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When we’re getting to know someone we have met recently, whether at work or with a group of friends, it is a normal part of the process to ask questions to get familiar with each other and break the ice. There were times when I remember being asked questions I found a bit intrusive and didn’t feel like answering, and while I was contemplating the perfect reply in my head, I was always stuck between evading the question politely and just roasting them with one of these replies that indirectly say “this is none of your business”
It is one thing being friendly, and it is a totally different thing pushing it too far to the point where it is rude or invading people’s privacy, especially when it comes to someone who is not really close to you or don’t have a strong relationship with. So, having been there, myself, quite often where I rolled my eyes at a question or two, here are some of these I didn’t enjoy being asked or wouldn’t want to be asked – well, at least from my very humble opinion.
1. How come you are still single?
There is no way you can ask that question without making the whole situation awkward or making them uncomfortable. In your head it sounds like ‘You look good, you are nice, what’s wrong with the people around you?’ 'How come you are that pretty/handsome and still single?' But the reality is that you are leaving the other person stuck up in trying to find you a list of justifications convenient enough for why they are still single but also worthy. Or maybe ask them to list their flaws so it makes more sense to you. Also, maybe they’re simply happy being single.
2. Why did you break up/get divorced?
Until the other person decides they are ready or want to share the story, just simply show some courtesy by not opening an old wound or getting too personal.
3. Why don’t you want/have kids?
Well, ruling out the probability that they chose not to have kids, what if this person has been trying to conceive for years and all the attempts have failed or even had a miscarriage? Now, just imaging for a second how this question would make them feel!
4. How much money do you make?
So, unless you work at a bank or an insurance company and you are trying to sell that person a loan or an insurance plan they asked for, no, it is none of your business how much they make for a living.
5. Don’t you want to find something like a real job instead?
Just because your mind can’t grasp the nature of some jobs that emerged in the last decade or two like content creators, freelancers, podcast creators, etc., that doesn’t make it anything less than ‘a real job’.
6. Why do you look so tired?
While you might be saying this with the best intention of expressing concerns over the other person’s well-being and health, all they might be hearing you say is ‘You are not looking as good as you usually do’ or ‘You look bad’. For what it’s worth, they might be undergoing some health problems or spending some sleepless nights fighting anxiety or depression. The last thing you want to do in that situation is making them feel the pressure of having to look great all the time.
7. How did he/she pass away?
Give your curiosity a little break here, especially when it comes to someone close to their heart and has deceased recently. Knowing how they passed away won’t help you bring them back to life, obviously, nor will you ease their pain. All you can do in this situation is send some prayers, show some love and support, and that’s it.
Remember, people only share what they want to share or feel comfortable about sharing. Until they decide they want to open up to you, just be nice and pleasant company, let them look forward to spending time with you instead of avoiding meeting you with all your interrogative questions.