Dis­cour­age over-fa­mil­iar friend

A firm re­sponse should de­ter nosy ac­quain­tance

The Buffalo News - - ANNIVERSARIES - Please send your ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, miss­man­ners.com; to her email, dearmiss­man­[email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, Uni­ver­sal Uclick, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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.

Miss Man­ners

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?

Gen­tle Reader:

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