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Posted by Robin Abrahams  March 23, 2014 09:49 AM

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... is online here. Is it ever permissible to cancel plan A because Plan B showed up?

The official etiquette line is that you don't cancel plans because something better comes along. If you've promised the new girl in class that you'll come over and help her alphabetize her record collection, you don't ditch her just because the quarterback asked you out for a malted. As an ethical principle, this is simple and perfect, a little touch of Golden Rule. In practice though, everyone knows that Old College Roommate in Town for One Night trumps Hanging Out at Home Depot with Jim, even if you promised Jim weeks ago that Sunday was Home Depot night. Jim, of course, would bail on you if it were his old college roommate in town, so he understands. Sometimes we do wind up canceling plans, not because we value one friend more than the other, but because some feasts are movable and others are not.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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