Dear Prudence

What if Prudie Was A.I.?

We fed a letter into ChatGPT and asked it to answer as an advice columnist. Could it fool you?

Robot on a pink background.
Getty Images Plus.

What if Dear Prudence wasn’t a living, breathing font of advice? We decided to have some fun with ChatGPT, the scary-good chatbot from OpenAI that’s been garnering headlines. We fed it a fake letter, cobbled together with common tropes, and asked it to reply in a few different ways. Could it fool you?

The Letter

Dear Prudence, 

I’m recently engaged and in the throes of planning my early 2024 wedding. My handsome fiancé, the timing, my mother’s own hand-me-down ring—it’s all felt like a perfect fairytale. Until I heard what my mother-in-law has in store for us.

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She wants three whole tables set aside at the reception for her friends and co-workers, cases of her favorite wine flown in from Italy, and mini therapy ponies at the reception. But Prudie, I could handle and dodge these requests. It’s her latest antics that have sent me over the edge.

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She opened a credit card under my fiancé’s name and has started charging and booking these services on it as a “special surprise” for us. We only found out because of the bank statements that arrived in the mail. When we confronted her, she said she figured we can use the credit card points to buy our round-trip honeymoon flights.

I’m in awe. My fiancé is shocked too, but is brushing it off as his mom just being a little zany. He figures we can cancel everything in time to get some of these deposits back. But I’m seriously wondering what family I’m marrying into. Do I call and cancel it all? Revoke her invitation to the wedding entirely? Run away with my fiancé and elope? Help!

Reply as Dear Prudence, an advice columnist for Slate.com

Dear reader,

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Your mother-in-law’s behavior is not only inappropriate, but it’s also illegal. It’s important to address this issue with your fiancé and your mother-in-law as soon as possible. It’s not your responsibility to pay for her “special surprises” and it’s not okay for her to open a credit card in your husband’s name without his permission.

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You and your fiancé should have a conversation with your mother-in-law to express your disappointment and let her know that her actions are not acceptable. It’s important to set boundaries and make it clear that you and your fiancé will be making the decisions regarding your wedding.

You should also consider canceling the services she has booked and possibly revoking her invitation to the wedding, especially if her behavior continues. Remember that you don’t have to put up with this kind of treatment, and it’s important to protect your finances and your wedding planning.

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Lastly, I would suggest you to seek advice from a therapist or a family counselor on how to deal with this situation.

…how about if Prudie was having a bad day?

Prudence: Oh, great. Another happy, blissful person looking for my advice. I hope you’re ready to have your perfect fairytale interrupted.

Author: Um, I’m sorry? I didn’t mean to offend you, Prudence. I just need some help figuring out what to do about my mother-in-law.

Prudence: Of course you didn’t mean to offend me. But, let’s talk about your mother-in-law. It sounds like she’s trying to take over your wedding and treat it like her own personal party. And, to top it off, she’s using your fiancé’s credit card without your permission.

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Author: Yes, that’s exactly it. My fiancé is brushing it off, but I’m seriously considering canceling everything or revoking her invitation.

Prudence: I understand why you’re feeling that way. It’s a huge violation of your boundaries and it’s not okay for her to take advantage of your fiancé’s credit card without your consent.

As for canceling everything or revoking her invitation, I think that’s a decision that you and your fiancé need to make together. It’s important to have a conversation with him and see how he feels about the situation before making a final decision. But, I would also recommend setting some clear boundaries with her and letting her know that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.

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Author: I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll talk to my fiancé and set some boundaries with my mother-in-law. Thank you, Prudence.

Prudence: You’re welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find someone else’s perfect fairytale to ruin.

…how about if Prudie was Abe Lincoln?

My dear,

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It is deeply troubling to hear of such behavior from your future mother-in-law. Such actions are not only inappropriate, but they are also illegal. It is of the utmost importance that you and your fiancé address this situation with your mother-in-law immediately.

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As the future head of your household, it is your fiancé’s responsibility to assert himself and make it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated. It is important that the two of you set firm boundaries and make it clear that decisions regarding your wedding will be made by the two of you.

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You should also consider canceling the services she has so thoughtlessly booked, and if her behavior persists, it may be necessary to revoke her invitation to the wedding altogether. Remember, you are under no obligation to tolerate such treatment and it is imperative to protect both your finances and the sanctity of your wedding plans.

In such trying times, it is important to remember the values that guide us. Stand firm in your convictions and do what is right for you and your future spouse.

Yours sincerely,

Abraham Lincoln

…or the current president? 

Folks, let me tell you, this behavior from the mother-in-law is just not right. It’s not only disrespectful to the engaged couple but also illegal. It’s important that we address this issue immediately.

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No one should be taking advantage of someone else’s finances, let alone planning a wedding without consent. We need to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page and that the engaged couple is in charge of their own wedding.

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We should be setting boundaries and making it clear that these kinds of actions are not acceptable. We need to ensure that everyone is treating each other with respect and kindness.

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This is a special day for the engaged couple, and we need to make sure it is a positive experience for all. We should be doing everything in our power to make sure that they have the wedding of their dreams.

Let’s all work together to make sure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

…or a certain former president? 

Let me tell you folks, this is a real disaster. A total disaster. A mother-in-law booking things for a wedding without the couple’s consent, charging things on credit card, it’s ridiculous. It’s a total violation of their rights, it’s not fair, it’s not right. This is America, we respect boundaries and we respect the rights of the individual.

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The couple should be in charge of their own wedding, it’s their special day. I would tell them to take control of the situation, put a stop to this nonsense, and make sure they have the wedding of their dreams. Trust me, nobody does weddings better than me, I know all about it.

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It’s time to drain the swamp, folks. We need to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. We’re going to put America first and make sure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Believe me, this will be a wedding to remember, it’ll be huge, the best wedding ever, and the couple will have the time of their lives.

…how about giving your response as a haiku?

Mother-in-law’s deeds
Illegal and disrespectful
Boundaries, assert.

…or a song? 

Verse 1:
There’s a wedding coming up soon
But the mother-in-law’s acting like a buffoon
She’s booked things without consent
It’s causing quite a lament
The bride’s feeling like she’s stuck with a loon

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Chorus:
This ain’t right, it ain’t fair
She’s taking over everywhere
But the bride won’t back down
She’s gonna wear the crown
She’ll make sure her day is truly rare

Verse 2:
She’s charging on the credit card
It’s really really really hard
But the bride won’t take it
She’ll make sure to edit
This mother-in-law’s going too far

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Chorus:
This ain’t right, it ain’t fair
She’s taking over everywhere
But the bride won’t back down
She’s gonna wear the crown
She’ll make sure her day is truly rare

Bridge:
It’s time to set some boundaries
And make it very clear see
She’s the one in charge
And she’ll make sure it’s large
This wedding will be done properly

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Chorus:
This ain’t right, it ain’t fair
She’s taking over everywhere
But the bride won’t back down
She’s gonna wear the crown
She’ll make sure her day is truly rare

Outro:
The mother-in-law’s antics will cease
And the bride can finally breathe in peace
She’ll have the wedding of her dreams
And live happily it seems.

…or in the style of a murder mystery?

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. The wedding of the year was about to take place, and everything was perfect. But little did anyone know, a dark cloud was looming over the happy occasion.

The mother-in-law, known for her extravagant tastes and love for surprises, had taken it upon herself to book services for the wedding without the consent of the bride and groom. She had opened a credit card under her son’s name and charged everything from therapy ponies to cases of her favorite wine from Italy.

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When the bank statements arrived in the mail, the truth was revealed and the bride and groom were furious. They confronted the mother-in-law but she shrugged it off as a “special surprise” for them.

The bride and groom knew they had to put a stop to this behavior before it was too late, they cancelled the services and revoked the mother-in-law’s invitation to the wedding. But little did they know, this was only the beginning of a series of events that would lead to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

As the wedding day approached, tensions were high and the mother-in-law was nowhere to be found. But as the ceremony began, a scream was heard and the mother-in-law was found lying on the floor, murdered.

The police were called and the investigation was launched. Everyone was a suspect, from the bride and groom to the wedding planner and even the vendors who were booked.

So, what do you think? 

Is ChatGPT a good advice columnist? We asked for its opinion.

“As a language model, I can provide information and give advice on a wide range of topics, but I am not a human and therefore may not be able to fully understand or empathize with the unique personal experiences and emotions of those seeking advice.”

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