Miss Manners: Was I wrong to use a fake name on a dating site?

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Dear Miss Manners: I am trying to find a relationship through online dating. I believe in honesty and my online profile is completely accurate with one exception.

Although the dating site encourages users to use their real first names as screen names, I’m uncomfortable with that. Instead, I use a pseudonym (let’s call it “Biff”) which I think is unlikely to be mistaken for a real name. When corresponding with women on the site, if it looks like we will meet eventually, I explain that my name is not Biff in real life.

No one has ever complained about it, and it turns out a lot of women do the same. However, I recently had a video chat with a woman which I forgot to disclose. She came into the chat thinking I was Biff and got very upset when she found out otherwise. She said I cheated on her.

I tried to explain, but she wasn’t satisfied. She quickly logged out and then blocked me on the dating site.

What is your opinion on this? Did she overreact, in which case I might be better off not getting involved with someone who has a short fuse? Or did I make the mistake?

introduce yourself first under false premises was once a serious offence; in the context you cite, unfortunately this is just common sense.

You were right to give your real name when you did – but it seems the lady overreacted (which saves you having to know her). In the future, you may be able to choose an even more obvious no-name, such as [email protected] As you’ve already learned, you won’t be the only person on the site to ignore the encouragement to use your real name.

Dear Miss Manners: I sell furniture on commission. Is it appropriate to ask customers to ask me personally if and when they return to the store? Also, is it appropriate to let them know about my days off, so they don’t come and buy someone else something when I’m not around?

It’s important to me to make as many sales as possible, but I don’t want to sound greedy or pushy. My first thought was to write the information on the back of my card – my days off and a request they are asking for me.

If either or both are acceptable, can you please advise me on the correct and most polite verbiage to use?

If you don’t wish to appear greedy or pushy, which would not win his loyalty, give him your card and tell him that you would be very happy to help him again if he needs anything else at the coming.

Even the least observant customer will guess that you work on commission, but most will still appreciate your expressing it as a desire to help them rather than advance you.

Miss Manners would apply the same principle of emphasizing the positive to the question of availability: providing the times when you will be working, instead of the times when you will not, has the added benefit of not being open to a misinterpretation.

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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