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Miss Manners: I did my neighbor a favor after the snowstorm and she made me feel foolish

Miss Manners: I did my neighbor a favor after the snowstorm and she made me feel foolish

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Following a snowstorm, I went to clean off my car in its space in a reserved lot. An older woman who parks in the adjacent space was doing the same. As I was shoveling out my space, she was knocking snow off her car and letting it pile on the ground.

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I understand that older people face physical challenges, as I am in my mid-70s and heavy lifting is increasingly hard on my back. As a favor to her, I not only shoveled my space, but also cleared the piled snow from hers.

After that, she did another round of wiping snow off her car, knocking it into the area I had just cleared for her. So I reshoveled that snow.

She finished sooner than I did, and departed without either acknowledging my help or thanking me for it. I felt a bit of a fool for doing a favor for someone who didn’t care.

What do I do the next time it snows? Will I deserve the glare I’ll get if I fail to clear her space? I don’t wish to create an adversary, but neither do I wish to be made a fool again.

Either way, I won’t expect a “thank you” in the future.

GENTLE READER: Why would you not expect a thank you, now or in the future?

Miss Manners would, and she would also assume, provisionally, that your neighbor’s omission was an oversight rather than an intentional slight.

If you neglect to volunteer next time and do get an undeserved glare, Miss Manners will have been proven wrong — and you may thereafter keep to your own space.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m used to fielding “save the dates” for weddings. In those cases, they are a courtesy, allowing guests to plan for travel and time away from home.

However, I have a relative who has adopted the “save the date” practice for their young children’s birthdays, asking our availability four to six months in advance! There is no travel to plan, as all of our family members live within an hour of their home.

I can’t help but be resentful of the advance claims on my time. I may not currently have firm plans for that date, but I expect to have other demands on my time as it gets closer!

How can I best respond to inquiries about my availability so far in advance, especially when I don’t even think the child will note my presence or absence? Is there an outer limit on expecting others to hold dates for children’s parties?

GENTLE READER: Your relative would have been cleverer to have issued invitations, thereby requiring a commitment on your part if you were unable to devise an excuse.

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A request to save the date does not require a response. When the actual invitation eventually arrives, you are free to say, in a tone of regret, that you have accepted another invitation.

Miss Manners realizes this may subject you to unfair accusations that you were warned. But at least you will not have to attend the party.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.