City of­fi­cial’s wife feels po­lit­i­cal burn

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - PUZZLE -

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.

Read­ers can send email to askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com.

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