There are times when someone – at a business or social setting – ask you a question your rather not answer. How much do you make? You gained so much weight – what happened? Are you seeing anyone? Why did you get a divorce? What’s your religion?
These are some examples of inappropriate questions that should have never been asked (unless that person is a very close friend). Unfortunately, our society is getting more casual and less sensitive to people’s privacy and feelings.
Even if that person means no harm, you do not need to answer any question you feel uncomfortable with. Here are some of the things you can do to deal with it gracefully:
1. Return a question
Ask “Do you need to know this?” or “Why do ask?”. If they said that they are “Just curious”, you can answer with “I see” and move on to another subject.
2. Change the subject
Change the subject without answering the question “Talking about salaries, did you know that the minimum wage was increased in the recent budget?”
3. Refused politely
Gently refuse to answer without giving off the impression that you’re annoyed or insulted. These are a few things you can say:
- “Oh, I never reveal that to anyone”
- “I’ll rather not talk about it”
- “That’s such a difficult question to answer. Let’s talk about something lighter”
4. Pretend you didn’t hear the question
If situation permits, pretend you didn’t hear the question and say something random like “Did you know that Taylor Swift is coming to town next month and the tickets are all sold out?”
5. Keep quiet
Rosalie Maggio said that silence can be a good response if you can pull it off. She said ‘look around the room, smiling slightly. The other person will wait to see if you are going to respond. Before they repeat the question, you can introduce another topic’.
We personally think you can also make light of the situation and say something like “Oh, quite enough to not starve” or “Ah, it’s never enough isn’t it?”
What kind of inappropriate questions have you been asked? What did you do?
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