Dear Miss Manners: When I saw one of my good and longtime friends at a party at another friend's house the other day, she informed me that she was not inviting us to her forthcoming get-together. She explained she is cooking fish and that we are vegetarians.

She also informed me that some other common friends were invited. I know that the spouse of one is also a vegetarian, so being vegetarian was not the reason. She also knew that we were busy and would not have been able to come anyway.

I can't understand why she would make a point of telling me that we were not invited. I find this very rude and I am upset. Should I be?

Gentle reader: Rather than flattered at being told "Nyah, nyah, you're not invited"?

Miss Manners is upset, too, at the emergence of the negative invitation — often bridal couples telling people they will not be invited to the wedding — and she doesn't even know your friend.

Nevertheless, she suggests you focus on the larger issues — that you have not been excluded from anything you could have attended; that your awkward friend presumably does not want you to feel left out — and ignore the smaller ones: that some carnivores are married to vegetarians; and that guests should not be excluded merely because they cannot eat everything on their plates.

All grandkids count

Dear Miss Manners: I have five grandchildren (two are my daughter's and three are my son's). My oldest grandson is actually a step-grandson, and although he has a good relationship with his biological father and grandparents, he lives full time with my son. He has been my grandson since he was very young and has always called me "Nannie" — the same as all my other grandchildren.

A friend of mine, who has no grandchildren yet, feels that I am being less than truthful when asked how many grandchildren I have and I answer "five." I feel it is unnecessary to go into a big explanation for a simple, casual inquiry. Who is right?

Gentle reader: The only thing Miss Manners can find that you are doing wrong is to consider such a heartless busybody a friend.

State your intentions

Dear Miss Manners: We invited three couples to dinner for our 30th anniversary. Are we obligated to pay the entire bill?

Gentle reader: You are obligated to notify them in advance whether you are actually inviting them, in which case you do not charge, or offering them an opportunity to buy your company.

"Miss Manners" is Judith Martin of the Washington Post. Send questions to her website,