#2. What to say to deflect nosy questions

#2. What to say to deflect nosy questions

We don’t owe anyone our personal information, especially not to satisfy their curiosity. If the person persists, repeat your stock answer.

  • How much money you make: “Trust me, not even close to what I’m worth.”
  • About your love life: “I’d rather not discuss it right now. When I have news to share, I’ll let you know.”
  • Colleague asking plans for the day off: “That’s why they call it a personal day!”

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How to deflect nosy questions, stop advice-givers, fend off criticism and more

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#5. What to say when a line has been crossed

Often, if you can open up a conversation, the rest will flow. 

Basic conversation starters to get the ball rolling for a difficult :

● “I thought you should know . . .”

●“I need to share my experience of what went down, because I’d like you to understand how I feel and where I am coming from . . .”

Formula: “When I see/experience ______________, I feel ______________ because my need for ______________ is not met. Would you be willing to ______________?”

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#4. What to say when someone is judgmental or critical

When someone makes a rude comment and then says, “I’m just being honest,” it isn't always constructive criticism or even true.

Someone who gives you genuinely constructive criticism is actually rooting for you. If you respect this person & know them to be genuine, you will likely be open to their feedback.

If not, then you can say -

“What you call ‘honesty’, I call you ‘giving me your unsolicited opinion and criticism’. Please don’t.”

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#3. What to say when getting unsolicited advice

When sharing some problem or news with friends or family who are quick to give their opinion, set them up for success by starting with a qualifier like:

  •  “I love that you are always game to help me out. What I’d appreciate right now is for you to listen and have faith I’ll come to the answer on my own.”
  • “At the moment, I’m not looking for feedback. I would love it if you could just lend a compassionate ear.”

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#1. When someone asks something you’re just not sure about

It can be helpful to buy some time to analyze the situation and figure out what we want exactly. 

  • "I need some time to think. Can we pick this up in half an hour?" Or, "Can we talk about this later today, after I’ve had more time to think about it?”
  • To someone who wants you to go to a dinner that sounds painful: “I’m going to say no to dinner, but I’d love to catch up another time.”
  • To a collague who wants your help beyond your specialty, interest, or duty: "I can’t, unfortunately. But once I finish up my current tasks, I’ll circle back to see if there’s a way I can support you.”

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- Terri Cole

"Veiled criticism can be worded in a way that sounds helpful or caring, but if your body wisdom starts to pipe up, you know that their judgment is crossing a line."

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When someone asks you something you're unsure about

Here are a few ways to buy yourself more time to assess the situation.

  • "I need a minute to regroup. Can we talk about this in an hour?"
  • "Can we chat about this later today, after I've had some time to consider it?"
  • To a friend who wants you to go to a dinner that sounds boring: "I'm going to say no to dinner, but I'd love to catch up another time."
  • To the colleague who wants you to help with an extra project: "I can't, unfortunately. But once I finish up my current deadline, I can see if there's a way I can support you."

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5 scripts to help you deflect nosy questions, stop advice-givers, fend off criticism and more

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Instead of pushing the feelings away, try understanding them. It will allow you to set the right boundaries.

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Boundaries can be described as how emotionally close you let people get to you. They are also where you draw the line within a relationship. They say how much you are willing to give or take before requiring that things change or deciding to call it quits.

Setting healthy boundaries in relationships is a key skill for relationship stress management. It is a kindness we can do for ourselves as well as for those we are close to.

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