Dear Miss Manners: I think someone once said, “I have plenty of friends I don’t particularly like,” but I am lucky to have only one.
When invited for dinner or other occasions to people’s homes, this friend sends a string of photos, complete with texted descriptions and subtitles, from his cellphone to mine.
“Just look at this house!” he exclaims. “Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?” Then, I receive a series of photos of the exterior, the public and private rooms of the house, and even photos of the hosts themselves!
In a recent episode, it was obvious that the hosts were completely unaware that they were being photographed. This occurred while they were preparing dinner, serving wine and talking to other guests in a large, open-plan kitchen.
I wonder what these hosts might have thought, had they known that pictures were being sent to a person they have never met.
It continued in this fashion for part of the evening. “These people,” he stated, referring to the other guests, “are all millionaires!” And this was the subtext of yet another series of photos. “They are so rich, they spend part of the year in Europe!”
He also sent a photo of his new car in the owner’s paver-system driveway to somehow validate the point that he was in his element.
It seems to me that there are several etiquette violations taking place, but I don’t want to violate Miss Manners’ rule that I should avoid pointing them out. I have tried all the obvious ways of discouraging this practice, including simply asking him to stop.
Unfortunately, he is aware that I have unlimited service to send or receive photos and text messages. Blocking is not an option. My plea has fallen on deaf ears. What do you suggest?
Gentle Reader: Not inviting this person to your house – and deleting all his communications without looking at them or responding.
But yours is not the chief problem Miss Manners sees here. It is those innocent people whose privacy is being invaded by a rude guest who worry her. Even if they consented to being photographed for distribution, commenting on their means would be rude.
If she were not leery of adding to this distasteful gossip mill, she would be tempted to forward the material to the victims without comment, so that they could handle the situation if they chose.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.