1. KM

    I met a (very good) old friend and we exchanged numbers. A few days later he asks to meet with me to share something “very important”. I asked what it is about. Several times. “It’s very important”.

    If it’s so important why won’t he give a hint? He says it’s not marketing or anything. Anyway, I think it’s rude to just say “It’s very important” and asking for my time. How I deal with this?

    • Graceandhonor

      Perhaps he has fallen madly in love with you and wants to declare it to you upon bended knee. Call him and ask what you should wear when he proposes to you. That should break this impasse.

      • KM

        Ahaha that’s funny. I only meant “he” to be gender-neutral. “He” was peddling insurance after all. Anyway, how do I get salespeople friends to be more honest than “very important”? The only thing I can think of is to turn him down if he doesn’t say what’s up, which is virtually impossible given that he is a good friend.

        And because it’s “very important”, I can easily smell a sales pitch from light years away. I find it annoying and rude.

        • Graceandhonor

          Yes, it is rude for people to use this ruse and like you observe, who do they think they are fooling? I would respond along the lines of, “I don’t make appointments unless I agree to the nature of them and I’m sure you don’t want me thinking you are being less than straightforward, now do you?”

          • KM,
            Graceandhonor’s response is perfect! Your friends are putting you in a very uncomfortable place … first, they are, by underhanded means, asking you to listen to a sales pitch you probably have no interest in hearing, and then second, placing you in the position of gracefully saying no in such a manner that it doesn’t do damage to your friendship. There is something very upside down and backwards here!

            By addressing the matter directly and openly, as G&H suggests, you are eliminating all the game playing. I can tell you from experience that their approach of “It’s very important” will in no way work in the business world, if they are even attempting it there, so they should not be trying it out on their friends. It speaks to how they conduct themselves professionally, and to be honest, it doesn’t speak well.

            If you are so inclined and the friendship is such that you are able to speak freely and offer constructive criticism, you might come right out and say something along the lines of “Sam, I feel like you are wanting to sell me something and your approach is making me uncomfortable. I would much prefer you were upfront with what you want to talk with me about. I know you are in the insurance business … if that is the issue, then may I suggest that you approach a person, especially a friend, with something along the lines of ‘I’ve been learning a lot about the need for insurance and I’d like to share some of it with you. It’s very important and I want to make sure you all of your needs are taken care of.’ I think it would go over much better.”

            Your time is valuable; hang onto it as you need, give it away freely when you feel comfortable!

  2. WL

    Here is a question of modern times. I have to address a letter to two women who are legally married and share the same last name. Should it be addressed to Mrss. Ms and Ms. or by first names only?

    • Graceandhonor

      “The Mmes. Liz and Jan Jones.” The period is optional. “Mmes.” is the abbreviation for Mesdames, which is the plural of Mrs. This, I believe, would apply if they view their union in “traditional” terms, but they may well have decided to refer to themselves as Ms. Liz Jones and Ms. Jan Jones, in which case you could write their names this way or Mss. Liz and Jan Jones. Since this is rather uncharted territory, I can’t imagine they would be offended if you simply ask them how they would prefer to have correspondence addressed to them.

    • Lady Antipode

      Graceandhonor, as usual, has the best answer. I wouldn’t use first names only, but you may be able to omit a title altogether and address it to ‘Liz and Jan Jones’ on the envelope, and on the letter itself as ‘Dear Liz and Jan’ depending on your familiarity and the nature of the letter.

      If you do ask the ladies, please let us know their response, so that this territory may begin to be charted (at least in this corner of the internet).

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