Miss Manners: Do family members have to go to destination weddings?

Dear Miss Manners: Are relatives required to attend family destination weddings?

No. If the place is special to the bridal couple, they can go there on their honeymoon. Not everyone is able to accompany them, and not everyone who might enjoy attending the ceremony wants to travel with them.

If this sounds harsh, Miss Manners reminds everyone who gives a destination wedding that attending demands a large commitment from guests in terms of time and money. Therefore, issuing such invitations must be accompanied by the gracious acceptance that many well-wishers will nevertheless have practical (or other) reasons not to attend.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it appropriate to express condolences to a co-worker who was terminated, if you feel that termination was well-justified?

The co-worker is surely stressed at having lost his job, but he didn’t deliver what was asked of him. I was often slowed down or frustrated by his professional actions. Still, I didn’t personally dislike him.

By condolences, you presumably mean saying that you are sorry your co-worker was fired. And, for good reason, you are not.

But Miss Manners knows other ways to commiserate: “I wish you luck,” “I hope you’ll keep in touch” and even, if it is plausible, “I’ll miss you.”

She realizes that these statements contain bland goodwill and are not likely to result in action. But people tend to mean them at the time, and they are a kind way to say goodbye.

Dear Miss Manners: What can I do or say to deter well-wishers from slapping my shoulder?

About six months ago, I fell, tearing my rotator cuff. After days in the hospital, weeks of recovery and months of rehab, I’m close to normal, except when friendly folks whack me on the shoulder and ask how I’m doing. Can you suggest any way I can prevent this act while remaining cordial?

Have you thought of wearing epaulets? You might have to join the military and work your way up in rank, but … oh, maybe not. By that time, your shoulder might be fully healed.

Miss Manners had hoped that the habit of promiscuously grabbing people had been quelled by the pandemic. But she had also hoped that people might start carrying handkerchiefs instead of sneezing into their elbows.

No. It is right back to the old habits.

So your only defense is to learn to spot these painful thumps coming. Keep practicing social distancing, and swerve your hurt shoulder away from others. Miss Manners wishes she had something easier to suggest.

Dear Miss Manners: I think it is absolutely rude to bus your own table at a restaurant. I have a relative who does this, and takes things when I’m not even done with them.

Rude as it is to grab the food away from one’s fellow diners, it is worse to grab work away from the restaurant staff. It is doing them a disservice, not a favor, as your bossy relative may fancy. Miss Manners only hopes this does not include swiping their tips.

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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