Questions that beg the question

10 Comments

People are nosy.  No, let me rephrase in a more eloquent way – people are inquisitive by nature.  No, I was right the first time, people are nosy.

I’m sure every single person on this revolving planet has a few people in their life who ask the most unprovoked and personal questions that are really none of their business.  It takes us off guard when it happens, but we do our best to maintain some composure before responding.  It never ceases to amaze me that people feel so compelled to ask for information that is quite obviously not for public consumption.  If it were, we would not repress the desire to shout it from the nearest rooftop.

What aberration of human nature makes people so interested in obtaining information that has no relevance to them whatsoever?  It is reminiscent of being back in school and being able to boast “I know something you don’t know”.  Clearly, if they were supposed to know,  they would.

My friends and I have had the same discussion on several occasions and it is a subject that we deliberate on at great length.  I’m sure I’ve been guilty of being nosy as well, I’m not presenting myself as unblemished, but I’ve also learned to recognize that part of myself and stop asking questions that are quite obviously beyond my security clearance.

I have also experienced the opposite side of that fence and had people impose questions on me that were outwardly challenging and highly personal.  Before gaining the upper hand that I now possess I would stumble, quite inarticulately, searching for a response.  Now, without losing the eye contact they seem so boldly willing to hold, I simply ask “Why do you want to know?”.    Color drains from their face more rapidly than a sun sinks into the horizon.  They are suddenly and unwittingly speechless.   They feverishly work to find a suitable retort that will explain their abandonment of common decency and their attempt to invade my personal privacy.  Most times my question abruptly ends the interrogation.

A phrase so simple, yet so effective will put them on the defence and put you back on the offence.  Stand your ground – you don’t have to tell them any more than you want them to know.

10 thoughts on “Questions that beg the question

  1. There’s a subtle way of letting someone know they are being too nosy, which is to absently begin picking yours during the conversation. It’s all psychological, but thy eventually stop asking you questions. Or shaking your hand.

  2. I work as an investigator, so I’m paid to be nosy. When it comes to my personal life, I let people reveal what they’re comfortable with and I keep a tight lip on things that really aren’t any of their business.

  3. Pingback: Mind your own beeswax | polysyllabic profundities

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