On our website we have already discussed the topic that everyone should have personal boundaries. However, it often happens that your friends, colleagues or relatives start to pry into your private life.
What to do? On the one hand, of course, you cherish them and don’t want to be rude to them. On the other hand, they may touch very sensitive topics. In this article I will tell you how to effectively get out of these awkward situations.
Interest in relatives’ health
If you feel that there is an morbid interest to your relatives and there will be a meeting with this person, you need to think in advance about a certain retreat plan. Come up with standard answers to unpleasant questions. They must be neutral, but truthful.
For example, in response to a painful question for you:
“How is your mom/dad/brother/sister doing? Is everything okay?”
You might answer:
“I think he/she would love to see you.”
If your interlocutor really cares about the person, he or she will probably find a way to talk to them in person. It’s just that sometimes people need to keep the conversation going, and they don’t even realize that they might hurt your feelings.
A second effective technique is to answer the question posed very briefly, and then quickly but discreetly change the subject of the conversation. It should be similar to the one that you started to discuss. Then the interlocutor is unlikely to understand that you are leaving the conversation. And if he notices it, he probably will not go back to the old topic, because it would be inappropriate.
– Why didn’t your brother come? (Actually, you and your brother are in a quarrel and haven’t spoken in a long time.)
– He decided to be alone for a while. He would probably love to talk to you, though.
– How’s your sister doing?
– I haven’t seen her in a long time either.
So you will not devote the details of your personal life, but he will not be offended.
Of course, you will not always be able to deftly avoid unpleasant conversations. If there is something that you just can’t discuss, you should think of an answer in advance. Here are a few more tried-and-true phrases that will help you escape from an unpleasant conversation:
Obtrusive phone communication
More often than not, we encounter intrusive telephone conversations with various salesman, clerks, managers who want to sell us something. Although it also happens that we are called by a person who is completely uninteresting to us, but he refuses to understand it.
As experience shows, it is not easy to end a conversation with both, but it is still possible. I recommend using the following phrases:
“I heard you, but I have nothing to say yet. Given your busy schedule, I wouldn’t want to waste your time.”
This method allows you to “save face”, because it is as if you are concerned about the affairs of your interlocutor. The main disadvantage is that he may not get the hint.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I have to pee.”
This one is hard to resist. If the person insists that you call back later, tell them that the toilet on your floor (or in your house) is broken, so you won’t be back for a while.
“What do you think about global warming? The news is saying that the temperature has risen again.”
Change the topic of conversation to something boring for your conversation partner. Insist on the discussion until he or she gives up. That’s the revenge!
“An interesting version. Well, everyone has an own opinion.”
The best way to end a conversation is if your interlocutor insists on his opinion and you don’t want to argue with him. But beware: this doesn’t work for some people (especially if religion or politics are being discussed). In that case, try the following two phrases.
While you’re being bombarded with unpleasant phone conversations, think about something else. Just say: “Uhm. Uh-huh” and use that time to answer emails, read the news, browse social media, etc. Then say:
“Look, I still don’t understand anything. Would you mind repeating everything again?”
Praise and escape
This is one of my favorite techniques. It has the graceful politeness of “I’m distracting you” and the subtle hint of “I value my time”:
“Oh, this is all very interesting. But let’s discuss it some other time. I’m very busy right now, and I can’t give you my full attention”.
Obtrusive conversations at meetings
Avoiding an unpleasant conversation in personal meetings is more difficult than over the phone. Although with some experience it will not be difficult for you. Here are some interesting tricks:
“Oh, that’s so interesting. Maybe we should ask Carl’s opinion?”
When you meet an unpleasant person to talk, just wait until someone you don’t like very much passes by (in this case, someone named Carl). Then grab Carl by the elbow and lead him to your interlocutor. As soon as he turns to the newcomer say: “I’ll be right back”. And run away. 🙂
“Excuse me, but I must to save Maria from the conversation. She just hinted at it to me.”
This method will hint to your conversation partner that some conversations are not welcome.
“Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but I must to go to the bathroom.”
As you may recall, this phrase was also appropriate for a phone conversation. In meetings, however, it works only if your partner of the opposite sex. If you are with him the same sex, then after your words you have to go very quickly, so he/she did not follow you. If your interlocutor followed you (which is unlikely), then hide in a stall until he/she leaves.
“Excuse me. But I must to take this call… (explaining tone) My phone is vibrating.”
Pretend that your phone is ringing. Immediately step aside and pretend to be talking. If the annoying interlocutor looks at you and waits for you to come back, make a very unhappy face and, after hanging up, walk resolutely away somewhere, as if you went to deal with something or someone. Most likely, the other person will avoid you until the end of the meeting.
“Oh, what time is it?”
It doesn’t matter what time it really is. Say you’re “late on important meeting” or think of something specific.
“I’m going to get another drink before the bar closes.”
And immediately turn around and go to the bar. However, this phrase is not very effective in two cases:
- the bar will be open for at least another hour;
- there is no bar.
That is all, dear readers. As you can see, there are many techniques for escaping unpleasant conversations. You can come up with your own as well. Good luck!