A Three-Step Guide for Handling Intrusive Questions

Even if you consider your life as an open book, it’s perfectly normal to feel defensive, exasperated, stressed, and even angry when you’re blindsided with intrusive comments and questions. But have no fear: We’ve listed down a few strategies on how to handle awkward and difficult conversational moments with grace, while keeping the details of your personal life private.

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  1. Redirect the Conversation

Whether it’s with your relatives or friends, conversations often take a turn to dissecting the female body – specifically talking about a woman’s weight or size. But there’s no need for you to go along with this kind of chitchat if you don’t want to. All you’ve got to do is to simply redirect the focus of your talk, say asking how his or her child is, or casually talking about the latest episode of your favourite TV series. If the other person keeps treading along the same line, continue deflecting towards neutral topics.

Remember, you don’t have to participate in conversations that make you feel exposed and unarmed. You have the right to politely change the subject of your talk whenever you like.

  1. Make Great Use of Silence

Other than redirecting your conversation, using silence on certain moments of your talk is also a good way to signal the other party that you’re uncomfortable discussing a particular topic. Not only will this hint the other person that you’re uncomfortable with his or her questions, it’ll also keep you from feeling the strong urge to fill in the gaps of the questions and answers of other people regarding some aspects in your life. In fact, it may even help you carve out the space you need to process some major life changes.

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  1. Set Your Boundaries

Boundaries: You own them and more importantly, you’re allowed to honour and protect them. So when touchy topics arise – whether it’s related with faith, sex, money, politics, or relationships – a few key phrases like ‘That’s a little personal, can we talk about something else?’ and ‘I’d rather not talk about that, but I appreciate your concern,’ might go a long way.

Most people aren’t intentionally prying on your personal life, and will back off after knowing that they’ve crossed the line. So it’s up to your to use those lines. Remember that you aren’t offending anyone because you’re just looking out for yourself, and you know all too well when a conversation brings more harm than good to your emotional and mental state.

Working with these steps may be a bit uncomfortable and tough at first, but it’ll be worth it to feel empowered when facing nosy questions upfront.

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