Ways to Answer Personal Questions

How Tos
By: nrichford    
06-Feb-2011

Introduction:We've all had the experience of being asked a personal question that we really don't want to answer. Perhaps the person doing the asking isn't aware that their question is a bit too personal, or perhaps its simply something you prefer to keep private.

Most of us have been raised to think it is rude not to answer another's question and mistakenly think we are obligated to them simply by virtue of their asking. You aren't-- unless of course you are being asked by the IRS or some other higher authority.

  • 01

    Does the Asker Really Need to Know?

    Consider whether the person who asks has any real need to know the answer. As I mentioned above there may be times when you really are obligated to answer uncomfortable questions-- but that doesn't mean you are obligated to answer every question someone asks.

  • 02

    I Prefer Not to Answer

    That's right. Come right out and tell the asker you prefer not to answer his question. You don't need to offer any explanation or justify why you prefer not to answer. Remember you aren't obligated to answer questions, just because someone asks them.

  • 03

    I Don't Discuss That With Others

    Telling the asker that you don't discuss that topic with others doesn't need to be justified in anyway. Your personal business is just that "your personal business", and you aren't obligated to share it, unless you choose to.

  • 04

    Why Do You Want to Know?

    Yes, this one can come across as a bit on the mean-spirited side, but if someone insists on asking you a question despite your polite efforts at not answering, asking them why they want to know often sets them back a notch. Sometimes, they may reveal that what they really want to know differs from what you think they are asking--but if they are just be nosy, this usually works well to quell the questions.

  • 05

    Give a Vague Response

    Sometimes, its possible to answer with a vague response that provides enough information to satisfy the 'asker' without giving out too much information. Give the question a bit of thought and provide just enough information to address the question, but stop short of revealing info you prefer not to share.




Final Thoughts

Always remember that you are under no obligation to answer a question just because someone asked you. When those you don't know well or those who are insensitive to your feelings ask personal questions, you have every right "not" to answer their questions.




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