laplumeDear Ms. Plume,

I recently had a couple visiting me for a couple of days. When they left I found a few bottles of Bourbon in the trash. I don’t care who drinks what or when, but she doesn’t drink, and she thinks he isn’t drinking. So in addition to the fact that no one bothered to tell me I needed to replenish my liquor cabinet, I’m a bit worried that his drinking problem has resurfaced. Should I say something to my friend?




Dear Kay,

Are you familiar with the literary references to “shooting the messenger”? In short, it means that one who is the bearer of bad news may well bear the brunt of anger on the part of the person who receives the news. If you are concerned, address the person directly; no one should give credence to third party information. No matter what your intentions are, it reeks of gossip to talk about someone behind their back and unfortunately friendships can be easily lost or broken when a simple honest and direct conversation may well remedy the situation.

L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

I am just not good with remembering people’s names if I meet several people at an event. The other evening I was introduced to quite a few new people and I got two of the men confused and mistakenly asked the wrong one how he liked living at a nearby elderly community; he seemed quite offended and has not let me forget the reference. It may well be that he has an oblique sense of humor but I’m embarrassed. What can I do?



Dear Emmy,

Well, you can’t take it back and if he is determined not to let you forget it, simply smile sweetly the next time you see him and ask how the food is in his assisted living facility. It reminds me of one of my pet peeves, along with the misuse of pronouns – people who, when you introduce them to someone you’re not sure they know, say something like “Oh, thank you so much for introducing me to Betty, we’ve just been friends since we were three,” while looking at you like you’ve lost your mind.

L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

What is the proper etiquette for what to do if you have inadvertently broken something when you are a guest in someone’s home? I was handed a dish at a dinner party, and in the process of reaching for it, I knocked over a wine glass and broke it. When I offered to replace it, I was told that it was priceless Waterford crystal and the pattern was discontinued. Additionally, the hostess made a fuss about how the set was now not complete. I was mortified and don’t know what to do.



Dear Sandy,

Accidents happen. Ask her for the name of the pattern and see if you can find a replacement on ebay or If you can find one and can afford it, buy it for her. If not, at the very least she will know you made the gesture. It’s not acceptable to make guests feel badly when they are in your home and if you choose to use your precious things you need to accept that something can get broken.

L. A. Plume

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