Dear Jido – July 2022

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Dear Jido,
The other night, I was invited by a friend for Shabbat dinner. In attendance was a person who was an insufferable dinner guest. They were way too loud the entire time and monopolized the conversation. Not only did this person talk over me and others, but when people posed questions just to me, this person still felt a need to jump in before I could say anything.  

My question is this: If my friend invites me again, is there a tactful way to say that they shouldn’t invite me and this person to the same meal?[Text Wrapping Break]

Signed, 

Put-off

Dear Put-off, 

I’m not an expert, but it seems to me that every straight-forward option borders on lashon hara. Not only that, let’s say other people have also complained about that person, it could cause bad feelings between your host and that person if you also say something negative that would be considered a form of “tale-bearing.”

Therefore, short of saying, “Is the loudmouth coming?” next time you’re invited, I would suggest the following.

Enthusiastically thank your friend for the invitation and ask, “Is anybody else coming?” or “Is everyone else going to be there?” depending on which is more likely. S/he will likely mention a few of the names. If “that” person is included, just as enthusiastically answer, “Ok, thanks. Sounds great. Let me see what my wife/husband/parents/friend Joe is planning for Shabbat. Can I get back to you tomorrow?”  And then just graciously decline.  

If your host counters with, “Is it because so-and-so is coming? I noticed you were a little put off last time” a possible vanilla answer might be, “Listen, everyone is entitled to their personality.”

Enjoy your meal,

Jido