DEAR ABBY: Last weekend, my companion and I went to one of our favorite restaurants for an intimate dinner. Per social distancing regulations, a mid-70s couple was seated approximately 15 to 18 feet away. Halfway through our meal, they began FaceTiming with their great-grandchildren and family.
Their conversation continued for more than 10 minutes, with exchanges about what presents “Jack” had received for his birthday and what the mother was fixing for dinner. To say that our dinner was rudely interrupted by their overly loud and personal FaceTime discussions would be an understatement.
I kept thinking that, surely, when they told their family members that they were having dinner at a restaurant, the conversation would have been politely discontinued by one of them. I didn’t even feel like staying for the usual coffee and dessert and, on my way out of the restaurant, I stopped by their table to gently but firmly say I thought they had been extremely rude. The man stood up and accused me of being the one who was being rude. He went so far as to run after our car yelling as we pulled out of the parking lot.
I don’t even carry a cellphone with me when in a restaurant, beauty salon or other public place as I feel everyone deserves privacy on either side of the conversation. Is it wrong to politely make people aware of their inconsiderate actions when it affects others? — ANNOYED IN FLORIDA
DEAR ANNOYED: It would have been perfectly acceptable to make your thoughts known to the manager of the restaurant, while pointing out that the carryings-on at the nearby table was the reason you didn’t stay for dessert and coffee. Frankly, you were lucky the man who ran after your car didn’t go further than he did.
DEAR ABBY: Am I wrong? Our special-needs son and his dad (my husband, “Nick”) often get into nasty arguments. Usually, it’s over nothing worth yelling about, but if it’s not going Nick’s way, Nick starts yelling and swearing, using ugly words.
As a mother, I step in and tell him to stop the yelling and swearing. Then he yells at me and tells me to “butt out” because I’m making it worse and to mind my own business. As a mother, isn’t this what I am supposed to do? Our son is 46, but he has the mental capacity of an 8- to 10-year-old, plus other health problems. — CONCERNED MOM
DEAR CONCERNED: I don’t think you are wrong for trying to intercede. However, it might be more effective to point out to your husband, while you are both calm, that an adult sinking to the level of an 8- to 10-year-old is ridiculous and ineffective. I wish you had mentioned what kind of things your husband and son argue about, but since you didn’t, allow me to point out that there are better ways to deal with conflict than screaming matches.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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