Manners Matter


Dear Mary Pat,

My husband and I are new to the county. We’ve made friends and are adjusting pretty well considering we are starting from scratch. There have been a couple of people, however, who are a little too curious about us. One asked me why we don’t have children and another asked my husband how his pay is at his new job. Even if I knew some of these acquaintances better, I doubt I would share that kind of information. I was raised never to discuss money and asking about children can be a difficult subject. Should I be flattered that people want to know all about us or are people in small communities just more nosy?


Close to the Vest

Sister Bay, WI

Dear Close to the Vest,

Living in a small town can have its perks, but living under the radar is not one of them. That being said though, the people who asked these very blunt and personal questions should really know better. No one should ever ask why someone does not have children. There could be any number of reasons, none of which should be discussed unless the couple brings it up first. And how much money someone makes? Unless it is your child’s first job at the Dairy Queen, you don’t ask how much money someone makes. Ever.

If someone asks you a direct question that you are not comfortable answering, you don’t have to. I think sometimes our first inclination is to answer a question no matter what, but it is perfectly polite to say, “that’s not something I’m ready to discuss.” People wanting to get to know about you is a good thing. You’ll find busy bodies and nosy people dotted all over the globe, so be sure to keep an open mind about living in a small community. You will hopefully find as many of us have that having people know a little too much about you is a lot better than having them not know you at all.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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