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Everyone Knows My Business

A woman with lupus asks Ms. Meniscus about a friend who is telling others too much

Dear Ms. Meniscus:

A personal friend who lives in my neighborhood and also works with me tells everyone I have Lupus. Sometimes this is ok. It prevents me from having to explain it to everyone. But other times it is uncomfortable knowing she is spreading my disease around.

What should I do?

Lupus Lucy

Dear Lupus Lucy,

Your friend might mean well, but you need to talk to her and tell her that sometimes she needs to keep her mouth shut.  When people learn something about someone they do not know well or have just met, they tend to associate that attribute with the person.  As you said, in your case it would be, “Lupus Lucy.” This is not an ideal first impression to leave on people.

Next time you see your friend, suggest to her that you might casually drop the fact that her family’s prized secret recipe really comes from your local grocer’s aisle if she tells them about your disease.

Explain to her that you do not want her to publicize your sickness to everyone, and that you would rather not be known as ‘Lupus Lucy’ by perfect strangers.  If that does not work, there is nothing wrong with a friendly, neighborhood threat can’t solve.

Disclosing your condition should be your job, when are you ready.

--M

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