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Miss Manners: Refusing alcohol in family setting needs no explanation

Dear Miss Manners: When my husband and I spent the day with his sister and her family, as well as with extended family from out of town, my brother-in-law made sure there was a bottle of one of my favorite wines, which I thought was a nice gesture.

I confess that during the six hours we were there, I drank the whole bottle.

The next day, at a birthday party for another family member, my brother-in-law said (in a very loud voice and in front of everyone), “You sure took care of that bottle of wine yesterday, didn’t you?” He actually said it twice.

I was very embarrassed.

Since then, on visits to their home, I have replaced that bottle of wine and have politely refused wine or cocktails. I have not told him that I was embarrassed by what he said, but he has noticed that I don’t partake at their house anymore. “Are you sure you don’t want something?

I would never feel comfortable drinking at their house again. Can I just continue to decline wine or cocktails when we visit? As you know, sometimes people make it hard to refuse a drink. I don’t have to explain, do I?

Gentle Reader: No, and it is not only hosts who can’t stand the sight of someone without a drink in hand. You need only keep repeating, “No, thank you,” until you wear such people out.

But this is your brother-in-law, and he knows something is wrong, even if he has not figured out what. And despite his unwarranted announcement, there is evidence that he wants to please, not embarrass, you.

You could lightly mention that perhaps you had drunk enough that one night to cover all future visits. But if you are unwilling to discuss the matter, then it is time to forget about his gaffe and resume normal behavior, whatever you want that to be.

Nuisance emails

Dear Miss Manners: I contacted a software company via email for a small project I was assigned to about two years ago. Their services were way more than we needed for our three-month initiative. I let them know and thought everyone moved on. The project ended in 2013.

I am still getting emails asking for a few minutes of my time to talk about their products or how they can become a vendor partner for my company.

I work in a research capacity for a small department of a very large corporation, and have zero purchasing power and no clout with anyone who does. I respond as such about every six months – but I still get emails.

Is there anything I can say to get the point across?

Gentle Reader: Apparently there is nothing you can say to get the point across. But Miss Manners has good news: You are under no obligation to try.