If you’re careful about controlling what others know about your private life, then there may be times you’d wish people just stop asking so many questions. There are people who value information less than you, and to them, asking personal questions goes without much thought. They have no conception of how uncomfortable it may be for you to answer them, and may be taken by surprise should you refuse to answer to their attempts to pry into the more private information about your life.
Dealing with people like this is difficult. Sometimes these people are close friends, or people who sit nearby at work. A harsh rejection can put a dent in your relationship and put a stench on your future interactions with that individual. There have to be ways of communicating the fact that you’re not a fan of all the prying questions without offending the person asking those questions. This line of exploratory thinking seems to lead to utilizing common traits of the human psyche against the person who’s asking questions. This article will propose using their momentum against them, as well as relaying the notion that the interviewee tends to be more interesting than the interviewer.
Discomfort Can Go Both Ways
Our natural defense to people who inquire into matters we find private and personal, is to mirror their questions right back at them. We hope that by asking them the same questions after answering, will discourage them from venturing any further into their line of questioning. By establishing an eye for an eye approach, we depend on their comfort levels being similar to ours. The problem with this common tactic is the existence of a chance that they’re more comfortable in answering questions than you are. They may value information less, and may use the act of answering the very same questions themselves, against you to further their line of questioning.
The goal thereby, should be to make them feel the same intensity of discomfort that you do. Though their threshold may be different than yours, they’re still capable of feeling uncomfortable. When you feel people prying into your business a little too much, use their own momentum against them by making a kindhearted joke about a very specific facet of your life. For example, if someone asks you how much you make at your new job, you can answer with, “Not enough to stop me from crying myself to sleep every night.” Making humorous insinuations into the fact that they’re asking questions that are a little too personal is effective in making them stop. You’ll both laugh off the act of you disclosing a very personal but rather unimportant aspect of your life while not revealing the answer they were looking for.
This method is effective because you give them a dose of feeling the same discomfort they made you feel with their line of questioning. The humorous aspect of the unexpected answer will soften the edges of the notion of you hinting at them to stop asking so many questions. When you feel people digging a little too deep into your more private matters, pick something humorously embarrassing and private to tell them. They will be taken back by the notion of you raising the stakes, and will hopefully get the message.
The One Who Is More Interesting Is More Powerful
People are prideful and competitive. It helps to remind yourself of this general notion in your interactions with others. You can use pride and competition to shape the behavior of those around you in many creative ways. In the case of someone being too interested in your private dealings, you can use their sense of pride against them.
The idea here is to get them to subscribe to the notion of them making you seem more important than you really are; by asking so many questions. We don’t like being reminded of our efforts to build up others’ egos. The fact of them being so interested in you must make you interesting, right? Play up their interest in your life by saying things like, “I didn’t know I was this popular!”
The idea of them playing up your popularity will make them think twice about being so interested in you and your business. Tell them, “I feel like I’m being interviewed by a paparazzi,” to play into the thought of them empowering you with all of their questions. People aren’t interested in those they don’t find interesting.
By playing up the effects of them finding you interesting, they’ll feel a little bit exposed. Akin to a crush of yours rejecting your advances by explicitly calling you out on them, you’d serve to shine a light on them making you seem even more interesting to onlookers by asking so many questions. They’re essentially working as your promoter voluntarily. Typically, those who realize they’re serving to popularize you by being so interested in you will slow their efforts. People yearn to be special, and by playing up their act of interviewing you, you serve to exaggerate their attempts at putting you up on a pedestal.
In the News
You can read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.