To not want to have to answer millions of questions

(32 Posts)
elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 13:07:12

I don't know if it is just me, but I am finding a woman I know (and unfortunately can't really avoid) difficult because she just endlessly asks me questions. I sometimes give short answers as a sort of 'I don't really want to talk about that' response but still they keep coming.

I've had -
'someone said you were a teacher, did you not like it?'
'are you not getting anything for your dad for Father's Day then?'
'how much rent do you pay there, then?'

My answers (I am looking after my baby, he's dead, we own it) I thought were short enough but they just prompted a load of other questions - some quite personal - which I don't feel comfortable answering.

Do you know anyone like this? How can you discourage them from feeling like you're being interviewed but staying polite?

haveabreakhaveakitkat Tue 23-Jun-15 13:44:05

I have a friend like this. Most of the questions are based around child rearing as I have three older dc's to her two younger ones so she thinks I have the answers to everything she's currently going through with her dc's.

I only see her once a month or so but I'm exhausted afterwards!

OwlAtEase Tue 23-Jun-15 13:46:02

Could you turn it back on her and answer all her questions with a question?

For example:

"Someone said you were a teacher, did you not like it?"
"Oh, circumstances you know... have you had a job you've not liked?"

"Are you not getting anything for your dad for Father's Day then?"
"Why, what are you getting your dad?"

"How much rent do you pay there, then?"
"Not sure, how much do you pay?"

Then just let her talk about herself, while occasionally saying "why?" and "oh really?"

LovelyFriend Tue 23-Jun-15 13:50:54

Agree this is a classic case to answer her questions with a question.

Or say something like "I am actually allergic to questions" <hard stare face> and then say nothing.

Some people are so fucking annoying aren't they?

LovelyFriend Tue 23-Jun-15 13:51:32

"How much rent do you pay there, then?"
A: None of your business!

LovelyFriend Tue 23-Jun-15 13:52:42

"Someone said you were a teacher, did you not like it?"
A: Did they? <wander off>

Noctilucent Tue 23-Jun-15 13:56:51

I find, "What ?" said loudly and with a pointed look, usually works to stop further questions. Or ask another question such as "Why do you want to know ?"

Goshthatsspicy Tue 23-Jun-15 14:48:51

I'd just answer her.
Not sure it's worth being finding ways out of it.
Isn't it more hassle to find smart responses?

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 15:41:13

I don't always want to get into it though gosh

Like the asking a question to deflect ...

EponasWildDaughter Tue 23-Jun-15 15:56:01

I believe one of the classic pieces of advice given out to those who are socially awkward or nervous is to ask the other person questions about themselves.

This lady could be trying to make conversation that way? I know it might be annoying. Answer the question and ask one back - in a kind way - just in case.

Niloufes Tue 23-Jun-15 15:58:36

Are you at lunch socially with this person or are you work colleagues? In what kind of situations do you have to be with this women?

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 16:00:47

She has sort of attached herself to me blush

Runningoverthefields Tue 23-Jun-15 16:13:40

OP, I sympathise. I get people attaching themselves to me too. I have had this exact problem of struggling with endless personal questions from someone. People have different boundaries, I guess.

I like the idea of deflecting the question with another question and plan to try that idea. Last time I got cornered with that I just kept making unrelated statements - polite, conversational statements - as if I hadn't heard the wildly inappropriate question. Last time it was Q: "I saw you going in to the doctor, what were you going there for?" A: Aw, look at that kid. He's so gorgeous. I find it hard to believe that DS was ever that young.

I have a few random inoffensive statements to make at such times. Weather, kids, new supermarket just opened etc. You know, dull stuff. I hope it will put these people off me eventually wink

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 16:30:53

Oh I like the random observation!

If I keep doing it, she might twig 'actually I don't want to talk about that, it's private!'

NKfell Tue 23-Jun-15 16:33:04

I sympathise but to be honest there isn't a lot you can do without being rude.

I get the same thing at the school gates on a morning and I try to halt it by making my own conversation.

A month or so ago I had this exchange:

Annoying Woman: "Can I ask you a very personal question and I don't want to cause offence at all?"
Me: "no" (with a surprised/confused laugh)
Annoying Woman: "I just wondered if your 2 and baby on way had the same Dad? I thought they did but Jo said they don't"
Me: "Ahh OK" and I walked away!

She then sent me a message on FB apologising.

The lesson is, some people are just tactless/nosy/rude...

Runningoverthefields Tue 23-Jun-15 16:45:54

NKfell shock shock shock but impressed by your dignified response.

When she said that she was going to ask you something that was both personal and offensive, she set the bar high for herself. But somehow, she managed to reach it...

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 16:55:38

How rude of her!

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 16:56:07

Pressed post too soon - my children's father(s) have been another topic of conversation with Nosy Woman!

SaucyJack Tue 23-Jun-15 17:00:16

None of those are particularly rude questions IMO- and yes, I have a dead dad too. I'd call all of it small talk tbh

Where is it happening? If it's somewhere where you're not supposed to be talking- or you simply don't want to- then I appreciate you just want her to shut up.

Griphook Tue 23-Jun-15 17:03:03

Sounds like she might be lonely and trying to make conversation

momtothree Tue 23-Jun-15 17:07:09

Try a vacant stare ... or do something really weird - like pick your nose -

prepperpig Tue 23-Jun-15 17:10:18

There is a mum at school who does this to me but I'm sure its that she is a bit shy and is trying to make conversation. We end up talking about random stuff and I feel like I'm being grilled but does it really hurt to make conversation with someone? Its not difficult to turn around questions you don't want to answer and it could make a big difference to them to feel like they have a friend at school they can chat to.

NKfell Tue 23-Jun-15 17:24:31

I was just in shock- I could actually fill a thread with things her and 'Jo' have said to me. From paternity to nipple colour and no, that wasn't a typo!

So, I talked (vented) to my Mum about them and she suggested making my own convo and so far it's working.

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 17:32:46

Saucy, the problem is that when you answer one question it invites a whole load of other questions in, and I wouldn't call them 'rude' but certainly intrusive.

Runningoverthefields Tue 23-Jun-15 17:41:06

I think that they are really rude questions. They are a bit like prodding someone on a bruise to see how much it hurts. I mean...

someone said you were a teacher, did you not like it?'
So elderflower never raised being a teacher with this woman, she's heard it and wants to know what the gossip is around it. There are a few possible happy answers e.g. 'no I wasn't a teacher, you got that wrong' 'yes I was a teacher, but then I won the lottery' but the vast majority of answers will be 'yes, I was, I gave it up due to stress/ill health/some other reason that is likely to be personal and thank you SO MUCH for bringing that up.'

'are you not getting anything for your dad for Father's Day then?'
Why would you not get anything for your dad for Father's Day? Either he's dead or you've gone NC due to abuse or some other painful issue, or he left when you were a kid and never came back. Oh the small talk opportunities...

'how much rent do you pay there, then?'
Money. Other people's money, your money, what you earn, what they earn, how much their rent is, how much your shoes cost. I find it very unpleasant as conversation.

'Why do your kids have different dads?'
What can anyone say to that? "Oh because I thought it would be fun! I planned my life that way all along. Divorce is such a lark, I just wanted to do it again. I didn't love the father of my children, so it doesn't hurt particularly that our relationship broke down, and I don't love my kids or feel any desire to protect them, so, yeah, this is a really happy stress-free conversation." Mmm.

Here are some non-rude questions...

'Doing anything this weekend?'
'I love your hair, did you go back to the same salon again?'
'How did 'xyz-thing-you-told-me-about go? I was thinking of you.'
'Your DS scored at football when I went to watch - I took a photo, would you like me to send it to you?'

Because they all relate to something positive. Hence not rude. It's not that everything has to be positive - but I don't just come out and ask people to tell me about their pain - I don't have any right to know about it. I listen and am there for them whenever they want to talk about something that hurts, of course. But only if they want to. (Funnily enough, I am often the one people want to talk to, because I don't gossip)

Admittedly I'm hardly a walking Debretts and can be tactless or irritating in a million ways...

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