City official’s wife feels political burn
DearAmy: My husband of 40-plus years, “Paul,” is an elected official in our city who is also involved in state and national politics.
He is clearly respected. People often engage me when he is not around and ask howhe feels about a certain issue or candidate.
If I answer, I find myself embroiled in an uncomfortable conversation. I have tried redirecting people to Paul, but they usually barge ahead with their comments. Because of my marriage, they seem to assume that politics is “my thing” too.
This is getting more and more challenging, especially in today’s political climate. I’m trying to come up with a reply to let people know I want to stay away from political conversations. Should I say, “Could we please talk aboutother things— I’mona political fast?”
I want to be both tactful and clear about my intentions. Whatcan you suggest? — TheWife
Dear Wife: I like your response — it is clear and polite. Following up your statement with a question directed at your inquisitor might further redirect the conversation, although it does occur tome that even a polite query about the weather (“Wow, can you believe this drought?”) can be made political these days.
I further suggest carrying a supply of your husband’s business cards. You can hand one out and say, “I can’t speak for him, but his emailaddress inon this; I hope you will feel free to get in touch with him.”
I face this issue (to a lesser extent) because of the work I do. And so when I’m having coffee at the local diner and someone approaches me with a personal problem theywould likeme to try to fix, I will sometimes say, “That sounds like a good question for my column. Why don’t you send it to me and I’ll see if I can tackle it?” This is a way to try to differentiate between the personal and professional, which is what you are politely trying to do.
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