone for texting during a meal and primly announced to all that we mustn’t eat before the hostess does.
My friends are adults, and while their manners may not be perfect, it is not my place to correct them. I am responsible for seeing that my daughter develops proper manners. Lizzie, however, insists she is being helpful when addressing the shortcomings of others.
I know some of our friends resent this behavior, as do I. We went out to a nice restaurant last week, and as soon as we sat down, Lizzie told me to put my napkin in my lap. I said I knew that, and I simply hadn’t gotten to it yet.
While she may be right in theory, constantly being judged makes me very uncomfortable. What is your opinion? — Omaha
Dear Omaha: Lizzie is guilty of a breach of etiquette. She is rude. One does not correct other adults in public, ever, nor should she be lecturing her friends about their behavior unless they are spitting across the table (although texting comes close). She may mean well, but she is making herself obnoxious and unwelcome.
Dear Annie: “Modest in Iowa” did not want a male nurse to attend to her in the hospital. As a well-educated, experienced male registered nurse, I find this type of behavior frustrating. Modesty and privacy are always respected by the professional nurse. A patient’s request for a female nurse is accommodated provided one is available. Staffing is tight in health care, and we all try to give patients a satisfactory experience while meeting their medical needs.
What concerns me even more is that her fiance threatened to assault the health care worker who was trying to assist her. This type of behavior is unacceptable and dangerous. — Nurse in Pennsylvania
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.19.11