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DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the last decade, my friend and I have relished our lunches together. I would meet her near her work after I retired, and after she retired, we met every couple of months at a favorite nearby restaurant (walking distance from her home).

She moved out of state a year ago, returning for doctor’s appointments and for our lunches, which have expanded to a few hours over the years. She is always dropped off by her husband. My husband and I would love to meet both of them for lunch, but she says she wants me to herself.

The last time we met for lunch, she was late and texted me about traffic holdups, etc., eventually arriving about 20 minutes after our reservation time. As usual, we were ecstatic to see each other. I had water, bread and menus all ready for us. When the waiter approached to take our orders, she announced that she’d already eaten.

My jaw dropped and I repeated what she just said as an astonished question. She told the waiter she’d like the dessert menu. I felt like I’d just been slapped.

The fallout is that I am having a hard time getting over her lack of consideration, and she doesn’t think she did anything wrong. To her, she just had a dessert instead of a sandwich, but I think it was super rude to have had lunch with her husband when our lunch had been scheduled months prior.

GENTLE READER: But that was your old pal. Miss Manners cannot imagine why the following dialogue did not take place.

You: What? You’ve already had lunch? We had a lunch date!

She: I know, and this is embarrassing. But Orville was hungry, and I was just going to keep him company for a few minutes while he ate, but then it looked so good that I broke down and ordered the same thing.

You: So you’re just going to sit here while I eat?

She: Sure, you go ahead. The point is not the food, but spending time with you. Anyway, I’ll have my dessert while you eat your sandwich.

You: But suppose then I want dessert?

She: You mean, will I then have to order a sandwich? But enough about the food. Tell me what you’ve been doing and how the family is.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I invited a neighbor to dinner recently. She stated that she had a busy evening already, but would stop by and pick up the dinner I offered.

I packed up dinner in a takeout container and handed it off. But I wondered: Since when does a dinner invitation mean a takeout opportunity?

GENTLE READER: Since never, and Miss Manners is astonished that you accepted not only the request but the insult. Your neighbor has made it clear that while she likes your food, she has no interest in your company.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Do you find it in poor taste to keep reading materials in bathrooms that guests use?

GENTLE READER: Why is Miss Manners certain that you are not asking about leaving a copy of The Economist in there, but perhaps something relating to the function of the room?

If the reading material itself is in poor taste, then so is leaving it there.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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