Nosy Client Meets Meddlesome Mother
Question: My mother recently referred a client to me, for which I am grateful. But she mentioned that he was quite nosy and would likely be asking me a lot of personal questions. She even wrote out a list of what she would consider acceptable answers about my own life, much of which was completely inaccurate (things like how old I was when I had children, how I met my husband, etc). But this is not the point. The point is that I told her I would be very uncomfortable sharing any of that information with a stranger—especially one who may become a client. So I was shocked to find out that she then had a follow-up conversation with this man, who did end up asking her a lot of nosy questions about me, all of which she answered! And again, with spotty accuracy, although that isn't the point. I am angry with her, though I haven't let her know how much, and I feel wary about entering into a business agreement with this potential client, although he may be harmless. Am I being overprotective of my own personal history?
Answer: I'm more confused by why this man requires personal information about you than by why your mother offered it up (albeit inaccurately). Moms like to talk about their kids, after all. This man, though, has me baffled.
I can't imagine an industry in which it's prudent for a potential client to inquire about someone's marital status or birth history. The only areas in which this might be remotely relevant information is professional surrogacy (real thing) or perhaps live-in nannying. Assuming that you are neither of these things, you have every right to feel miffed. Towards both of them.
Ask your mother why she felt compelled to cross such an unnecessary line on your behalf. She may have a valid (in her mind) reason for doing so. Doubtful, but you should ask none the less. Make it clear that her oversharing has turned a potential opportunity into an uncomfortable situation for you.
As for the client—don't work with him. He already reeks of entitlement and unprofessionalism. Nosy people seem harmless until you realize that they come with a hundred strings attached and need lots of hand holding.
You're not a professional hand holder, are you?