Miss Manners: They’re all so lonely. How can I help?

Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m almost in tears and I’m not even the one affected.

I have a difficult cousin who is getting married. She has no friends. No one is standing up for her, there are

Judith Martin

no showers or festivities, and the one abortive attempt at one was canceled because no one would come. I’ve had trouble with this person in the past, but I wouldn’t wish this on an enemy, much less a relative.

As I reflected on what I could do for her (I’m throwing a small party in her honor and prevailing on my own friends to come meet the bride), it occurred to me that I am surrounded by lonely friends, relatives and acquaintances who are living like virtual hermits.

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They only happen to brush up against other people at work or grocery shopping, often not even then, and they are depressed about it. I’m hardly a popular person, but I try to make introductions.

What can the somewhat-more-popular people do to relieve the friendlessness of the less popular people they know and care about? What has happened to society, Miss Manners?

Don’t worry, I won’t call it a shower when I fete my cousin, the bride. I may be an unwashed heathen about most things, but that much was drummed into my head.

GENTLE READER: Some of the things that happened to society:

Screen time.

Longer work hours.

Obligatory socializing with colleagues.

The shirking of guest responsibilities — including answering invitations, showing up and reciprocating — resulting in an unwillingness to entertain.

The shirking of host responsibilities, so that those who do entertain rarely have their hospitality reciprocated.

The notion that any gathering must be about an occasion (such as a birthday, graduation, marriage or birth), and one that involves presents for the hosts.

The redefinition

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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