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Miss Manners' Basic Training: The Right Thing to Say

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To navigate socially in a culture of confession, Miss Manners recommends ”the survival skill of restraint.” The Right Thing to Say provides useful retorts to clumsy conversational gambits like ”When are you going to have a baby?” and ”I’ve found God.” But many of Miss Manners’ rejoinders are so indirect as to be ineffective (a cool ”thank you” in response to a thinly veiled insult?) or downright dishonest (declining a marriage proposal by professing unworthiness?). And if you heed all her formulas for restraint, including avoiding social talk about sex, religion, politics, money, and illness, you’ll end up a bona fide bore. B