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Tactless Questions: Your options for responses

May 2, 2024

Tactless questions are common and can unsettle even the calmest person. These are questions about your intimate life, salary, or habits.

For example, my sister doesn’t like when she is asked when she is going to have children. And I do not like being asked about how much money I spend on betting at bank transfer betting sites. You can feel uncomfortable and not know how to respond. However, there are ways to handle such situations. Here are some effective response options that you can use when you are asked a tactless question.

Direct Response

Sometimes, the most effective way to answer the question is to set boundaries and express your right to privacy. For instance, you could say, “I’d rather not talk about that,” or “I’m not comfortable answering that.” This lets others know that certain topics are not up for discussion.

I believe that someone who truly cares about you won’t ask such questions that only reveal malicious curiosity and rude tactlessness. Therefore, I don’t see the point in being tactful with those who are tactless with me, and I respond quite directly: “It’s none of your business,” “It doesn’t concern you,” “Even my mom doesn’t allow herself such questions, so who are you anyway?” If a person accidentally crosses boundaries, which also happens, they will draw conclusions, and the conversation will continue. But in most cases, people who ask such questions immediately back off – this eloquently shows that they just wanted to show off at my expense.

Humourous Answer

If you’re interested in having some fun, you can joke around in one way or another. Adding humor to your reply can ease tension and make things more relaxed. For example, you might say something like, “Oh, that’s top-secret,” or “I’ll need to ask my crystal ball about that.” Just make sure your humour is not mean-spirited.

Another example:

— Why don’t you have children yet?

— I’m not allowed to have children.

— Why?

— I’m allergic to them.

It’s a crude joke, but it always helps to avoid answering an impolite question.

If a person bombards you with uninteresting questions, you can say that the answer to an uninteresting question will cost him 15 t bucks.

Ask a Counter Question

Flip the script by asking a question back. This gives you a moment to think about how to reply while prompting the other person to think about their own question. For instance, if someone asks about your relationship status, you could respond with, “Why do you want to know?” or “What made you ask?”

And I often ask counter-questions. For example, the question: “Why are you single?” And I respond: “Why single? Why did you assume I’m single? Why do you think I can’t be single? Why should I discuss with you why I’m single? Why do you want me not to be single? And with whom do you want me to be, with you? And if not, then what? What does that mean? What’s your purpose in asking? Are you sure about that?”

And the cherry on top: Respond with equally tactless questions. When I am asked about marriage or when I will have children, I respond: Do you watch porn? Why are you so interested in someone else’s bed?” Usually, that’s where the conversation ends. It’s trickier with older relatives because they don’t just ask out of curiosity – they’re manipulating, trying to figure out how to make me have children.

Give Limited Information

If you’re okay sharing a bit but not everything, give a short, vague answer. Keep it simple and general. For example, if someone asks about your future plans, you could say, “I’m still figuring things out,” or “I like to keep my options open.”

Add Facts

Another method is to state a specific date:

  • When is the wedding?
  • 10 October 2026

So you name any date. And when asked why this day, say that you like the date.

Sometimes I bring it to absurdity.

  • When is the wedding?
  • Tomorrow.
  • When are the children?
  • Tomorrow.

Change the Subject

Smoothly shift the conversation to something else that you’re more comfortable with. For instance, you could say, “That’s a curious question, but have you heard about [insert unrelated topic]?” This way, you can smoothly move away from the tactless question without causing any offense.

Just Ignore and Move On

Sometimes, the best way to handle a tactless question is to not respond at all. Just carry on with the conversation as if the question was never asked. This lets others know that you do not like certain subjects and want to preserve your privacy.

Lately, I just don’t respond to tactless questions, just shrug my shoulders, and turn away. I don’t want to explain anything at all, prove anything, or even want to teach anyone with sarcasm.

Ask for Help

If the topic of your personal life comes up regularly and you hear something like: “Why are you not married? You need a man.” You can ask with interest for advice on where and how exactly you should meet someone. If someone else suggests meeting people online, ask them for help in matchmaking. Usually, people who ask such questions do not know what to say and the conversation stops.

Educate When Appropriate

If someone asks a tactless question out of ignorance, you can use it as a chance to educate them kindly. Offer a short explanation or share why certain questions might be seen as inappropriate. Use this moment to promote understanding and encourage more thoughtful communication.

Ultimately, how you choose to respond to tactless questions will depend on various factors, including the context, your relationship with the person, and your mood. Having various ways to respond helps you handle these situations confidently. Don’t forget, it’s perfectly fine to set boundaries and joke or not to answer tactless questions.

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