1. Katie

    My boyfriend has been asked by his brother to be the best man for his wedding and my boyfriend agreed. Recently the bride has been suggesting that my boyfriend cut his longish rocker-style hair for the wedding. The wedding is nine months away and she is pushes the issue each time we see her and has recently got my boyfriend’s mother to beret my boyfriend in to cutting his hair (she calls him up a work and tells him that he looks awful and that he needs to grow up and get a hair cut). While I do not love my boyfriend’s hairstyle, he does and to me that is what matters. He works in the film industry, so his hair does not affect his job and most of his clients love it. I will add, that he puts a lot of effort into his hair each day and always tries to present himself well. My questions: How should he respond to the requests? Can he tell the bride and his mom that their request is rude and out of line? Is it poor etiquette of the bride to make such a request? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • To me, this is the same as when a bride tells her bridesmaids to lose weight or dye their hair. Such a request is inappropriate. As long as Boyfriend’s hair is neat and clean (pulled back, braided, or nicely combed), there should be no problem with the length of it. As frustrating as this must be for you to watch, please stay out of it except to support him. This is between Boyfriend and his family.

      And seriously – the wedding is nine months away and Bride already dictates how everyone will look during the months leading up to the wedding? Will she expect him to dress a certain way in the weeks before the wedding as well?

      • Rev. Svend la Rose

        As a former rocker, I would advise the boyfriend to pull out of the commitment and go no contact with the brother until he breaks the engagement. Some bridezilla who tells her new brother-in-law to cut his hair will not make a good sister-in-law. A bride who tells her overweight bridesmaids to lose weight will make an excellent sister-in-law, and her use of influence is proper.

    • Elizabeth

      Your boyfriend should level with the bride the next time she brings it up: “Bride, you have made your opinions about my hair clear. Now I would like to make it clear that I will not be cutting my hair before your wedding. For the wedding, I plan on wearing it pulled back into an unobtrusive pony tail (or whatever it is). But it doesn’t matter, because everyone will be looking at you, not me. I ask you to stop bringing up the topic, because it can go nowhere. Now, why don’t you tell me about the preparations you have made (bean dip)…”

  2. It's not my job to be your friend

    I work as a lifegurad at a pool. Lately a gentleman has be coming in to do water exercise every morning. He will sometimes stay in the pool for almost three hours and he feels compelled to talk to me the entire time. He will lecture me about topics about which he is not very well informed, he’ll tell inane and often gross personal stories, he’ll ask personal questions.

    I try to discourage the conversation. I’ll nod or say ‘uh-huh’ in response to questions that aren’t yes or no questions. I’ll interrupt him to greet other swimmers, but nothing seems to work. He just keeps talking, and I do not have the option of leaving to avoid him.

    I am allowed to chat with people while we guard, as long as it doesn’t distract us from scanning, so there is no work related reason why I cannot converse with him. I just find him irritating.

    Is there a polite way to say ‘Please stop talking to me, I do not enjoy conversing with you.’ or do I have no choice but to just put up with him?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Even though you are technically allowed to chat, I would imagine that in-depth conversations could potentially be distracting. Feel free to tell him “I’m sorry; I really need to focus while I’m working or someone could get hurt.”

    • Country Girl

      Unfortunately some people are very lonely in their personal lives and this leads to them really grasping to anyone who will listen to them or show any interest. Having someone to talk to can be a wonderful outlet for them, and every so often it is nice to show compassion for someone who so obviously needs a friend. However, as in this instance, this can also cross the line into the realm of annoyance. It sounds as though this gentleman has not picked up on your clues that you are not interested in daily conversation so far, so now it is indeed time to say something more direct.

      I wouldn’t say anything about not enjoying the conversation, as that will certainly hurt the man’s feelings and pride. But even though “technically” you are allowed to converse, a long conversation can very well distract you from subtle pieces of information that someone is in trouble. And though he may know you are able to talk with him, he can’t well assume to know what does and doesn’t distract you from doing your job. There is nothing wrong with saying something like “Mr. X, I don’t mean to offend you, but lately I’ve been noticing that when I’m wrapped up in a conversation with you I am not at my best in keeping an eye on everyone in the pool and keeping them safe. ” or in the moment you could say “I’m sorry to cut our conversation short, but I really am having a hard time concentrating on doing a good job watching the pool right now.” These are a little less subtle, so hopefully he will get the hint.

    • Jody

      I think Winifred and Country Girl have the best advice. It does sound like he’s lonely. The best thing is to politely say “I’m sorry I can’t chat with you, I really need to pay attention to the swimmers.” Bluntly telling him “you aren’t supposed to talk to us” seems to be uncalled for at this point. Do you need to sit in your chair or can you get up and walk around while watching the swimmers? If the latter, maybe that will distract the fellow. If none of the polite hints work you may need to get blunter, but not to the point of “go away you bother me.”

  3. Brockwest

    I would be more direct. Regardless of this particular pools rules, I would say, “you are supposed to talk to life guards on duty. We have to watch the pool.” Then do the 1000 yard stare.
    If he complains to management, explain that he is distracting you from your job.

    In reality, he really IS endangering swimmers.

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