Asking personal questions can feel awkward. There are ways, however, to ask these questions from an intellectual standpoint, and create a comfortable environment for all.
Some say it’s rude to ask personal questions, and it can be. There are circumstances that require asking a personal question or cases where it’s important to acquire information such as this. I guess it’s just the specific situation.
Why people ask personal questions
There are many reasons why people ask embarrassing questions. Many times family members feel obligated to know things of this nature. During holidays, you can almost be sure that personal questions will be part of the schedule.
You can always refuse to answer, but that might seem rude. If you’re intelligent, you can find a way to answer and not feel so violated. After all, family and friends love you and you wouldn’t want to cause a scene or hurt anyone’s feelings, right? Well, to each their own, but here are the ways you can do things the “nice” way.
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
There are various reasons why someone might ask this question. One reason is that they could be interested in you themselves. If your family asks this question, it’s generally because they either want what’s best for you, or they have a potential girl in mind for you to date. Either way, the intelligent answer is this:
“Why do you ask?”
This answer makes it their turn to say something next. If they continue, then make sure they know that when you do get a girlfriend, you will let them know.
“How is the job search going?”
Although you probably hate talking about your personal endeavors or struggles, this question plagues the mind of relatives far and wide. It’s mostly because they are concerned about your welfare.
On the other hand, they are also nosey and even fear of taking your financial burden if you cannot do so. This makes them search for information that will either ease their minds or keep them entertained. Either way, you need a smart way to respond. Try this:
“You’re concerned about my financial welfare, aren’t you?”
Again, we see the question being turned around to the inquirer. This opens up a dialogue about why they’re asking this question.
If they are worried about you or if they are worried about themselves, they now have the opportunity to tell their concerns to keep the conversation going. They could also just drop the subject completely.
“Still not eating meat?”
Many people fail to understand the significance of being a vegetarian. It’s also not your place to give them a lesson on the subject either if you don’t want this burden.
So, it’s smart to just make light of the subject instead of starting a heated debate. Being a vegetarian is your choice and you should not have to defend it. Try this instead.
“Don’t worry, I’m eating my veggies.”
Joking is okay in this case. It even makes others laugh as well. This is an intelligent response which proves that you rather not squabble about your own personal life choices.
“Did you lose weight?”
Don’t become alarmed because someone asked about your weight loss. There are a number of reasons for an inquiry such as this. First of all, they could just be curious because they noticed a difference. They could also be fishing for ways to lose weight themselves.
If you sense a judgmental spirit, however, try a short and smart comeback such as this:
Again, a question, but a short question that is powerful enough to end the conversation. You shouldn’t ever waste your time with someone who is judgemental about your weight. Let them figure out what to say next by leaving an open court, or just walk away. You should never entertain situations like this.
“When are you going to have children?”
When people ask this question, unfortunately, they are usually asking another question underneath. What they’re really saying is this: “If you don’t have children soon, you will be too old to have any.”
People love to play wise about other people’s personal lives, and it can be extremely irritating. Instead of getting angry and retaliating, try to just give an intelligent answer and shut them down.
“Soon. I love those earrings. Where did you get them?”
In this case, you can provide a vague answer then change the subject. Try complimenting them on something they are wearing or ask them a question in return. You could even opt for a personal inquiry of your own. This usually tells them how you feel and they get the hint.
Personal questions and smart responses
There are many other ways to deflect embarrassing personal questions and retain your dignity. If the encounter gets too hard to bear, you can even tell them you don’t like answering their questions. It is your life, after all, and you have the right to tell them that it’s none of their business.
I hope this helps you for when the holidays arrive and aunt Martha just won’t’ get her nose out of your business. Or maybe it will work when your coworkers try to pry into your life.
It doesn’t take as much as you think to let them know they are going too far. It’s okay to establish your rights. Just remember to be nice, be polite, and most of all, use your intelligence.