A few weeks ago I heard from Grad School Kelly. She had recently had dinner with Grad School M. M is a very nice, incredibly outgoing person. She’s all-over friendly, and I got to see a lot of her in NJ.
When there’s a large group of friends, there tends to be a bit of, “We all know each other and we’re all friends so we should all know each other’s business.” While getting updates on people is pleasant, it doesn’t take much to veer into full gossip.
M crosses that line pretty frequently. During her meal with Grad School Kelly, M leaned over the table, all conspiratorily-like, and asked, “How are Katie* and Nick with the whole long-distance thing?”
What a silly question! First of all, even if there was something wrong, I believe that GSKelly wouldn’t even think of passing it along. And second of all, there is no way Nick and I would continue to spend thousands of dollars a year on trips that weren’t meaningful. With these two qualifications, M should have known in advance that she wasn’t going to get anything resembling a “satisfying” (read: juicy) answer to her question.
Instead, an appropriate conversation with GSKelly may have been, “I’m so happy that Katie* and Nick have managed long distance for over a year now!” In response, she might hear, “Yes, they still see each other every 4-6 weeks, and are planning some small trips in the future.” This would be (1) polite conversation with a mutual friend (2) not nosy and (3) still answer her unspoken nosy question.
Sometimes I feel like starting up a new blog. I would call it “New Rules (With Apologies to Bill Maher)” and have an etiquette theme, where I would address issues such as this.