Do you encounter people who keep asking you annoyingly personal questions, and you can’t figure out exactly how to deal with such nosy people.
Did it ever happen to you that you ended up giving in to those nosy, personal questions and telling them all about yourself when you really didn’t want to? And later on, you kick yourself for it.
Answering questions about your private matters, whether it’s your personal life or professional, can be extremely draining and turn off a really good mood.
Everyone has their own personal boundaries. There are certain things that you want to keep close to your chest and don’t want to talk about openly.
Yet, we keep encountering such nosy questions that seem to violate our personal space, but since most of us don’t have a clear strategy to deal with such scenarios, we end up going against our own selves only to regret later on.
After such uncomfortable experiences, we keep thinking for the next couple of days about the ways we could’ve handled the situation, or said something bold or smart at that moment, or even avoid answering personal questions altogether.
Only if we prepared ourselves beforehand, we could’ve handled those nosy questions in a better way.
But worry not! We are here to do exactly that. To prepare and equip our selves with strategies to cope with nosy people and answer such stupid questions intelligently.
What Actually Makes Someone Ask Nosy Questions?
There can be a number of reasons for someone asking nosy and personal questions. Context matters a lot in this case. Who is asking the question and at what occasion?
Let’s take a look into 6 reasons why people ask such nosy questions.
We’ll give each of them a name so that we can easily discuss which method of dealing applies to which category of people. Sounds good?
Reason 1: They Are Genuinely Concerned About Your Well-Being
People who are close to us, parents, siblings, close friends, etc. might ask annoying questions regarding personal and professional life.
Their intentions might be sincere while they show their concerns. But they might not have expressed it in the best way. Since it is your loved one who genuinely wants your well-being, you might take a moment to think it through before judging them.
We’ll just call them Loved Ones.
As annoying as their questions might seem, we must hold them in high regard.
Reason 2: Your Presence Stimulated Their Curiosity – They Are Intrigued By You
This can be your relatives who are always curious about what you are up to and when will you get married.
Or it can be a complete stranger who is intrigued by your presence in some gathering.
Some people just spend all their curiosity in the wrong places. Trying to know everything about other people so they could entertain themselves or have some material to gossip over.
We’ll call them Curious Ones.
Curiosity is GREAT when it is towards something productive, not about people’s personal lives.
A healthy curiosity can make someone’s life. An uncontrolled, useless curiosity can waste one.
Reason 3: They Are Highly Extroverted And Have A Habit Of Talking Too Much
Some people are just highly extroverted and love to talk about a variety of things, including their own personal life and yours as well.
Since they spend lots of energy telling you about their matters with their spouse, how their job sucks, how their neighbor threw trash in front of their house and their children’s performance at school, they expect you to do the same.
Because they have opened up to you about their personal lives, they automatically expect to know about your personal life as well.
In fact, they can find it frustrating that you are not opening up to them and might show some passive aggression or criticism.
We’ll call them Extroverted Ones.
Reason 4: They Have Eyes On Your Because Of Their Competitive & Insecure Nature
These might be the people who already know you and have eyes on you.
They are quite competitive in nature and tend to feel insecure when they find someone doing better than them in any way.
They want to know everything you’re doing so that they could get some ideas out of you since they want to get ahead.
They kind of want to compete in almost everything that others are doing. They can’t stand someone getting ahead of them.
We’ll call them Competitive Ones.
Reason 5: They Are Entitled & Rude Natured – Who Want To Bring People Down By Cross Questioning
This is the worst-case scenario. You might have faced such people at some point. They are either plain rude, entitled, and arrogant, or extremely manipulative and cunning.
They want all the spot-light and attention for themselves. If they find someone else having the potential to outshine them in any way, they’ll want to bring them down. And the way they do this is by cross-questioning the other person.
Sometimes they may initially portray to be good-natured, smile a lot, show themselves as if they care, and when the other person opens up to them, they begin asking cunning and confusing questions.
Even if you are clear about something they are asking, their questions will make you seem as if you are confused and don’t know what you are talking about.
They are skilled at manipulation and this is how they satisfy their passive aggression so they could feed their ego and feel good about themselves.
We’ll call them Rude & Cunning Ones.
These are a few major reasons why people act nosy. You might also find a mixture of these characteristics.
Now let’s get into the core. What are the ways to deal with such scenarios? Here are 8 ways to approach nosy people and answer nosy questions.
1. Relax & Be Conscious
First of all, whenever you face such a situation, remind yourself to Relax, Breathe, and Be Mindful of the moment.
We get so caught up and nervous when people ask us nosy and personal questions, that we forget that we don’t necessarily have to answer them. We have the right to keep our private lives private.
Whenever someone asks you a nosy and personal question, just relax and take a moment to get grounded and realize your boundaries and self-respect.
Be mindful of what is happening and avoid responding in a reactive manner. Reacting unconsciously will only get you trapped in those questions.
Don’t let the situation take charge of you, you take charge of your words and actions.
2. Satisfy Their Question Without Giving Too Much Away
If it’s one of the Loved Ones who are genuinely concerned about your well-being, give them a satisfactory answer without getting too much into detail so that they are satisfied that you are doing okay.
If they try to pry into your personal matters and ask for details, just tell them in a loving manner that:
“I really appreciate your concern but I don’t want to discuss this right now. I love your company and I just want to enjoy this time with you. Let’s talk about something else.”
3. Politely Decline To Answer Personal Questions
If it is one of the Extroverted Ones, you can politely tell them:
“Hey I love talking to you, and I love how comfortable you are talking about personal matters. I wish I were that comfortable but it’s just not in me. I am more of a private kind of person, and I feel uncomfortable talking about private matters openly. I hope you’ll understand.”
4. Be Reserved & Answer Nosy Questions Briefly
If it’s the Curious Ones you are talking to, your body language and tone will be enough to give them the message in most cases.
Just show a lack of enthusiasm and a bit of a serious face when they ask such questions. Be reserved in your tone and body language, and answer very briefly.
They’ll ask you a few more questions since the poor beings are unable to help their curiosity, but eventually, they’ll get the message and stop asking if they have some self-respect.
5. Confront Them For Their Stupid Question
Now the confrontational way of responding can go either way, so use it at your own risk if you have to. If you think you can handle the confrontation and stand your ground.
This method, though a bit extreme, can come in handy while dealing with the Rude & Cunning Ones.
Confronting the questioner head-on can expose them.
If they were showing passive aggression and indirect taunts or criticisms, you’ll expose what they were doing. If they were doing it subtly before and hiding their core intentions, now they too may confront you or call you out directly.
A few examples of confrontation would be:
“I am amazed at how you are able to ask such questions?”
“Do you really want to know what you are asking, or are you just doing this to annoy me?”
“What is your intention behind asking such a question?”
“You should stop asking me any more personal questions now.”
“It seems that you have a lot of time on your hands. Don’t you have something important to do?”
“I’m not gonna buy into your tricky questions. You should stop now. Seriously.”
“Where is this conversation really heading?”
“You ask a lot of questions. Save your energy for something better.”
Now if you are thinking, “Gosh, these phrases are awfully rude”, then Yes, they are. And sometimes you’ve got to use them instead of tolerating nonsense and then regretting later on.
I too have used it in a rare few cases where every other tactic failed and eventually, being completely straight forward and rudely assertive was the only option left.
One thing to remember is that, when you choose to go this route, you must go on full Alpha mode and take charge of the situation.
Most of such Rude & Cunning kind of people pretend to be dominant, but in reality, their personality weighs as light as a feather. When you show them your fangs, you alpha side, they’ll back off in most cases. Nobody wants trouble.
But since it can go either way, you must keep in mind that it can make you look bad as well, or start a heated argument. Make sure you use this method wisely and in a controlled manner. We are NOT picking fights here.
6. You Become The Questioner – Make Them Busy Answering
One simple way is to play offense than defense. Meaning that you become the one to ask them questions and keep them busy.
If they do ask you, answer briefly and turn the question over to them.
If someone asks, “did you just got divorced”
Say, “yeah I did, how is your marital life going?” Or “how are your kids doing?”
7. Brush It Off With Humour
Some personal questions are not offensive, they are just stupid, and you can answer them with equally stupid of an answer. This way you and the questioner both will be saved from embarrassment, or at least they’ll laugh their embarrassment off for asking stupid question 🙂
A few examples:
Q: “When will you get married?”
A: “Don’t worry I’ll invite you when I do”
Q: “How much money do you make doing this work?”
A: “22 GAZILLION DOLLARS”
Q: “Did you gain a few pounds?”
A: “Are you feeling alright? You seem to be hallucinating.”
8. Reduce Interaction With Nosy People
Ah, the simplest of them all, just plainly avoid interaction with such people altogether. When you smell a nosy person coming in your direction with their annoying nosy question, run the other way.
That’s it. You’ll be saved. You’re welcome.
Finally, Forgive Yourself If You Didn’t Successfully Handle A Nosy Person
Sometimes we do our best to handle certain things effectively yet it does not work out the way we expect. That is okay. We are not perfect, neither are those we deal with.
Be easy on yourself and consciously forgive yourself if you gave in to the pressure. We grow as we learn from our experiences. Show some love to yourself and just let it go.
An artist by nature, a writer by calling, a psychologist by passion. Someone who has dedicated his life to exploring deep human potentials, spirituality, and timeless wisdoms of life with a hunger to share those experiences and knowledge to help others find meaning and improve the quality of their lives.