Discourage over-familiar friend
A firm response should deter nosy acquaintance
Dear Miss Manners: Iam at a loss. I got married last year, and not even two months after we had been married, I had a woman cross some major boundaries. This woman is not a relative on either side, and she only vaguely knows my husband’s family.
She wheedles invitations to family events out of people who won’t tell her no. During a potluck, she cornered me and said that she knew what the gender of our first baby was and that I would be pregnant in less than a month. I was incredibly unnerved by the interaction, considering this was only the second time I had met her and my husband and I had only been back from our honeymoon for less than six weeks. I am especially unhappy about a cat-and-mouse game she played about knowing but not telling the gender of our future baby. I only have two options when it comes to children, boy or girl. I can’t give birth to a litter of kittens!
She also tells me each time she sees me that she loves my laugh. She might tell me three or more times at a single event. It makes me incredibly self-conscious, and I don’t know how to address that she has mentioned it beyond what is polite or even normal. (I will acknowledge that I do have a unique and distinctive laugh and regularly get comments about it from new people. But most people mention it once or twice, then move on.)
My husband and I have now discovered that we are expecting. I am dreading telling his family simply because of this woman. How do I tell her that she has crossed boundaries and I don’t want to discuss my pregnancy nor my laugh with her?
Gentle Reader: Aha! So she was right about the pregnancy! Miss Manners does not think that her peculiar behavior was warranted, just that you might give her credit for calling it correctly.
She should be treated as any other over-attentive acquaintance. “You are so kind to notice my laugh and to take an interest in our lives. But I am afraid that we are not in a position to discuss personal family matters or the particulars of the baby’s birth at this time.” What position you are in and what time it will take place is also none of her business.
Dear Miss Manners: It seems that more and more people are looking at their phones while sitting at a red traffic light. When the light turns green, they often don’t notice immediately. Not wanting to sit at a green light (or a short left-turn green arrow) and miss my turn, how long is long enough to wait before giving the first car in line a polite toot on my car horn?