Politely Dealing With Nosey Questions


At one time or another we have all had to fend off a nosey person asking prying and personal questions. So often these questions take us by surprise and it’s difficult to think of how to reply. Sometimes we answer the question only to be angry at being pressured into divulging our personal information. Here’s some tips on dealing with those questions.

Ward off the question before it’s asked

I have found that curiosity gets the best of people and they will say, “I know I shouldn’t ask this question” or “Do you mind if I ask you a question.” A red flag should go up as soon as you hear this because you know it’s going to be prying. Before they have a chance to ask it reply, “If you know you shouldn’t ask it then you probably shouldn’t.”

Give vague answers

Don’t give them the information they want. Use a short phrase to reply such as “I can’t/don’t remember” or “nothing” or “I really can’t answer that.” For example, when someone answers how much you weight, simply answer “enough.”

Use humor

Laugh at what they ask and make light of the question. “If I told you I’d have to kill you.” Or, “You ask the silliest questions, I can’t answer that.”

Blame it on mother

“My mother told me never to talk about...”

Change the subject

Pause, then change the subject paying absolutely no attention to what they asked. 

If necessary be direct

There are some people that have to be dealt with in a more direct way. You may say, “I don’t talk about...” or “That’s a personal question that I care not to answer.”

Ask them why they need to know

Find out why they need to know your personal business. Ask, “Why in the world would you ever ask me that?”

Politely get the point across

My favourite way of telling people that they are prying is, “If you forgive me for not answering, I’ll forgive you for asking.”

You should never feel obligated or pressured to answer a personal or prying question. Learn to handle prying questions in a gracious and polite way.