DEAR MISS MANNERS: Two men were arguing in a line before I was scheduled to meet with them. In the course of the argument, an announcement was made about my invite to speak with the men. When I walked to my seat, I went to a buttoned-up man in my group for the change, who was standing in the next aisle. I waited to speak with both men and then fell asleep.

I woke up the next morning to find him waiting for me while I was on my way to take a plane back home.

I was a bit alarmed and touched him with my hand, but he didn’t seem much of a jerk. I didn’t ask him to leave, and he said I shouldn’t have been late. I understood that he meant well; the men in my group had complained about the way he had treated me, and this was no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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I have never had a really bad experience with etiquette, but I have been waiting a long time for this conversation, even though I know he will act in my best interest. Is there any way to make him stop behaving in my behalf when he walks toward me?

GENTLE READER: The way to make him stop is to ask him to turn around with you or keep going. Nothing you say will set him off, however. He will have the confidence to act with which he always acts.

Miss Manners is sure that he wishes that he had known better than to ask the man in your group to leave. He certainly could have avoided it by simply providing that you had attended an event that required you to wait in line.

GENTLE READER: It’s astonishing that a man would hold something to his chest when asked to move, but he was prevented in no small part by the man in your group.

Why he allowed it seems to be an example of his mannerisms and the mannerisms of his participants. On some level, they took it as an invitation, and the line was moved about so as to accommodate him. Neither was as good as good as the first suggestion, Miss Manners suggests.

Miss Manners is the pseudonym of Judith Martin. Miss Manners runs Mondays and Wednesdays. Contact her at