Dear Frank Manners

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Q: I was recently at a dinner party at a friend’s house. All was going well until one of the guests started asking me where my wife was. Although we’ve been married for nine years, we’ve recently decided to divorce. Because it’s so recent, I am not telling many people the details, aside from family and close friends. I didn’t know what to say, so I wound up divulging more information than I really felt comfortable with. In the future, how can I politely get myself out of these sticky situations?

A: In this situation, you have two possible options: lie or tell the truth. Although common morality tells us that lying is bad, telling the inquirer that your wife had prior engagements or was staying home with your children will politely deflect attention from your separation. The second avenue is to tell the truth. Let the questioning party-goer know that you and your wife are separated, and leave it at that. If he or she asks further questions, just say that it’s still very new and you’d rather not discuss it. If he or she prods deeper, it’s time for you to find someone new to talk to.