Miss Manners: Should couples sign greeting cards for each other?


Dear Miss Manners: What do we think these days of who, in a couple, signs a greeting card?

A few years ago I had surgery and missed a family reunion. My sister very kindly sent a “recovery” card, signed by the four women present at the meeting, on behalf of themselves and their husbands. In two of the couples, it is the husband with whom I am related.

I have to admit I was a bit shocked that not everyone signed their own name in those days. Like, they were all just sitting there together.

An aside: when I was married, my husband never signed a card that I sent, but he threw a fit if I refused to sign a card that he sent. I was confused by this.

you will forgive Miss Manners if she throws her own tantrum over the impersonal nature of greeting cards in the first place. To add eight signatures to it is even more insulting – as if a treaty was being signed, not a wish for a speedy recovery.

The right thing to do is write the words – and Miss Manners is sorry to tell you this, but only one person can do it. However, you can add: “Tito adds his wish that you recover soon.”

Yes, one person in the couple will get by easily. So Miss Manners suggests that you take turns or trade this task for another task.

Dear Miss Manners: My wife and I worked diligently to encourage good manners in our boys as they grew up, and now that they are adults we are generally happy with their progress – except for one novelty.

They both started eating terribly fast, and not just having a midday sandwich while working remotely. Even in good restaurants, we watch them tear up their meals, finishing as my wife and I are just getting started. They’re not messy, just fast.

We talked to them both discreetly about it, explaining how their speed can make others uncomfortable, while depriving the table of a welcome conversation. But they don’t seem to see it as a real problem and always forget when we share a meal again.

Is there something good-natured, but still “hard-hitting”, that my wife or I can say when this happens? (Obviously only when there are only four of us; we wouldn’t embarrass them in front of other guests.)

The parents, even of adult children, always have the right to express their concerns about their health and morals. But the former may be easier to digest for these children.

“Wow. You must be hungry, but I’m afraid with your fast food you’re choking. Please try to slow down so we can all enjoy the meal and the conversation together. If that doesn’t work, Miss Manners is certain that eating like this in front of potential romantic partners might prove more effective.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday at washingtonpost.com/board. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

Mika R. Pyle