Miss Manners: I refuse to hold late-night business meetings at hotels


Dear Miss Manners: A few years ago, a well-known person in my industry was in town and was able to work with me. It would be an opportunity to start a career — and, frankly, he could be influential enough to ruin my career if he wanted to.

He explained that otherwise he was busy all day and could only meet me at his hotel – after 10pm he would be leaving the next day, so he could only see me then to discuss working together face to face.

My reluctance was understandable, but he insisted that the meeting only take place at his hotel. This seems like a red flag. I couldn’t find someone to accompany me, so my friends advised me not to go. I ended up saying no and have always had some bitter feelings about it. My discomfort with being put in that position tainted our limited interactions after that.

Even if the visit was uneventful, he was a married man, and we were seen at his hotel that night, it would lead to speculation and damage to both of our professional reputations. If we had met before, or if there hadn’t been such a huge power gap, I might have been in that meeting. But for a man I’ve never met, it seemed like a really bad idea.

Is this a normal, legitimate question and I’m just being too reserved? should i go

don’t you read news? Or are you basing this scenario on a notorious case that happened to someone else?

Miss Manners assures you that any pain one feels over this missed opportunity is trivial compared to the negative emotions one would feel if the situation were taken advantage of.

Dear Miss Manners: At holiday gatherings, I often see a relative with whom I don’t have a good relationship. I’m trying to make things friendlier between us.

Usually, when I say something that I think is innocuous, like “the Met has an exhibit,” he immediately fires back, “I know where the Met is!” as if I’ve insulted his IQ.

First of all, how can I be a jack-of-all-trades guard against myself so as to avoid any condescension? Second, how can I respond to him in the way that is most likely to calm his emotions?

your relative is Indulging in so-called insult collection: looking for insults where there was clearly no intention. Some people are quite skilled at this, and they can turn the most innocuous words into grievances.

but you know. You also know that censoring yourself doesn’t help; the simplest joke can be taken as sarcasm.

So you should brace yourself and say, “Of course you know more about museums than I do, but I just wanted to make it clear. Are there any other Met museums in the world?”

New Miss Manners column published Monday-Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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