It goes something like this:
Setting: an spacious 2 bed, 2 bath apartment with modern amenities in an American urban setting.
Person #1: "Hey, what a great apartment. How did you guys find this place?"
Person #2: "Well, as you know, we have been looking for a while. It was time to upgrade from the University style 'housing in a box.' This place just made so much sense for both of us. Our commutes are shorter, we can walk to some great restaurants and shops. We're so excited about the neighborhood."
Person #1: "I can see why. What a great location. How much are you paying, if you don't mind me asking?"
Person #2: "Well... We prefer not to share things like that."
Person #1: "Oh... Right. Of course, no problem."
I'm not even talking about the sort of the questions that I asked in my post, What if we weren't so private about our personal financial lives? I'm not talking about sharing your personal balance sheet, as we PF bloggers are known to do. I'm definitely not talking about asking someone how much they make. Not even most of us PF bloggers disclose that. And we're anonymous. But sometimes someone asks you a seemingly innocent question about your watch, your car, your fun little gadget. And the conversation takes a turn for the awkward.
I was once present when a young woman, who was training for a marathon, was showing off her cool GPS running gadget. One of the guys, who also runs, admires the device says, "this is cool. How much is something like this?" Her response, "that's not something you ask a lady." What?! He didn't ask what kind of underwear she was wearing!
But we all have different boundaries. And yes, we should all respect others' boundaries. But have you ever felt that they're just being weird. Or even wrong.
So, is it off limits to ask someone how much they pay for an apartment? How about what they paid for their car? And if that's okay, can you ask them if they bought or leased? And how about what the terms are and their monthly payment?