How do I save myself from these pretentious women?

Dear Amy: Recently, I went on a five-day cruise with three high school friends.

We do not live near each other. I had not seen “Bobbie” in 57 years. I am in frequent contact with “Christine,” and the third woman was out of touch for 50 years, but we became connected again seven years ago.

Bobbie told us all about her career, marriages, family and extensive deluxe travel. She came across as pretentious. Christine joined in with her own pretentious stories. The third friend also shared a lot about herself.

My way of participating was to ask follow-up questions to learn more about them. As it turned out, they loved my interest in them but never asked me even one question about myself!

Therefore, I never talked about my husband, family and career of 25 years. I have three college degrees that are varied and intriguing.

When I said goodbye to Bobbie, I realized she did not learn one thing about me.

The group’s enthusiastic consensus was to get together again within the year. How do I gracefully decline?

Left Out

Dear Left Out: You are generous in terms of asking questions, but conversations are not interviews; a good conversation involves a real exchange, where participants actually relate to one another, instead of just trading stories and information. A really good conversation feels intimate and revelatory. (That’s why they are so rare.)

These other women didn’t make any effort to draw you out, and you seem to have missed whatever chances you might have had to pivot from interviewer to participant.

To decline an invitation, you need only say, “I can’t plan on taking another cruise, but I hope you all do it and have a great time!”

Dear Amy: My adult daughter (married, no children) lives a few hundred miles from where I live.

Her father and I visit her several times a year. It’s always enjoyable.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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