Have a wonderful, splendiferous day!

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please address the issue of customer service people who tell everyone to “have a good one.” At numerous stores and restaurants, upon leaving, I am told to “have a good one.” I am so tempted to say, “A good what?”

What happened to, “Have a nice day”?

GENTLE READER: It was smothered by a crowd of people loudly complaining that customer service people should not wish them a nice day if they did not really mean it. (c) MISS MANNERS

Huh. You know what I hate? And this must be a regional thing, but here, the store employees all say, “Have a good rest of your day!”

Ugh.

  1. First of all, it feels forced, as if the speaker isn’t saying it spontaneously.
  2. Second, it feels ingratiating, as if the speaker is trying really, really hard to wish you a good day in a way that’s original and unique. Ugh.
  3. Third, it seems grammatically weak. I think the grammatically sound way to say it would be, “I hope the rest of your day goes well!”

As a purist, I’m in favor of wishing someone a good day. I don’t think anything needs to be added onto it.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have a disabled child, whose needs are complex. We have been blessed to find a reliable, kind and hard-working caregiver, “Shelly,” who is a wonderful fit for us.

Unfortunately, Shelly is also very creative and generous. She makes us food, clothes and items of home decor, none of which suit our needs or taste.

She eagerly expects us to eat, wear and/or prominently display her gifts, into which she obviously puts a great deal of effort.

I have tried subtly mentioning that my diet is strict or that my skin is sensitive to certain fabrics or that the knickknacks on my shelves collect dust, but to no avail.

Today, Shelly showed up with a huge, homemade holiday sculpture for our front yard.

How can I clearly discourage her generosity without hurting her feelings, which I would never, ever want to do?

— Overwhelmed in Georgia

Overwhelmed in Georgia: “Shelly” is obviously a kind and generous person, but you should set some firmer boundaries.

Sit down with her. Say, “This is awkward and hard to bring up, but I hope you understand. We are so lucky and grateful to have you with us. We value you so much. But we really cannot continue to accept any more gifts from you. Your gift to us is the wonderful care you provide, and that’s all we want or need.”

I don’t think this will necessarily stop the heaping helpings of food and gifts, but it might slow her down. Readers may want to weigh in. (c) Ask Amy

Oh my. Anytime creativity and generosity are “unfortunate”, you know something’s wrong. Sadly, Ask Amy’s advice would be impossible for me to follow. I, too, wouldn’t want to hurt Shelly’s feelings, nor would I be capable of that level of assertion. I can be assertive at times (and even aggressive!), but if it involves hurting someone’s feelings for no good reason (e.g., they haven’t hurt my feelings), then I can’t do it. It’s just not in me.

So here’s what I’d do. I’d sit Shelly down and say: “Shelly, my church is holding its Christmas bazaar soon. I spoke to the minister about you. Would you like to have a booth showcasing the things you’ve made? I’m so impressed with your talents, but I’m also upset that I often can’t use what you make for me, given my skin allergies and such. But if you could man a booth to help raise money for the church, it would be great. We need talented craftspeople like you.”

I have spoken. Take her talents and reroute them for the win-win.

Dear Annie: I was in a relationship for about 18 years. Early on, he proposed, and I declined with no intention of ever remarrying. After a little bit of cool-off time, the relationship slowly started up again despite this difference.

Over those years, some of our individual friends became mutual friends. Invitations for events were, of course, extended to us as a couple or individually with a plus one.

Over the past two years, the relationship ended. Soon after, I accepted a date with someone I loosely knew who is not local to the area where I live. This relationship quickly grew into an exclusive relationship. We are considering marriage in the near future, likely about one or two years off.

After the dissolution of the past relationship, I started getting invitations for “one,” no guest, from the now-mutual friends. My ex also gets invited. Originally, some of the statements were that there was concern that he would behave poorly if I was there with my new significant other. I have told inviters to please not extend this type of invitation to me as I do not consider it a real invitation. It’s disrespectful to my current boyfriend to expect him to be OK not being welcome to attend an event with me when my ex would be there.

Can you please weigh in on this type of invitation and how I can get people to understand this is not OK? — Moved On But Feeling the Pushback From Friends

Dear Moved On: It’s common for friends to feel caught in the middle after a breakup — especially the breakup of an 18-year relationship.

However, you’re all adults here. There’s no reason for your new boyfriend to be disinvited from social events. If your ex isn’t comfortable being around you two, he can stay home.

I would explain to your friends that your new beau is the real deal and that you see a future with him. If he’s not welcome at their dinner parties or barbecues, then they’ll be missing out on your attendance, too. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

 This letter writer is one cool customer. First, she turns down Bob’s proposal. (Let’s call him Bob, because why not?) Then, even knowing that she’d never want to marry Bob, she got back together with him and strung him along for years and years. She became friends with Bob’s friends, thus adding to her circle of friends. Then they broke up, and she got together with Andrew, the new guy. (Let’s call him Andrew.) Immediately, she knew Andrew was “the one”, so they’ve been engaged even though they’ve only known each other for a brief while. This, despite the fact that she told Bob she had no plans of ever remarrying. She was lying! She just didn’t want to marry Bob! And she couldn’t be honest about that? No! She had to claim that she doesn’t want to remarry.

And then she gets together with Andrew, and boom, they’re engaged. Because of course they are. So it becomes clear that she was flat-out lying to Bob about her plans to never remarry.

After the dissolution of the past relationship, I started getting invitations for “one,” no guest, from the now-mutual friends.

Okay, so she’s still getting invited! That speaks well of her friends, and of her relationship with said friends, whom she met through Bob.

My ex also gets invited.

Of course he does. His friendship predates the letter writer’s friendship with these people.

Originally, some of the statements were that there was concern that he would behave poorly if I was there with my new significant other.

Well, I could be overthinking this (or underthinking it), but is it possible that the friends were concerned that Bob might behave poorly if she was there with Andrew?

I have told inviters to please not extend this type of invitation to me as I do not consider it a real invitation. It’s disrespectful to my current boyfriend to expect him to be OK not being welcome to attend an event with me when my ex would be there.

Wow, she’s cold as ice. She couldn’t care less about how she led Bob on for eighteen years, dumped him like a hot potato, and then became engaged to someone she’d just met, after telling Bob she never wanted to remarry. And she doesn’t have the sensitivity to avoid social engagements for a while with Bob’s friends so that he can have a chance to come to grips? No?

Can you please weigh in on this type of invitation and how I can get people to understand this is not OK? — Moved On But Feeling the Pushback From Friends

Yeah, that pushback is there because she pretty much discarded Bob like he was yesterday’s news. I feel sorry for the guy.

After my brother and Teri broke up, it became a sad fact of life that Teri and I drifted apart. She probably wanted me to hate Philip for being a bad boyfriend, or whatever, but I have no clue what went down between them. (All I know is that both my mother and sister terrorized Teri, and for that, I feel truly sorry for her. She told me that I’m the only sane member of my family, which is ironic, given my diagnoses.)

Would I invite Teri and my brother over at the same time? Goodness gracious, no. Not in a million years. If Teri was coming over, which I wish she’d do, then I’d make sure my brother didn’t know about it.

I myself have never been in the position of breaking up with someone and then feeling agitated that all of our mutual friends were still associating with my ex. It’s just never happened to me. The closest was when I quit being friends with Kristi, my best friend (which obviously wasn’t a romantic breakup), but my brother and my aunt are both still friends with her on social media. Go figure. It doesn’t bother me, but I don’t think it can be compared to having an ex-significant-other.

But I’d point out to this letter writer that she’s being insensitive, and that given the circumstances, she should be glad to get invitations sans Andrew for now. I don’t think anyone’s trying to be disrespectful toward Andrew; rather, they’re rallying around Bob while still including the letter writer. Geez.

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