Nosy Friends? How to Keep Your Beeswax Private, Without Ruining the Friendship



Here's the deal: you've got a friend you like; she (or he) is fun to be with, fun to go out with, intelligent, etc. There's only one problem, when it comes to your personal life, her tact can be off. She just asks too many invasive questions. Maybe you can tell she wants to know your business so she can better compare herself to you (cray annoying), maybe she's just super open and assumes you are too. Whatever her reasons for being invasive, she doesn't realize she's being flat out nosy — and you're not sure how to handle it. After all, burning bridges can get so…unnecessarily messy. Here's how to make the best out of an awkward situation that involves you keeping your cool when a friend or colleague needs to MYOB.


This is perhaps the best tack to take when a friend wants to know what your mom called to talk to you about, or why you haven't dated anyone in six months. Put a warm smile on your face, muster up a little laughter and ask your comrade when they joined the CIA, the KGB, or if she's reporting alongside James Bond to "M." Other response options could be: my mother wanted to know when I was going to clean my room, why I hadn't finished my milk at dinner last night. Or something along the lines of, "Romeo decided on Juliet, I've been waiting for him to come back." Make sure you say it while smiling, so it doesn't come off too bitchy or evasive. 

Deflect and Redirect 

Misdirection works in tons of social situations, and it's highly effective when you're being given the third degree. People love to talk about themselves, and sometimes a question that seems nosy to you may just be someone's way to start a conversation. Answer their question without giving away any deep details, then ask them how they're doing. How their love life is going, or what they had for lunch. Whatever they ask you, ask it back. Chances are that's what they wanted you to do anyway.

It's Ok to Fib

Life is full of ethical gray areas. Most of us realize that sometimes it's okay to be 90% truthful. If your mom is hassling you to pay your own cell phone bill, and you're not exactly keen for your friends to know you're still on her plan, say she called to discuss the holiday guest list. No harm, no foul. 

Vagueness Take the Spice Out of the Question

Looking to send the message that you're being put out and want the nosiness to cease for the future? Being purposefully, but politely, vague is one way to go. Think of it like the lesson you learned in school that reacting to a bully only eggs them on. Same here. Caving in to their questions will only prolong the situation.

Let Your Body Talk

Do you know the human brain both consciously and subconsciously sizes up another person in a matter of seconds based on their appearance, body language and facial expressions? If you're not sure how to respond, effecting a "closed" position with your body can play a jedi mind trick on your interrogator. Turn away slightly, cross your arms, keep your voice at a steady, loud level to indicate this is not a private conversation and avoid making direct eye contact. It might be time to see if anyone is texting you.

Chill on the Gossip

While you're practicing all of these methods to keep your friendship on track without hurting feelings, keep in mind that gossiping with said investigator is only going to exacerbate the problem. Why? Because you're giving the message that you're into nitty, gritty details of others' lives; that you like to talk about things that aren't necessarily your business. You're basically giving them permission to start a gossip session with you—about you—when there's nothing else to talk about. So chill on talking about hush-hush details of someone else's life. 

If all else fails, this may be someone you want to think about distancing yourself from. After all, there are tons of cool people out there who won't make you uncomfortable on a regular basis and there a million ways (thanks Internet) to meet them.