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Loans should have promissory - and thank you - notes

Dear Miss Manners: Over 14 months, I gave a friend five sums of money - four were in the $100 to $400 range, and the last one was a loan of $5,000. This is because friend told me he has an incurable illness.

I was thanked for all five, but because of the amount of the last one, I thought I should have received a thank-you card also.

Gentle Reader: No one values letters of thanks more than Miss Manners, but don't you think you should get more than that? Perhaps a promissory note? Even if you do not expect your money back during this person's lifetime, it would be prudent to have proof of what you are owed when the estate is settled.

And yes, you should be getting letters of thanks, for small sums as well as large.

It is your money, and Miss Manners does not presume to give you financial counseling. But she must alert you to a connection between different types of responsibility. People who believe that they need not offer thanks because the generous need only the satisfaction of having given are also inclined to believe that those generous people need not be repaid, either.

Dear Miss Manners: My beautiful, talented, intelligent daughter has been dating a nice young man for some time. He is polite, articulate and treats my daughter with respect.

I ran into an acquaintance who gushed how thrilled I must be that my daughter seems serious with such a "catch." (His family is very wealthy.) I concealed my annoyance (wanting to say it is actually my daughter who is the "catch" because of her loveliness), but instead merely replied that the young man is very nice, that that's all that's important.

This person persisted, winking and insisting I wasn't being genuine. I said nothing else.

Should my daughter and this young man get engaged - a real possibility - how should I treat such clods?

Gentle Reader: Allow Miss Manners to congratulate you: You have acquired a valuable ally in the fight to protect your daughter from insult. Although the young gentleman is probably only too familiar with the sly comments people make about wealth, he is not likely to tolerate the insinuation that his fiancee loves him for his money.

You can invoke his help merely by saying, "I believe he considers himself the lucky one," or, if something stronger seems needed, "I would not advise you to let what you are suggesting get back to him."

Dear Miss Manners: I live in a lovely apartment in a very upscale neighborhood. Since moving here, I've invited new friends over to visit. However, I am at a loss as to how to handle a question that is very personal to me. Several times, I've been asked in a matter-of-fact manner by people whom I've recently met, "So, how much rent do you pay?"

I'd like to assume that these new friends are just curious about the rent in this area. However, I was brought up to consider it nosy and rude to ask questions regarding someone's finances. At first I was surprised by this question, but as it's come up several times, I'm no longer shocked.

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners plans to continue being shocked by nosiness, no matter how common it becomes. If people keep getting used to it, goodness knows what we'll all be asked next.

But for the purpose of handling such rudeness politely, your assumption that your friends are curious about rents in the area is more useful. Give them the name of your landlord or real estate agent and tell them how delighted you are that they are interested in moving into the area.