Recording another person without express permission is rude, and the potential subject is well within their rights to say, “I request that we all please stop recording, so we can enjoy our time together.”
Miss Manners intends for the listener to consider the possibility that the speaker will ensure that the time is not enjoyable, should recording continue. But she adds that any such action must be subtle enough to be deniable later.
Dear Miss Manners: I am ashamed to admit that I never sent out thank-you notes after my wedding. It was a hectic wedding crammed into a week-long university break. I did write the notes, and because it was a few months after the event, they said something to the extent of, “We know it’s been a while, but we still wanted to thank you for coming and supporting us” — personalized, of course, with how each person made that day great.
The problem is that I never sent them out. Every time I would go to do it, I’d feel embarrassed that I hadn’t done it earlier, and I worried it was tacky. Then I would go to throw them out, but I would see the names on the envelopes and get filled with so much gratitude for those who made my special day that much more special.
Soon it will be my fifth wedding anniversary. Is it too tacky to send them out so late? Or should I write new ones, apologize for not sending them sooner and give an update on our life? Or should I just let it go and be better in the future? (Which I have! My thank-you notes for my baby shower went out the very next week!)
The problem with not getting thank-you notes out on time is that, when you do write, the letters have to be longer — not only to contain the apology, but also to demonstrate effort and, thereby, contrition.
The assumption, of course, is that the delay is measured in weeks or a small number of months. Not wanting to contemplate the tomes that would atone for five years of neglect, Miss Manners suggests a different approach.
Write a new, chatty letter — a different letter for each guest, please — in which you thank them for the original present and make a sincere apology. Close with a humorous, self-deprecating reference to the previously unsent missive, which you will now enclose. If you can make your friends laugh good-naturedly (at you), you may consider the case closed.