What She Wants

How to Deal With Nosy People, According to the Truly Rich Lady

Do not return the vitriol.
ILLUSTRATOR ALYSSE ASILO
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Dear Truly Rich Lady:

I need your opinion on something tricky. I joined a startup company recently, and have experienced an incessant nosiness from a co-worker. She wants to know who I keep messaging on my phone. She wants to know why I don’t eat with the group during lunch. She even wants to know about my nose! If it’s real! Yes, of course it is! It has come to a point where I’ve become very nervous at just the sight of this hyena. It’s uncomfortable and I want her to stop, but I do not know how to do it.

Yours Truly,

So Very Nervous

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Dear SVN,

Are you me? I, too, have experienced this situation with a Truly Rich Chatty Cathy or Chatathy. At first, because of my natural tendency to be nice, I swallowed Chatathy’s cruelness, taking her barbed comments into my stomach like the bitter pit of a mango. This proved to be exhausting and so I did something else.

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Solution 1: Avoid the problem

This is the default, and what I initially did to manage Chatathy. Most people, Truly Rich Ladies especially, do not like to deal with conflict and will go to great lengths to avoid the discomfort of negativity.

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If you see the hyena circling, if you hear her murmuring, if you feel her sniggering, pick up the pace and put as much distance between you and this nosy person.

I myself do not like confrontations and have been known to wear out my bespoke heels just so I could avoid the presence of people like Chatathy, who, for some inexplicable reason, fancied herself a spy.

She hoped her prying would create a rise in me, but of course, as a person with excellent manners, it did not.

Chatathy wore me out though.

Solution 2: Change the topic

If the above is not feasible and your meeting is a certainty, you can re-direct the conversation. I swear, so many Truly Rich People are experts at this maneuver because we have a lot of things that we do not want to talk about, such as money, net worth, nose jobs...

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You can deflect with humor.

“Have you had a nose job?”

“I am too poor to have one!”

“You had one I can tell.”

“This is just makeup, the poor person’s nose job.”

You can deflect by asking your accuser a question. (People love to talk about themselves.)

“Your nose job? It’s great.”

“Wow, your hair looks clean today. What is your secret?”

Solution 3: Tell the truth

If the above does not work, just say: “Yes.” This will most certainly shock her or bore her and then shut her up. 

Example: You are eating a salad.

“What are you doing?”

“Chewing.”

Example: You are sending a message.

“Who are you texting?”

“My driver.”

Not a Solution: Get Angry

Do not raise your voice and jab your pointer finger near her face. Do not say, “Shut up, you!” Do not return the vitriol. Do not do these because you are only letting her get her what she wants, which is this horrible scene. You lose.

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Another Solution: Convey Your Feelings

Instead, tell her about how she makes you feel, which is uncomfortable. That is a weighty word that will make her pause. You can say: “You are making me very uncomfortable, and I would like you to please stop now.” And then pretend to march to HR. (I’m kidding!)

 

With Love,

CC Coo

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