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OPEN-DOOR, CLOSED-DOOR POLICIES

Dear Miss Manners: How is it best to deal with a tedious person who can't take a hint and who is so lonesome that he interprets every civil word as an invitation to linger and continue to talk? I've been known to open the front door and say something like, "We'll expect to see you next time, then," only to have him think of more to say -- usually about himself.

I want to model proper manners for our child, including how to "invite out" someone whose welcome has expired. If it were anyone else, I'd employ the usual strategies until he was gone and then never invite him again. Obviously, that won't work in this case. He's going to enter our home again and again, and I really need an effective way to get him to go, but without hurting our child.

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners believes in an open-door policy. Walk your guest companionably to the door, arm around his shoulders if necessary, open it, and then say, "Oh, dear, I can't let you stand here in the cold, so I'll say goodnight." When this is completed, she believes in a closed-door policy.

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