DAME’s Friendkeeper helps put the kibosh on a dinner guest’s entourage and tells us how to deal with a NSFW colleague.
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I was having a small dinner party the other night, when my friend arrived with, well, an entourage—four extra guests. The party was for six people. This wasn’t the first time. She also brings food, in an attempt to offset being inconsiderate, but she can’t seem to go places without summoning others or traveling in a small group. It’d be one thing if we were in our 20s. But we’re in our 40s, and this is just … weird. Right? It’s not like she’s bringing along people I know—they’re usually people I’ve maybe met once or twice, or never. Always nice, always interesting, but WTH? I know she’s done this to other friends, so it’s not just me. And we’ve all asked her to stop, but it’s like she’s a people-addict, she just can’t help herself. I mean, c’mon, grow up. Is this her trying to hold on to the last vestiges of youthful irresponsibility? Do I just roll with it? Do I stop inviting her to do stuff? Her bringing food tells me she knows it’s wrong and is trying to make it right, but girlfriend’s got a problem.
Friends With a Female Vincent Chase
Yep. Girlfriend’s got a problem and she’s trying to make it your problem. I know the type all too well. This friend of yours sees a gathering as a hootenanny and you are a grown-up who’d like to have the guests you choose and the meal you make and not with a side of KFC to fill in the holes. Have you ever asked her why she does this? Is she afraid to leave anyone out? Does she feel lonely traveling to and from dinner parties? Is she cleaving to her lost youth? Maybe you can find out, but either way it’s not okay for her to do this, and this is something you need to be clear about if you still want to have her over. “I’m inviting you for dinner, I have six chairs and six servings of Veal Prince Orloff, please do not bring any extra people or food.” I might even remind her again prior to the evening. “Are you coming? Are you alone?” If she can’t help herself, you just have to meet her at restaurants or let her have the functions at her own home where she can control the list. You should not be tyrannized by this. Viva good manners!
I started hanging out with a colleague who I like a lot. Only problem is: She is a chronic oversharer. There is no detail I don’t know about her and her husband, and whatever else is going on. Like, I know the trends of her menstrual cycle, the faces her husband makes during sex, the circumference of her … okay, you get the picture. Anyway, she’s given me so much information that I’m getting a little skeeved out. Am I being a prude? Why is she telling me all of this? It’s just so … personal. I mean, we work together, sit in meetings together, and I feel like I’ve practically had sex with her. Would it be wrong of me to tell her to rein it in? Because I do want to remain friends but I also don’t want to feel like I’ve just had a three-way with her and her husband.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear the question because I was writhing on the floor screaming. Me no like that kind of talk. I wonder about people who do this. I have a little, I guess you could say rule, about things that can’t come into my ears: anything involving bodily functions/excretions or someone else’s sex life (unless the sex story involves how a dude came to bed dressed as a bunny). I know there are certain people who just do this. (I think it’s the same people who say “bowel movement.”) I think some of it has to do with the way a person was brought up. Maybe she doesn’t know how to get close to people or maybe she just doesn’t get embarrassed. See if you can guide her to talk about reasonably personal things, like her middle name. But you can also tell her you’re not comfortable with that kind of information. If that doesn’t work I think it’s completely fine for you to react to these stories as they are happening. Stick your fingers in your ears and sing “The Immigrant Song.” She’ll get the message. Or if that feels too over the top you can just make a small sign that says NSFW (Not Safe For Work) and hold it up whenever she goes into her flow.
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