What to Do When the Claws Come Out at the Nail Salon?

Eavesdropping, backstabbing, and polish changes, oh my!

Dear Monica,
I am a woman in her 50s and I am really troubled by a recent experience. I was in the nail salon talking to an old friend and a woman behind us thought she overheard our conversation. She then proceeded to repeat it to a mutual friend, completely inaccurately, and now the mutual friend is extremely upset. What do I do? —W.S., Ardmore, PA

The first rule of thumb is to only opine about the weather at the local nail salon. You never know what kind of troublemaker could be lurking around the next mani/pedi station.

Even if you were talking to a close friend and having a benign conversation, someone nearby could be listening to every fifth word that you say and then spewing it back in speed-dial mode to her nearest and dearest (heaven forbid it becomes a Facebook posting or a tweet!). The first thing you should do is swat your gossip hound on the nose. Deal with her directly. I would preferably get her phone number and call her (e-mails can be a trap that can be passed on to whomever she wishes). Ask the friend you were at the salon with to do likewise. Tell the aged middle-school wannabe about the damage she has caused to your mutual friend by repeating inaccurate gossip. Chances are this conversation will not go well because people do not like to be called out on their bad behavior. Next, I would call your mutual friend and have a frank conversation about what was said, as opposed to what was repeated. Anyone who would take a call from a so-called friend, feigning concern over what they thought they heard is a fool indeed. True friends would never do such a thing.

Take heed, there is nothing more off-putting than women with too much time on their hands and limited social grace. Not all the women in the salon are there for beautification purposes.  Moral of the story… when in the nail salon, text instead of talk, and remember “Wicked” is not just the best nail color for fall; unfortunately, it’s a personality type that we all need to deal with at one time or another.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles.  Please send your questions to: monica@selectivesearch-inc.com