What to say when you don't want to answer a personal question

Some folks know that is not socially acceptable to ask personal questions, but they go ahead and ask anyway. These nosy people seem to think that the rules of social etiquette don’t apply to them.

You have no obligation to explain the personal details of your life to anyone, especially people who can’t respect personal boundaries. Maybe you have a narcissistic relative or acquaintance who tramples all over your feelings and won’t take no for an answer.

Other people’s lack of empathy is not your problem, if you want to keep certain areas of your life private, you have a right to do so.

The office gossip found out that Rebecca and her boyfriend had split up and kept pestering her for the details. It was bad enough that she was feeling emotionally fragile from the breakup but she and felt like if she started talking about she might start crying.

Since they knew mutual people, Rebecca had concerns that everything she said would trickle back to her Ex-boyfriend. Over coffee in the lunchroom, she was interrogated several times but her coworker finally got the hint that she wasn’t going to share any personal information, that was none of her damn business.

15 best comebacks when a nosy person asks you a personal question

5 best comebacks when a nosy person asks you a personal question in public

1. I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you were a voyeur and that such information was necessary for you to know.

2. If you’ll forgive me for not answering, I’ll forgive you for asking.

3. Sorry, that’s classified.

4. Long ago in a galaxy far away, in other words I would rather not say.

5. Feel free to ask me anything as long as it isn’t something disgusting and extremely personal.

6. And you need to that know because…?

7. Well, if I told you I would have to kill you.

8. I appreciate your curiosity, but I’d prefer not to answer that question.

9. That’s not a topic that I’m comfortable discussing.

10. I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss that right now.

11. I’m not at liberty to discuss that.

12. I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that question.

13. I like to keep parts of my personal life private.

14.. I appreciate your concern, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss that right now.

15. Honestly, I don’t think that’s relevant to our discussion.


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Definition of a personal question

Personal questions may inquire about the juicy details of an individual’s private life, and can include asking about someone’s opinion, traumatic life experiences, sex life, earnings or political preferences.

Some folks find people who ask personal questions intrusive, especially when they ask about finanaces, relationships, family issues or sexuality.

We all need to respect other people’s privacy and not pry into their lives by asking overly personal questions.

More comebacks you might like

Some celebrities don’t reveal the details about their personal lives

By Georges Biard, via Wikipedia Commons

Not all celebrities are desperate to reveal the details of their personal life or have their own reality shows. The celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon and questions without sharing the nitty, gritty details about their personal lives.

It’s kind of funny how certain celebrities are always in the paper as if they are seeking the attention.

When people won’t stop asking personal questions

When people won't stop asking personal questions

When people ask us personal questions that make us uncomfortable, it’s important to remember that we have the right to set boundaries and protect our privacy.

The first step in shutting the person down is to communicate clearly and assertively that you are not comfortable with the question. You can say something like, “I prefer not to discussing personal matters with people at work,” or “That’s not something I’m comfortable sharing with others.”

Try to remain calm, polite, but clear that you are not going to budge on the matter and that they need to respect your personal boundaries.

If the person continues to ask intrusive questions despite your clear communication, and they are still not picking up on your hints, you may want to consider distancing yourself from them. You could end the conversation or even consider ending the relationship if the nosey behaviour persists. At a certain point, you need to prioritize your own well-being and safety above maintaining a relationship with someone who is making you uncomfortable.

If you are struggling to set boundaries or feel overwhelmed by the situation, it may be helpful to seek support from a trusted friend, family member, or professional. Talking about the situation with someone you trust can help you gain perspective and come up with a plan for how to handle the situation.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counsellor from the comfort of their own home. Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and it can improve your relationships in the long run.

Remember, you deserve to feel safe and respected in your interactions with others, and you are under no obligation and answer any personal questions.

The role of counselling and self-care

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When you are dealing with someone who always asking personal questions and they won’t back off, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counsellor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home.

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with people who always ask personal questions? Share them in the comments below.

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