I recently heard someone note that “you are the guardian of the difference between what is personal and private,” and I thought it made a great distinction — and might be an interesting discussion here. What do you consider personal — and what do you consider private? Where do you draw the line, and how do you deal if someone wants to share more with you than you’re comfortable with (or wants you to share more than you’re comfortable with)?
We got into this many moons ago with our discussion of how to deal with nosy coworkers, which only served to illustrate how much variety there is in the answer to this question — there, the reader wrote in with a question because she was a new professor and worried to attend a faculty picnic, noting
Not to sound shallow, but I don’t want to field questions about my personal life (i.