Monday, March 3, 2014

What's Wrong With These People? (Nosy Friend)

Dear Madame L,

This friend of mine is always asking me questions about things that are none of her business. She wants to know how much I'm paying for rent, how much I still have outstanding on my student loan, how much I weigh, what I paid for my new sofa, stuff like that. What can I say to her?


Would Like More Privacy

Dear Private Person,

Madame L would like to know why you are friends with this snoopy person.

Are you maintaining this friendship because you work together? Because your mothers are friends? Because you were friends in high school or college? None of those is a good enough reason for this person to be asking questions you're unwilling to answer.

If you really think she's your friend, or you have to remain civil to keep your job, you should be able to say, "Oh, I never talk about such personal things." And then change the subject.

Otherwise, Madame L thinks now --- or any time soon --- would be a good time to start telling her, "None of your business." And then, if she gets all huffy or acts like you should be okay with those personal questions because of your so-called friendship, you tell her that's it.

Yes, there are many other ways to deal with such a person. Madame L has tried some of them herself. However, she warns you that they may backfire. For example, if you ask that kind of person how much SHE weighs, how much SHE owes the bank, and so on, she may tell you, and then use her own so-called openness as an excuse to keep asking you more.

So: Use your verbal judo skills to deflect, or get out of the ring.


Madame L

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