dealing with annoying coworkers
Notice the cues that signal oncoming nosiness: If you fear the person next to you in a bus, aeroplane, or waiting room will pry, arrange the situation so that you don’t have to go deeper into a conversation. Consider getting something to read or fiddle with your phone. If that fails, politely answer a few questions and shift your attention elsewhere.
Tell the truth: Once you start to lie, you may find yourself inextricably bound to facts that later conversations can’t support. You don’t have to give all the facts, but be honest about what (if anything) you decide to share.
Decide what makes the question “nosy”: The questioner may have no ill will in mind but is just asking an ordinary question. It may just feel nosy because it relates to something in your life about which you’re sensitive. If so, feeling invaded may help you to understand some of your own personal insecurities and concerns.
Keep the notion of “inclusive fitness” in mind: If the survival of our families is our priority, relatives may ask you questions, not because they care about you, but because they care about themselves. The search for information, perhaps on your ability to have children, may fit into this evolutionary framework and not reflect any of your own shortcomings.
Practice a socially acceptable way to respond to common questions: If you repeatedly get the same question, create an answer to use that helps you avoid anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Use deflection: Rather than deception, change the subject. The questioner may not be happy, but if you feel that things are getting too personal, shift the focus. If you’re at a social gathering, find a way to move on to someone else (“I need to refill my plate”) or engage someone nearby in conversation and then discretely move on.
State your discomfort: It may not seem socially acceptable to let someone know you feel invaded but, by making your desires known, you do both of you a favour. Because people may not realise that an “innocent” question is too personal, most will respect your desire for distance and appreciate your honesty in communicating this.
Realise that some people are “compulsive communicators.”: Some individuals can’t stop talking. You need not be forced to listen to their chatter if it becomes burdensome. Through nonverbal cues, let them know you prefer a little peace and quiet.