Dear Heidi: How can I tell an old friend that her tough talking ways are getting on my nerves?
We all have that one friend who's speech can be a little, shall we say, colorful? But if that's not your style, you can still find ways to peacefully coexist.
Most of us have that one friend or acquaintance, you know the "spicy" one who says things that the rest of us would never say, but maybe secretly wish we could. I have a friend whose language is peppered with the most indelicate comments. Sometimes it's downright naughty!
We have been friends for a long time, and she has a kind, big heart but a real potty-mouth. I don't remember her speaking any other way, and I usually look past it to the good she does to help others. But now and then she says something that crosses the line; full-on cringe. When she hits this point, I say, "Whoa friend, time to turn it down a notch." She usually responds with something pretty colorful, but she takes the hint and cools it a bit.
There are moments when I almost admire her. How she strings together vulgarities is almost creative if it weren't so unattractive. In a way, my friend is "authentic," she uses her spicy talk with everyone, equally. I suppose that's a good thing, but I wish she would refine her speech.
I have another friend who loathes such language and finds it unacceptable. One event brought her together with my spicy friend; I knew it was going to be interesting. I introduced them and held my breath. "Spicy" let it rip. It was actually incredible how she complimented a beautiful outdoor wine tasting with so many profanities. "Unacceptable," responded with an eye roll and said, "Oh, brother!" She walked away, so there was no chance for a budding friendship.
As an etiquette expert, my best advice is to say something if your friend turns into a foul-mouth — politely. Tell her that her language is upsetting to you, would she please curb it? She may be surprised to learn that you find her words offensive, or she may not be aware of her obscenities level. Regardless, if you value the friendship, tell her. Hopefully, she will become more in-tune with her social codes, and respectful in her language. If she disregards you, and you find it intolerable, consider an eye roll and maybe find a new friend.