Sometimes, we get stuck in situations where we prefer not answering a question posed at us. In such instances, just use lighthearted humor and deflect the answer. This, and some more tricks to politely avoid answering a question, have been summarized here.
Not answering the question, answers the question!
It sometimes happens that, even though a topic seems to be none of anybody’s business, everybody seems to be suddenly interested in knowing about it. Some people are just naturals when it comes to asking mean and blunt questions. Such nosy people lack basic etiquette. I’m still unaware as to how people can be so unseemly and presumptuous, when dealing with others.
But there is a saying, that if you retaliate in the same way, then what is the difference between you and the other person. Therefore, before you snap back and pin that person to the wall, hold on for a second and rethink. You should display as much as refined behavior and elegance as you can manage, and answer their snooping interrogation politely. This act, not only puts off the questioner, but also makes him/her embarrassed.
Being assertive rather than aggressive usually works. I believe in a quote by Eric Hoffer, which reads, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength”, and abide by it. SocialMettle also thinks that if you want to avoid answering a question, you should do it politely, and therefore, has come with up with a list of to-dos that you may want to imbibe.
Candidly Avoid the Answer
There are two ways of doing this. In the first way, you can be straightforward and tell the person in an assertive but mild tone that you would not be answering the question. You don’t have to beat around the bush. You could use statements like…
➟ I do not mean to be rude, but I’d rather not answer this question.
➟ With no offense, I would like to say that this question is too personal for me to answer.
➟ I’m sorry, but I don’t think I would like to share that information with anyone.
➟ I’m grateful that you asked, but I would rather not talk with someone who was not involved.
The second way of answering unwanted questions, is that you reply in a time-buying kind of response. Let me give you some examples…
➟ Well, I didn’t look at it like that before, I’ll think over and get back to you.
➟ I only have half knowledge about it, I’ll search for more information and get back to you.
➟ I’m really busy right now. I think we can talk about it later.
➟ This is not the right time to discuss it. Maybe we could catch up later and pick up this thread.
Requestion the Questioner
If the questioner is persistent and bent upon the idea of culling out the information from you, then you may use the trick of requestioning the questioner. This way, you will put the ball back into his/her court.
➟ I think you would know the answer better.
➟ I’m not able to frame my answer properly, would you help me by giving your suggestion?
➟ I value your suggestion more in this situation.
➟ If you were in the same situation, what would you do?
➟ If you have the answer, please elaborate, and I would definitely add my viewpoint to it.
➟ Why would you want to know that?
➟ Nice question? When did you yourself stop stealing things?
Confuse the Questioner
If you feel the questioner is kind of crossing the limits, and you are not so eager to let that person do it, then you may give him/her one of the below-mentioned answers and confuse him/her. I think, after he listens to these answers, he may lose interest in probing any further.
➟ I was there at the club at 8 p.m. with Jacob, but I’m not sure why you are getting at it. Tell me the exact point that you want to know about. Do you want to know where I was, with whom I was, or why we were together?
➟ I’m not sure if I could answer this question, but is there anything else I could help you with? Or, if you know a little bit about this topic, then tell me. Maybe we both could elaborate on it?
➟ Did you really just ask me that? And if you did, then do you think that I will answer it? Also, the way you had framed the question is too curt, so don’t feel bad, but I’m not answering it.
It may sound silly, but try giving such answers to a close friend, and note the response. The questioner will simply be stunned and leave the topic. But the way you give a reply should not be aggressive or sound demeaning to the other person. Remember, I had written previously that you have to maintain your balance and be graceful. Be confident, assertive, and answer tactfully. It works!
Use a Little Humor/Lightheartedness
Using a little humor while answering questions would help a lot, because, the seriousness of the question would just dilute away. But the humor should be lighthearted, and most of the time, should be addressed to your own self. I have listed a few examples which would make your task of incorporating humor in answers a little easier.
If somebody asks you about the amount of money you make, you could simply say:
➟ It is not good to discuss money with anybody apart from your spouse.
➟ It’s just enough to take care of my bills, rent, fuel, food, and also have a little fun.
If you are posed with a weight gain or loss question , then reply with something like:
➟ I’m think I’m much happier now, and hence the weight gain.
➟ I feel awesome about my look, how about you?
➟ I started fitting in my college jeans due to the weight loss. Hey, do you still fit in your ol’ jeans?
If someone points at you still being single, just say:
➟ You will be the first person to know when I find someone.
➟ I want to go see the world, and getting hitched would not allow me to do so.
➟ I like to make all married people jealous of me.
➟ I want to nurture my pets in a sane environment.
➟ I’m not giving up on love yet.
One last tip. After the question is posed, do not answer straightaway. Be silent for a while, and use that time to think of an appropriate answer. If you still don’t want to answer, point in some random direction and say, “Whoa, he just looks like Thomas Edison!” I just intend to say, change the subject, and play with the tone of your voice correctly, because the wrong tone may portray a different mood.