Miss Manners: How do we accommodate a friend who is a picky eater?

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Dear Miss Manners: I am part of a small group of close-knit girlfriends. We used to be colleagues, but we remained very close after having all held different positions. We constantly talk, confide, and try to schedule a girls’ night out at least once a month among our busy schedules. I look forward to seeing these girls every time, and we always end up having a great night.

But when it comes time for us to choose which restaurant we’d like to go to, one of the girls always turns down many recommendations because she “didn’t like it”, “wasn’t impressed” or “didn’t like it”. not that”. I don’t like this type of food.

Now my other friends and I are always more than accommodating if someone mentions they’re not interested in eating at a certain place. However, this particular person always ends up ordering the exact same thing at every restaurant we go to, whether it’s a place they love or hate. (This is a dish served in all restaurants, as it is usually found on the children’s menu.)

Are we able to allow her to work around her more demanding wishes, despite the fact that she is not ordering anything other than an item? The rest of us are a bit more adventurous and would love to try new foods, but we don’t all want to exclude that friend. How should we handle this?

It’s graceful Of you not to point out that Darlene always has chicken fingers no matter what. Perhaps as a compromise, you can set a schedule where each of you can choose the restaurant when it’s your turn. That way, Miss Manners suggests, Darlene will have to tolerate the more adventurous choices of others – but then the rest of you will have to eagerly accept when she enthusiastically suggests Cluck Cluck’s or the Golden Rooster.

Dear Miss Manners: Friends and I met for an anniversary lunch. The winner chose a restaurant with white tablecloths that he knew we all liked.

About halfway through our meal, three men were seated at the table next to ours. One of the men regaled everyone at three tables around us with how wonderful, interesting and hilarious his life is. He certainly never learned to use an inner voice. Mr. Look-at-Me was getting glares and eye-rolls from several tables, but he either didn’t notice or he didn’t care.

What, if anything, could we have done in this situation? No one wanted to cause a scene, but he fundamentally changed the tone of our lunch, and apparently the others sitting nearby.

“I am not sure that you are aware of, but your voice carries, and we are able to hear all of your personal stories. I’m sure you want to keep these things private.

Next, Miss Manners suggests adding a conspiratorial, conspiratorial look – it will no doubt send him spiraling, wondering what salacious thing he inadvertently shouted.

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

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