You just entered the House of Flying Darts. Even acquaintances feel free to ask the dreaded question: Are you getting the vaccine? Not in the mood to get trampled on for your views on current vaccination? Two words: “Trust issues.” When did it become socially acceptable to ask personal, medical questions? I just tell them, “It’s classified. I’m not touching that hot topic. Want to talk about something else?” Don’t know how to answer intrusive questions? Please set your GPS to the high road, and don’t be rude or sassy with your comebacks.

She keeps asking you updates on your love life. “So, when are you starting a family?” He actually asked you your annual income. “How much money do you make?” Say: “Not enough.” Or, “Will it affect who’s paying for dinner?” “How much do you get paid?” “Only a fraction of what I’m worth.” You may be tempted to say: “Hey, don’t let your food get cold worrying what’s on my plate.” Stay polite and graceful, please.

Faced with an onslaught of unwanted questions? Feign sleep. You know that the amount of sleep required by the average person is: five minutes more. How do you know when it’s time for cows to go to sleep? When it’s pasture bedtime. Heh.

Indeed, some people are motivated by concern, but what of those who ask indiscreet, nosey, sometimes downright rude questions? Perhaps she doesn’t realize that her question made you feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, he may enjoy making you feel uneasy or watching you squirm. Some ask questions not because they care about you; but because they care about themselves. Others repeatedly ask you because they do not know any other way to interact.

How much do you weigh? “A little more than I wish I did. “No need to spill the beans. Speaking of which, all the coffee beans in Columbia won’t make me a morning person. But I digress…

She wants to know how many children you plan to have. Good grief. Not to mention, you are bombarded with interrogations about masks, lockdowns, and vaccines, oh my. You feel as though you have to constantly prove how “safe” you are being. After all, he is “only trying to help.” And perhaps, he truly is.

An acquaintance in the store put you on the spot, and now you are ill at ease and react awkwardly. You feel forced to have that dreaded conversation about this controversial topic, even if you truly do not want to. You can always be flat out honest and simply tell him that you find his questions too personal. You have the right to keep parts of your life private, my friends. Especially now.

If you forgive me for not answering, I’ll forgive you for asking. Let’s be honest: Some folks feel powerful knowing things they think others don’t know. Perhaps you don’t mind sharing personal medical information with others, so you see no harm in asking. What do you say when you feel he just invaded your privacy? You can always try: “Why do you ask?” “That’s really a sensitive topic, isn’t it?” Remember that your intonation may communicate more than your words.

What are some cringe-worthy questions that you don’t want to be asked? Guess what? You have the right to set boundaries with anyone and everyone. Y’all know me. To avoid a potentially embarrassing moment, try humor.

Above all, do not allow yourself to feel pressured to offer more information than you are comfortable with. “This is too emotionally fraught. I would rather not talk about that, but hey, I would love to hear about…” Fill in the blank.

Facebook, Instagram, and reality TV: Confessional culture is all the rage. The tiniest detail of everyone’s life is on full blast. No more secrets in our new age. Not exactly, sweet friends. The foundation of manners and etiquette are boundaries. And you get to set your own. Some may have pure motives for asking, and they do not wish to poke, pry, and push in at all. As misguided as it may be, she just asks personal questions as a means of connecting or getting close to you.

Some of the persistent prying is justified due to the mass hysteria and the epidemic of fear. Many may even feel entitled to an answer. Others may judge your values or preferences at this time or try to convince you to change your lifestyle choices. You can always try to switch the subject as painlessly as possible. Then again, you can anticipate and visualize your foul shout in advance. Prepare and deflect to a famous celebrity, perhaps, and his views on the matter. You know what Shaq said: “Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just G-d’s way to say nobody’s perfect.”

Answer in general. “When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.” “I’m not sure. What do you think?” “I take the fifth.” Describe how fed up or frustrated you feel with all the health controversies or the political climate. You can always deflect by asking advice about the subject they are enquiring about. Try sidestepping to a safer topic. Share how maddening it is that everyone simply can’t agree or tolerate differing viewpoints.

You, my friends, are in the driver’s seat. You do not have to answer at all. Dance around the question by saying: “Thank you so much for caring.” “Only G-d knows the future, and He hasn’t told me yet.”

Make it your business to mind your own business. It’s better to have your nose in a book than in everyone else’s business. Please find the goodwill that is beneath the inquisitor’s behavior, and always.try to respond from a place of kindness.

The next time you are tempted to inquire a tad too much, please think about conversational boundaries. Do not let your questions leap way over the etiquette line, sweet friends. And always sprinkle some tact into your response. My all time favorite: “I’ll get back to you on that one.”

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at

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