laplumeDear L. A. Plume,
I heard through a third party that someone we both know thought I was rude to them by ignoring something they said. I simply didn’t hear them. I was wondering why this person had basically stopped speaking to me and now I know why, but the intervening person was asked not to tell me. What kind of nonsense is that and is there anything I can do?


Dear Marge,
If someone you know, no matter how peripherally, has an issue with you and can’t take it up with you directly, then you probably don’t need to bother with them anyway. Ms. Plume does not condone this whiny “let’s go behind someone’s back and tell them not to tell” behavior; it’s is childish, to say the least. Once upon a time, way back when I was a teenager, I didn’t like to wear my glasses when I went out. I couldn’t see across the room, and occasionally people thought I was ignoring them; they thought I was being snobby, when, in fact, I was just as blind as a mole. Sometimes, it’s just not all about them. If you have not responded, or have seemingly scowled, or have supposedly said, or not said, something, they should have the courtesy to ask you if that was your intention. If they don’t ask, then they just don’t really care, and neither should you.
L. A. Plume

Dear L. A. Plume,
What can be done about houseguests who over-stay their welcome and act like you’re the maid? I have a beach house and feel like a hotel chain with friends who want to stay for a week at the beach. I don’t have help, so everything has to be done by me. And it’s not my vacation, so I have obligations that need to be kept and am not free to play every day. Some friends from another life location have recently plopped themselves on my porch like a tub full of arrogance, wondering when I’m fixing their next meal. How can I get rid of them?
Going Nuts

Dear Going Nuts,
Of course it’s nuts at your house – you have a closet full of coconuts plopped on your porch. Hide all your food and sweetly inquire who is going to buy the groceries and fix dinner for you tonight. Or where are they planning to take you for dinner? Borrow a huge tip jar from one of the local bands and put it in the center of your kitchen counter. Or simply use your words and tell them that you are not the maid and they can pitch in and help or pitch their tent elsewhere. Those “friends” are also called “freeloaders.”
L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
I’m part of a group of women who get together to play cards and go out for lunch. One of the women always gets up to leave before everyone else, before the check comes, and puts some money on the table for her lunch. But it is never quite enough, as she hasn’t accounted for the tax and appropriate tip. The rest of the group always covers it and doesn’t say anything, but it’s starting to annoy some and I don’t want to see the group break up over this. Is there a solution?
A Penny Lost

Dear Penny Lost,
Make that “a penny found” by asking the waitress to bring separate checks, or just a separate check for her, at the same time she brings the food. Tell the woman that you don’t want her to be “inconvenienced” by having to estimate her share.
L. A. Plume