Miss Manners: How should we celebrate my son’s graduation?

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Dear Miss Manners: My son will be graduating high school, and I’m thinking about how to celebrate. When his sister graduated years ago, we had a nice party at our home. Her friends, past teachers, church families, neighbors and everyone in between stopped by to wish her well.

Little bro doesn’t have many friends, and he hasn’t found any teachers he connects with. We no longer go to church, and we have moved 45 miles from our previous hometown. I worry a party just wouldn’t go well for him. He says he doesn’t want any acknowledgment, but this is a huge milestone, so I want to do something.

He suggested a trip, which I have agreed to. But I had an additional idea and want your advice on it. I thought about sending out graduation announcements with a little card for the recipient to send back. On the card, I would have them finish the sentence, “If I could go back and give my 18-year-old self one piece of advice, it would be …,” or something along those lines. I think it would be neat to hear what advice my older family members have to offer.

My thought is that this would be a way for extended family and old friends to recognize his accomplishment, and maybe also for him to receive some monetary gifts to use on the trip.

What are kids doing these days instead of graduation parties?

To extract money from relatives and their parents’ friends?

Miss Manners was with you until you mentioned that. How nice to celebrate your son’s graduation, and in a way that is tailored to him. A family trip sounds like a lovely idea. The idea of soliciting advice for him was undoubtedly well meant, although that might not be on a teenage boy’s wish list. And the people you ask might resent being given homework.

It may be a good thing that the pandemic partially halted those grown-up parties for graduates. Guests tend to interpret them as, well, what you also suggest: gift grabs. Graduation announcements are also interpreted as such in these crass times, although surely all that is necessary for a recipient to do is to offer congratulations.

Send the announcements if you like, but please only to people you have reason to believe would be pleased to be notified. Excitement about the high school graduations of acquaintances’ children tends to be somewhat limited.

Dear Miss Manners: I spent a year in England as a transfer college student. I met a nice guy, and I’m planning to move there to be with him.

The only thing is, he has requested more than once that I start using their lingo instead of the typical American phrasing, such as saying “loo” instead of “bathroom” or “lift” instead of “elevator.” That kind of thing.

He said some English people he knows have an unfavorable view of Americans and it makes me stick out in a negative way. What do you think?

That it would be helpful to know what the English gentleman thinks before committing yourself to him. Is it pride in his nationality? Or shame at yours?

Miss Manners would consider it reasonable of him to expect you to use the language of the country you are visiting. But if he is embarrassed of you being American and is choosing to cater to the prejudices of others, you should reconsider.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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