Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My housekeeper gossips - to me

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | September 15, 2010 - 6:17AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor:

Last year I referred my amazing housekeeper to a nice family at my son’s school.  

This family has told me that they love her as much as I do. The problem has to do with the unpleasant and somewhat bizarre behind-the-scenes details that my housekeeper has shared with me.

Mostly they relate to examples of extreme frugality--down to the almost total lack of cleaning supplies made available to my housekeeper—and sloppiness verging on the revolting.  I have to say I have not been able to view this family in the same positive way since hearing these details.

What should I do?

Sincerely, Feelin’ Dirty

Dear Feelin' Dirty,

While the stories of your friend's lack of hygiene may make your skin crawl, personally when I am the recipient of unsolicited information about someone else (known popularly as gossip), I have to wonder about the messenger's messages about me. 

Your housekeeper's information would make me think twice about having dinner at your friend's home, certainly, but I would also think twice about your relationship with your housekeeper, who was hired to clean the dirty laundry, not air it.

You could let her know that you prefer not to discuss mutual acquaintances in the future unless the issue involves or impacts you directly.

Alternatively, if you find the information she gives you useful and even interesting or entertaining, expect that all of your quirks are shared freely as well.

On the Delicate Cycle,
Ms. Demeanor


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected].

See all Ms. Demeanor's advice here.

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