Miss Manners: I said yes to a wedding invite but now I don’t want to go

We wish this couple nothing but love and happiness in their marriage, but we have no interest in attending their wedding. Unfortunately, I’ve already said yes, and the wedding is now only three weeks away.

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How can my husband and I gracefully bow out of attending their wedding without hurt feelings all around? And are we still obligated to send a wedding gift?

For someone who claims to wish this couple the best, you are certainly suspicious of their motives.

People have all kinds of reasons for inviting guests. As you are in their social circle, perhaps their intent was to get to know you better.

Certainly, there are those who inflate their guest list for “likes” or to extort money. But although Miss Manners is loath to point it out (because a wedding is not intended to be a cost-effective transaction), it is also an expense to have you at the wedding.

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If you simply cannot bear the thought of indulging them in what you see as a media blitz, then you must send a letter of profound apology — with a far better and less insulting excuse than having no interest in their wedding. And yes, the present is optional. The hurt feelings, however, may not be.

Dear Miss Manners: I am a grown person in a graduate program. My adviser connected me via email to an administrator, introducing us by first names.

In my follow-up email to the administrator, I continued to address her by her first name, and she did the same. However, her signature was not her first name, but “Dr. So-and-so.”

How should I have referred to her when I wrote back? I feel that if she addresses me by first name, I should do the same. But I am also aware that she has a PhD and that women in academia, as well as elsewhere, are often afforded less respect than others.

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It is a matter of respect to address a new acquaintance — and especially someone in a position of authority — by their last name and preferred honorific. And a third party does not get to decide this through introductions.

Miss Manners yearns for the days when it used to be considered a great honor — in terms of status or intimacy — when the offer to use a first name was bestowed. She would think that you, as a graduate student, may want to enjoy that stature similarly one day. In the meantime, she suggests you wait until the administrator asks you to call her “Just Jen” before you do so presumptively.

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