I just learned that it is rude to lift the menu off the table

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I just read that it is bad manners to lift your menu completely off the table.

I’m in a dilemma: I suffer from myopia, so sometimes I need to hold the menu a little further away from my eyes than the tabletop allows.

HAPPY READER: This bizarre directive was definitely intended for kids who think it’s fun to fold their menus over their heads like hats. While she wonders who came up with this unauthorized instruction, Miss Manners can assure you that it does not apply to you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I recently moved after many years in the same residence, and my friends who helped – and even the paid mover – kept saying things like, “You already have one umbrella; why do you need more?”

I moved quickly to get out of a terrible relationship and had to deal with comments and ridicule about the things I decided to keep. (I had hired the mover because of my extensive container garden – a quick but bad decision. He had received five-star ratings from other customers, but God only knows how.)

I love the friends who helped, but seriously, shut up if you don’t have something nice to say.

HAPPY READER: There is definitely a difference between movers you have hired and friends who have offered to help move your household. Professionals shouldn’t criticize your belongings – just move them or advise you on how to do it – and you can quietly ask them to get on with the job.

But when you set generous friends loose among your private things, they don’t become completely impersonal. You don’t have to defend their choices, but you don’t have to tell them to mind their own business either. If they did, they wouldn’t be there.

So if they notice you’re being taxed for having too many umbrellas, you can just smile and say, “I expect rain.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A small group of friends met for lunch at a local ethnic restaurant. The meal was done and I needed a doggie bag.

Before I had a chance to advise our server, another member of the group exposed another member of the server and proceeded to instruct him on how to take care of my leftovers, right down to what kind of container to use.

This conversation was conducted in a language that I do not speak. All staff speak English quite well.

I was reprimanded by my partner for making it clear that I did not appreciate the intrusion. Was I out of line?

HAPPY READER: Whew. At first Miss Manners was concerned that your dining companion had pinched your leftovers.

As it is, she doesn’t quite understand why you’re upset. You seem to have decided that your friend was motivated by a bossy desire to control your life, which of course Miss Manners would condemn.

But she has another suspicion: Your friend is proud of being able to speak a foreign language and rarely gets a chance to try it in the native language. Can you not find it in your heart to consider this endearing?

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

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