#1 ASK KATARINA: How To Politely Decline Intrusive Questions?

#1 ASK KATARINA: How To Politely Decline Intrusive Questions?

''Hello! If possible would you be able to give advice on how to handle people asking about your health when you don’t want to disclose much about it. How do you elegantly change the topic or tell the person that it’s none of their business. Thank you for your wonderful content!''
D. W.

Dear D. W.,
thank you for your question and your kind compliment.

Finding yourself in an uncomfortable situation faced with an intrusive question with no way to escape can be very stressful and frustrating. In most cases, people don’t realise they are being invasive - their natural curiosity and care might cause them to be too nosy. Thankfully, there are multiple ways on how to politely set boundaries without insulting someone.
Depending on the situation and the relationship you have with the person, these can be used interchangeably:

Direct Approach:
"I appreciate your concern, but I prefer not to discuss my health at the moment. Thank you for understanding."
"I'm working on my health privately right now, so I'd rather not discuss it. Thanks for respecting my privacy."

Deflect and Redirect:
"I'm trying to focus on other things right now. How about we talk about [different topic] instead?"
"Let's not dwell on health matters today. Have you heard about [change the subject]?"

Set a Boundary Firmly but Respectfully:
"I prefer to keep my health matters private. Let's talk about something else, shall we?"

Use Humor to Lighten the Mood:
"Ah, my health has become a bit of a boring topic for me. How about we spice up the conversation with something more interesting?"
"I'm aiming to be the world's least interesting patient. Let's talk about [insert different topic]."

Remember to maintain a calm and composed tone while communicating your boundaries.
For many people, aggressive confrontation might be the first way to go, but paradoxically, through calm and assertive reaction we have higher chances of ensuring that the other person understands and respects our wish for privacy.

Yours sincerely,


If you have any etiquette-related questions you struggle finding answers to, feel welcome to share them at info@katarinaetiquette.com.

I am looking forward to hearing from you!

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