QUESTION: This friend of mine is always asking me “how much did it cost?” If I have something new or wear something new, that is his standard question.
Then he asks, “Where did you get it?” Sometimes I don't want to answer this question, so what should I say? Am I obligated to share this information?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: If you don't want to answer just say, “Oh, I can't remember but I LOVE IT!”
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: When I find something that's really neat or a great deal, I am usually happy to share where I got it because I want my friends to be able to get in on it, too. However, good etiquette does not require anyone to answer questions about where an item came from or how much it costs. It's a rather nosy question that is best asked sparingly or unasked.
You don't have to volunteer the information. If you have to have an answer, you could ask your friend why he always asks you that question, not in an accusing way that would put him on the defensive but in a curious way. I would want to know why that's his default question to anything you have that's new. But other than that, you could smile and say something mysterious like, “Oh, that's my secret (or I found it somewhere along the way), but isn't it fun?” and then change the subject.
HELEN'S ANSWER: It is pretty tacky to ask a person how much something they have costs. I still like the answer a friend told me to use years ago. When asked a question that you don't want to answer, you could say ”Why do you ask?” It slows the person down and makes them rethink the question. They might say “oh, I wanted to get myself one,” or “I just wanted to know,” but it does shed light on the fact that it might bother you to tell them.
You are certainly not obligated to answer how much or where it came from. However, I usually answer both questions honestly as I am flattered if anyone likes what I have.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Conner Rohwer, intern for The Oklahoman this summer: If that is his standard answer, it may be more of a habit than his curiousity. Obviously, you don't want to seem rude, but you don't have to share the information with him if you are not comfortable doing so. A simple “as much as I was willing to spend” or “too much” are completely acceptable without really giving away how much you spent. But then again, if you got a good deal on something, why not brag about it?