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Miss Manners: I’ve been told I was rude to our office cleaner


DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter deemed my response to an incessantly chattering office cleaner rude.

“D” is a younger person who cleans our office. They routinely eat lunch at the same time I do. I have listened to this individual chatter nonstop for half an hour, detailing to three different people the salad they ate last week, or the woes they have with a reprehensible roommate. I’ve seen this person continue blathering even after a victim walked away from the nonstop, inane chit-chat.

The other day, D asked me how I was, and I responded, “Fine, thanks.” I didn’t reciprocate the question, because I needed to get back to work. My daughter believes I should have asked how D was, then extracted myself with an apology and a “I need to get back to work.”

Which one of us has the more courteous response?

GENTLE READER: Let’s call them Polite Response B and Polite Response A. Although Miss Manners finds no fault starting with B, it becomes even more blameless when A has already been tried by you — and abused by D’s nattering on about C, E, F and G.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a best friend of 27 years, and I’m getting very annoyed with her.

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