DEAR MISS MANNERS: Could you please say something about the rudeness of asking people how much money they make?
I have a relative who sees nothing wrong with doing this. Sometimes it’s done during a party he is hosting, and other times he just asks, even if there are others present. When I’ve pointed out (in private) that this is rude, he says, “But I want to know.”
Please expand on the personal nature of money and salaries. He reads your column.
GENTLE READER: We are all of us curious about things that are none of our business -- that is why secrets and search engines were invented.
Miss Manners’ mailbox is flooded with letters about people who think they are owed presents and financial assistance by friends and relatives who show evidence of being “loaded.” This rude practice does not need any assistance by asking outright.
You may therefore assure your relative that it is unequivocally impolite to ask anyone how much money they make. Even if he really wants to know.