Avoiding an Annoying Acquaintance


There is a middle aged woman in the community I can’t stand. I wish I could have nothing to do with her, but she always turns up at social gatherings where I am and bothers me. At least once a month it seems, she ends up at a Shabbos meal where I am invited. She knows many of the same people I do. How can I avoid her and get her out of my way without speaking lashan hara about her?



  1. I am not sure that you can. As you write, to say anything to anyone may be a problem of Lashon Harah, or even if it does not begin as Lashon Harah, it could easily turn into Lashon Harah. The only thing that I can think of is that you make discreet inquiries before you accept a Shabbos invitation to see if she will be there as well.

    Please allow me to make an unsolicited comment. The Rabbis point out that, often, Hashem sends people our way who are extremely trying. King David states that “Hashem is our shadow” – just as a shadow copies everything that the person does, so too does Hashem relate to us the way that we relate to others. The Rabbis teach that sometimes it is our task to try and overcome our negative feelings about a person in order to let Hashem see how hard we are trying to do the right thing. If so, then unless the lady has offended you personally in such a way that you cannot forgive her, perhaps it might be the right approach to try and put up with her personality and to try and be as pleasant as you can. Because by doing so you are emulating Hashem – nand Hashem, in turn, will emulate you, so to speak.

    Please forgive me if I have overstepped the boundaries of propriety.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team

  2. I’ll share with you some details of what she’s like an why I can’t stand her. And a lot of it is that she speaks a lot of lashan hara herself. She is what many Jewish people would refer to as a ‘yenta.’ She is very nosy and judgmental and wants to know every details of other people’s lives. She asks very personal intimate questions all the time. And once she knows something very personal about you, she goes around repeating it to others. If you tell her something and tell her it’s confidential, she will go around sharing it with lots of other people. And somehow she manages not to anger others by doing that. I don’t understand it. She bothers people for conversation with them, even people who don’t want to talk to her. I am one of those people. She is very narcissistic and makes herself the center of attention, and whenever she is in a group of people gathered to socialize, they make her the one conversation is directed to.

    Often when I go over the home of another and she is there, they sit me next to her because I am a single, middle-aged woman, as is she. Many people mistakenly think we’re close friends because she gives that appearance.

    She looks young and stunningly beautiful for someone her age and dresses nicely all the time, and there is a very likable side of her personality, and because of this, many people want to be her friend. She has a knack for making friends with strangers everywhere she goes.

  3. I truly empathize with how you feel and it sounds like a really difficult nisayon. Perhaps, the first step to trying to exist in the same orbit together is for you not share anything personal with her at all. Ever. That way she cannot repeat anything that you don’t want shared because she is not privy to it.

    As well as that, I would suggest that the next time you know that you will be at the same host for a Shabbos seudah, perhaps you can speak with your host before Shabbos and tell her that you would like to “spread your wings” a little and be sat next to someone else as you always seem to sit together. If you word it that way it is possible that no one will be suspicious of your motives and no one will be hurt.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team