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Miss Manners: New contact info should be shared only with permission

Dear Miss Manners: My sister and I are unusually divided over an issue concerning some behavior by a dear friend whom we’ve known for years.

Upon leaving for college, he changed his email address and, most recently, his cellphone number. However, he has mentioned this only to a couple of people, and as a result, numerous people have called us complaining about his disconnected number and their returned emails.

I am not opposed to giving out this information, but I am wondering if it’s a little rude to change such contact information without letting close friends know and to expect others to get the word out. Should I confront my friend?

Gentle Reader: Assuming that you intend to publicize your friend’s new email address and telephone number – rather than the numerous complaints about his behavior – Miss Manners must first ask: Are you sure that it was his intent to share?

It is this question that you should pose to your friend, as it will allow you to determine what to do next without directly criticizing his behavior. If he agrees the information is for distribution, you may then suggest that he notify people from whom he wishes to hear. If, however, he is making a fresh start, the most you can promise the discarded would be to forward their messages.

Bringing a date to a funeral

Dear Miss Manners: Is it proper to bring a date to a funeral when the date has never met the deceased or any of the family?

My brother-in-law brought a girl he was dating (and eventually married) as a date to my mother’s funeral and later made some comment that we weren’t friendly to her. We were shocked that our parent had died and were mourning, and not in the mood to socialize or meet new people.

Gentle Reader: A funeral being a serious affair, Miss Manners applies the same standard to the relationship as to the date herself.

Fiancees are acceptable, passing interests are not. As this couple subsequently married, you can presume that they were serious enough for your brother-in-law to want her to be a part of family occasions. What is outrageous is for either of them to have expected her to be entertained under such circumstances.

Introducing a divorced couple

Dear Miss Manners: How do I properly introduce the divorced parents of the groom?

Gentle Reader: They’ve already met.

Oh, you mean to other people. “This is Zachary’s mother …” “This is Zachary’s father …” along with their names.

This column was co-written by Judith Martin’s son, Nicholas Ivor Martin.