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Smart Living: Compassionate Exceptions to 'Handwritten Thanks' Rule

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter has been ill for 13 years with a rare, chronic, often-debilitating disease. She finally had an allogenic bone marrow transplant, but has not responded as well as we'd hoped. People have brought us meals and done other thoughtful things, and many donated money to help with expenses. Her husband took unpaid family leave, and they have a little boy we cannot send to preschool due to my daughter's weakened immune system. (We have had a couple of amazing in-home babysitters instead.)

a close up of Judith Martin: Judith Martin, Miss Manners © Kay Chernush, Kay Chernush Judith Martin, Miss Manners

My daughter wants to write thank-you notes. But she has NO energy, and her hands shake. She has a list of people to thank going back to May of last year. May she send a computer-printed thank-you note inside of a card? I can handle addressing them for her.

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GENTLE READER: Everyone understands that the law weighs the circumstances of a transgression before reaching judgment. So why does everyone assume that etiquette mercilessly condemns violations without considering the motivation?

Your daughter wants to do the right thing, and you can help her do it, either on the computer or by taking her dictation. There is no chance in the world that the people who have helped her, who obviously know her situation, will sneer at receiving thanks that is not handwritten by her.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We moved into a new neighborhood and have quickly grown to like our next-door neighbors. My husband has conversed with the wife on many occasions, and their conversations have been nothing but lovely.

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However, in a recent discussion of Valentine's Day, she was strongly hinting to my husband that he should buy me a gift from her catalogue.

We are firmly opposed to multilevel marketing companies as a whole, but we really value the budding friendship. How can we gently, but permanently, let her know we are not interested while continuing to grow our friendship?

GENTLE READER: By ignoring her hint. That may be the end of it.

But should this develop -- say, with invitations to sales parties -- Miss Manners is afraid that you will have to say, "We're really not interested, but we would love to see you just socially."

DEAR MISS MANNERS: For most of my life, my mother has had a special endearment that she uses just for me. Her new beau has taken to calling me by this same endearment, and I would prefer that he not. Aside from a harsh-sounding, "Please don't call me that!" how can I politely tell him that I would prefer he use my first name instead?

GENTLE READER: There is no cause to be harsh: Having heard you addressed this way, he naturally thought it was your accepted nickname. He hasn't asked you to call him Daddy, has he?

All that is needed is, "Oh, that's just Mother's pet name for me. Everyone else calls me Daisy."

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

COPYRIGHT 2022 JUDITH MARTIN

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