6 Polite Ways to Say Don’t Want to Talk About Your Personal Life
At some point or another, most of us have felt like someone is poking their nose into our private business, openly discussing our personal lives without any thought for our feelings. Often, people like this can feel like they’re helping us, lending us a friendly ear, or offering kind words of advice. In truth, they often cause a great deal of upset and insecurity.
Rather than walking away from a good friendship when you find yourself in this situation, wouldn’t it be better if you could politely explain to your pushy friend that your personal life is off-limits as a topic of conversation? These templates should help with this tricky problem.
Template 1 | “This Isn’t the Time or the Place”
Hi [Insert Name],
When we spoke over coffee earlier today, you mentioned some of the things that have been going on in my personal life recently. I appreciate that you were only trying to help me, but I’d really appreciate it if we could steer clear of talking about my private business in the future, unless I ask for your help or advice. The things you spoke about are obviously very personal to me, and I don’t feel comfortable talking about them at the moment, especially in a busy café.
I hope you don’t mind me raising this with you, and I do really appreciate your concern for me.
In this template, you are acknowledging that your friend’s motives were entirely concerned with your welfare, and you avoid suggesting that they are interfering.
Template 2 | “May I Ask Why You’re Keen to Know This?”
Hi [Insert Name],
When we spoke earlier today, you asked me something that was obviously very personal, and I was a little taken aback and changed the subject. Now that I’m back home, I was thinking about it again, and I wanted to ask you what prompted you to ask me what you did? It’s something I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about with anyone, so I’m curious as to why you asked.
I know that you respect me as your friend, so if possible, I’d prefer not to discuss this, or any other aspect of my personal life, in public. I hope you understand.
This template is slightly more confrontational but is appropriate when you feel that the pushy friend has really overstepped the mark. Asking your friend why they want to know about your personal life suggests to them that it’s unreasonable to ask questions like this.
This phrase can be used in several ways, such as:
- That’s an interesting question: why are you asking?
- Why do you ask?
- Why would you like to know?
Template 3 | “TMI”
Hi [Insert Name],
I know you’re curious, and that’s perfectly natural, but I think if I answered your questions, it would definitely be a case of TMI – too much information! Some things are just better left unsaid, don’t you agree? Let’s agree to avoid talking about our personal lives, and keep the conversation light and easy.
This approach keeps everything light-hearted and friendly – by making it sound fairly flippant and trivial, you can then steer the conversation away from those personal topics.
Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.
This article was originally published on https://www.nevertherightword.com. If this article appears on any other site other than https://www.nevertherightword.com without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by https://www.nevertherightword.com.
Template 4 | “I Don’t Know You Well Enough”
Hi [Insert Name],
I know that you asked me about my private life out of genuine concern for me, and I really appreciate that. At the moment, though, I don’t feel like we know one another well enough to discuss things like that. I know that I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable asking you about your private life, and I hope you can appreciate why I don’t want to discuss mine with you.
This template is suitable to use when you haven’t known the person for very long. It might seem a little harsh, but by turning it around and saying you wouldn’t ask such questions yourself, you invite the other person to look at it from your perspective.
Template 5 | “It’s a Secret“
Hi [Insert Name],
I know you really want to know about what’s been going on lately, and you have every right to ask, but unfortunately, I made a promise to keep this a secret. I’d be letting everyone else down if I didn’t keep that secret, and I have to respect their wishes on this. I hope you can understand why I can’t talk about it.
This template works by telling the pushy person that the information is not yours to share. That effectively vetoes all attempts to discuss it further, unless your pushy friend becomes even more determined to find out what the secret is! If that happens, you may need to be even more direct, with a firm ‘no’.
Template 6 | “Can I Ask You the Same Question?”
How’s your love life going?”
“Good thanks. What about you? You must have loads of eligible partners chasing after you. The city is great for meeting new people, isn’t it? Where do you go to find new people to meet?”
This particular method will only really work if you know that the pushy person would be too embarrassed or too shy to talk about their own personal life. If you think that by turning it around to them, you’ll give them free rein to talk at length about their personal life as well as yours, then this approach might not be for you!
At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.
Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!
Never the Right Word
Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation. Learn more about me here.
In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.
Relevant Books We Recommend...
Nationally recognized communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk in any situation. The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression! will help you learn to feel more comfortable in any type of social situation, from lunch with the boss to an association event to a cocktail party where you don't know anyone. We likeThe Fine Art of Small Talk because it has very detailed advice regarding speaking to people from starting a conversation, continuing a conversation, transitions, topics of conversation, etc. Overall the book is extremely helpful, especially for those who experience anxiety with social situations. CLICK HERE to get your copy from Book Depository.
With 92 little hacks for big success in relationships, How to Talk to Anyone by an internationally renowned communications expert and life coach, Leil Lowndes ensures you’ll always know what to say. These extremely usable and intelligent techniques including how to work a party like a television presenter, steering the conversation to where you would like to take it and get connected to any crowd. Lowndes explores different aspects of the conversation and how to present yourself in order to integrate successfully. There's a lot of useful information covered such as speaking the language of the addressee to build rapport. CLICK HERE get your copy of How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes from Book Depository.
If you struggle with meeting new people, are shy, or generally want to improve your conversational skills we think you'll get a lot from this book. In Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People author and human behavior investigator, Vanessa Van Edwards shares a wealth of behavior hacks to help you get the most out of your interactions. You'll learn a strategy for navigating any social situation, unique tricks to break away from monotonous small talk, how to predict people's emotions through speed-reading people's expressions, and much more. Once you understand the laws of human behavior you can be confident that you'll get on well with anyone. CLICK HERE to get your copy of Captivate. Whether you're a people's person or a little more reserved we think it's a great read for everyone.
Celebrating the 75 anniversary of the renowned self-improvement bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People, comes a refreshed adaptation of Carnegie’s timeless prescriptions for the digital age. We love this classic because it teaches the reader how to shift their mindset to make life more engaging and rewarding which increasing being more and relevant in today's society. How to win friends and influence people in the digital age is one of the best books to help you learn how to be influential. Anyone who is willing to read in-between the lines can see that there is power in Carnegie's insights. You can get your copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates by CLICKING HERE.
Check Out Our Recommended Resources.
Looking to become a digital publisher like us? We highly recommend these tried-and-tested tools:
We Recommend Elegant Themes
The Elegant Themes membership gives you complete access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including Divi, the ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page builder. Elegant Themes have been building the world's most popular WordPress themes for the past 10 years, and rest assured their products will always be improved and maintained.
Build Anything With Divi Theme
One of the most popular WordPress themes in the world. Building layouts is easy and fast, making it ideal to create mockups and wireframes, prototyping a design, and creating the website itself. Build from the frontend or backend. The builder is intuitive. It's easy to learn and can be used by non-developers to create amazing websites.
Customize With Divi Cake Plugins
Divi Cake’s main goal is to help the members of the Divi community find the perfect premium Divi themes, layouts, and plugins created by leading Divi developers and designers. Shop hundreds of premium Divi products like Divi child themes, Divi layouts, and Divi plugins on Divi Cake, the community-driven Divi Marketplace. Find out more about Divi Cake here.
We ❤️Shutterstock Media
We get our images from the OG in stock assets. Boost your business with the right images. They're royalty-free and ready to use. Footage & Music Libraries. 4k Images Added per Hour. No Daily Download Limit. Speedy Search & Discovery. With flexible plans and countless amounts of premium content uploaded weekly, we had to mention Shutterstock.
Skill-Up With LinkedIn Learning
When you want to enhance your professional skills with expert-led, online video tutorials, the only place to go is LinkedIn Learning (Lynda). With a subscription you get 24/7, unlimited access to over 13,000 business, design & tech online courses and with a free month. We like them because we get expert-led courses that we can access anytime, anywhere. What's not to love?
Reliable Hosting With SiteGround
SiteGround boasts a whole list of fantastic features at amazingly affordable prices. Along with multiple growth options, free site transfers and domains, built-in Content Delivery Network integrations, WordPress support, AND human support we wouldn't go to anyone else. They're basically faster, safer, and more supportive- you can check them out here.
We Trust Grammarly Premium
Even seasoned writers need a helping hand at times, that’s why we trust Grammarly Premium. As the World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker, Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Try Grammarly Premium’s AI-powered assistant here.
Find Graphics With Creative Market
Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bring your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world. We love the unique finds, social media templates, vectors you name it they have it. I also doesn't hurt that our founder has a little store on there...
Donating to Never the Right Word will
help us produce more free content. Thank you!