Are you unsure of the best way to respond to a nosy neighbor, friend, family member, or other busybody in your life? Here’s what you do:
Find out the person’s intentions. People press for information for all kinds of reasons:
Some people don’t know any better. They may not even realize that something is none of their business. It’s hard not to get defensive when somebody asks a sensitive question, but they may not know it’s sensitive.
Some people are snotty and actually intend to hurt your feelings. They want to press your buttons and stick it to you. There are bad people out there.
Some people are simply trying to connect. They care about you, and that’s all they’re thinking about.
For example, if someone asks you, “Have you found a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?”, reply, “Why? Are you worried that I might be lonely?”. If someone asks you, “How’s your job search going? Did you find anything yet?”, ask them, “Are you concerned that I’m in financial trouble?” In other words, find out their intentions because you don’t know if they’re being stupid or nasty or just trying to connect. Nosy people will change the subject because they don’t want to discuss their intentions. However, people who really care about you should be able to have an honest conversation about real issues.
Your other option is to simply not answer. If you don’t want to discuss something, say, “Well, that’s an uncomfortable subject for me. Let’s find something that we both can enjoy talking about”, or, “I’m really not in a place to talk about this right now.” That’s it. You make it clear that it’s uncomfortable. Somebody may feel entitled to ask, but you’re not obligated to answer.
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