Being asked personal questions rarely feels good. Sometimes it’s outright awkward and embarrassing – which can be further compounded by stuttering, blushing, and not knowing what to say.
So, what is the best way to respond to personal questions? For me, it’s coming back with a witty response that stops the person in their tracks and makes it clear you don’t want to be asked personal questions.
Wit is usually a better response than being rude or defensive. You don’t necessarily want to offend the person, but you do have to make it clear that they are overstepping the mark.
Some of the personal topics that are not welcomed by most people are:
- Money; such as how much you earn, what you can afford, etc.
- Physical appearance; such as if you’ve gained/lost weight, had cosmetic surgery, etc.
- Sexuality; such as your preferences, experience, etc.
- Relationships; such as who you’re dating, how your love life is going, etc.
Do you want to arm yourself with some witty responses to fire back next time someone asks you an uncomfortably personal question?
Here are some funny, clever, and witty responses to the above categories of questions:
Witty Responses to Questions About Money
- I make enough to live the life I want – how about you?
- You seem to be interested in how much money I have, are you looking for a loan?
- Are you from the income tax department?
- I’m doing OK, it’s not me you need to be concerned about.
- I have more than I can spend, it’s a difficult problem to have.
- Do you need an exact figure right now?
- I’ll have a look at my bank account for you when I have a minute.
- You do know that income isn’t related to intelligence, right?
- I bet I make more than you, you go first.
Related – Loads of responses to everyday questions.
Witty Responses to Questions About Physical Appearance
- Yes, I’ve achieved the curvy look I was going for thanks.
- I have (gained/lost) weight, yes, nothing gets past you, does it?
- Are you flirting with me or just really interested in how I’m doing?
- How often do you get sensible answers to questions like that?
- Is it just me, or has this conversation just got weird?
- I really love being asked about personal things like that.
- I’m well aware that I’m (over/under) weight, people pointing it out doesn’t help.
- It’s taken a lot of effort, good food, and money to get into this shape thanks.
- Ask me again in 6 months, it’s a work in progress.
Witty Responses to Questions About Your Sexuality
- You need to be careful because it’s contagious, I can tell you that much.
- Depends on what day of the week it is.
- Why? What have you heard, because I’m sure it’s all true.
- I’m still trying to figure out the answer to that myself.
- Even if I wanted to tell you, I don’t think I would.
- Are you trying to figure out a way to ask me out?
- If I told you I’m attracted to rocks would you believe me?
- Do you know what happened to the last person who asked me that?
- Ask me again in 6 months, I think I’ll have a better answer for you.
- There’s only one way people find out the answer to that question.
Witty Responses to Questions About Your Relationship Status
- Oh, you don’t know about that – well, it’s a story for another time.
- Interesting question, I’m just going to change the subject and pretend you didn’t ask it.
- My relationship is going just fine, thanks, how about you?
- It’s in critical condition, but stable I guess you could say.
- I’m in love with life, that’s all you need to know really.
- Things are so fabulous, I really can’t talk about them right now.
- I’ll let you assume what you want, as that’s probably more interesting than what I have going on.
- Do you ask everyone questions like that?
- Has anyone ever said something surprising to that question?
How Do You Answer Inappropriate Personal Questions?
I’ve given you some witty and funny responses to use if you’re anticipating being asked personal questions that you’re not comfortable answering.
But it’s important to know that this isn’t your only option – there are some other steps you can take to stop people from asking you personal questions.
Ignoring the question – You’re perfectly entitled to ignore someone if they’re asking you personal questions.
They will be aware that they’re being nosey and trying to cross that line and find out things that are none of their business – so ignoring them should get the message across.
Don’t feel although you’re being rude, you’re not. The other person is being rude by asking personal questions.
Redirecting the conversation – If you don’t feel like you can ignore the person, there is an art to redirecting the conversation away from answering the question.
The best way to smoothly redirect an unwanted question is to respond with a question of your own, so the person is on the back foot and has to answer you.
The more interested they are in the question or topic you can redirect them to, the more likely they will be to engage in that topic and move on from whatever they were asking you.
Being blunt – Some people are very persistent and just don’t take a hint well – I’m sure you know at least one person like this, right?
If that’s the case – no matter how difficult you find it to be confrontational – you need to tell them that they’re overstepping the line, being nosey, and poking into matters that are none of their business.
Depending on who you’re talking with, you could try saying something like;
- “Wow, that’s a personal question, I’m not going to answer questions like that.”
- “Do you ask everyone personal questions, or is it just me you’re interested in?”
- “Why would you want to know that?”
- “We’re close, but we’re not at that point where I can share that with you, sorry.”
- “For future reference, you’ve just overstepped the line in terms of what I’m willing to share.”
- “Wow, you’re pretty nosey, aren’t you?”
If the person doesn’t back off with their tail between their legs when you say something along the lines of those comebacks, they’re either pretty determined or very stubborn!
Image credits – Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.