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by Abigail Van Buren

Chatter at School Bus Stop Turns to Uncomfortable Questions About Money

DEAR ABBY: I need help dealing with a neighbor problem. "Diane" and I have been neighbors for five years. We both have daughters in elementary school who ride the bus. At the bus stop, Diane always manages to point out something about my daughter or me that makes me uncomfortable. She'll ask things like, "Are those new shoes?" "I like that jacket. Was it expensive?" "You have a new hairdo; did it cost much?" Or "Wow, how can you afford such nice clothes for your daughter?" "Are those new jeans? How much were they?"

I find her prying annoying and quite rude. Most of the other parents avoid her, probably because of this behavior. I work to afford the things I have, and I don't feel I need to discuss what I spend for my child or myself with anyone. Other than this, she's a nice neighbor. What's the best way to get her to stop asking these questions? I try to ignore them, but this has been going on for years, and I'm at a loss. -- ANNOYED IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR ANNOYED: The surest way to get your neighbor to stop asking these kinds of questions would be the direct approach. Tell her questions of that nature make you uncomfortable and to please stop asking. If she persists, repeat it until she finally gets the message.

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