Manners Matter: Silent Neighbor

Dear Mary Pat,

I pass my neighbor in the hallway of our apartment building a few times a day. I say “Good morning” or make a comment about the weather – you know, just general chitchat – and I barely get a reply. Given the fact that I can’t see her facial expression under her mask, you’d think that she would make more of an effort to acknowledge that I’ve spoken to her. I’m generally a very friendly person, and this kind of bums me out. Do you think I should start ignoring her because she doesn’t seem to want to talk?


Cold Shoulder

Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Cold Shoulder,

Maybe your neighbor isn’t adept at small talk. Maybe she’s going through a really tough time. It’s hard to know. Whatever the reason for her demeanor, you shouldn’t change how you act around her. You can continue to smile (under your mask, and maybe it will show in your eyes) and say hello when you see her in the hallway. It might brighten her day, even if she doesn’t show it, and hopefully she will reciprocate eventually. 

Good luck,

Mary Pat

Miss Pat was educated at the Finnish Finishing School for Fine Ladies. Eloquent in edifying etiquette, she is fluent in seven languages, including the language of love. Mary Pat has generously extended her counsel to you and will answer any and all inquiries. Email Mary Pat at [email protected].