DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends is a very open woman. She likes to talk about every aspect of her life and doesn't think to notice who else is listening. At a cocktail party recently, she was talking about how she uses Nair on her husband's back because they agreed he is too hairy. She then went on to say how great their bedroom life is. My other friend and I were shocked. Usually, we can just laugh about how "Carol" overshares, but I thought this was way too personal. I do not want to hear it.
I asked Carol how she thinks her husband would feel if he knew what she was saying about him, and she looked puzzled. She said, "Well, I only told you and a couple of other girls. There's no way he'd find out." I couldn't carry on the conversation much longer, so I excused myself.
I know women always laugh about Carol's ways, but I think they will begin to judge her negatively. I don't want to infringe on Carol's free speech, but I do want to remind her that not everybody is ready to hear such personal details. Is that overstepping my boundaries? I also do not want her to think I don't support her -- I just want to appropriately mingle at these events. -- Against Oversharing, Milwaukee
DEAR AGAINST OVERSHARING: You didn't ask Carol the right question. Don't beat around the bush. Tell her that her intimate stories make you uncomfortable, and you don't want to hear them. Add that when she shares them in public settings, it makes other people uncomfortable. Suggest that she stick to small talk when in public, and that she limit details about her personal life. Most people do not want to know.