You are having lunch at a friend's house and suddenly someone asks you an indiscreet, impertinent or inadequate question. The bite you just swallowed got stuck in your throat, you stare at that person and wonder how he could have asked you that question. This is a fairly common situation in which we have all found ourselves at least once. Why do people ask these kinds of questions? And, more importantly, how to respond?
By investigating the causes that generate the inappropriate questions
One of the most obvious reasons people ask rude or inappropriate questions is that they don't realize it. As strange as it may seem, there are many people who lack social sensitivity and can raise questions at any time that are totally out of place. These people are not characterized by empathy and do not realize that certain comments or questions can deeply hurt the susceptibility of others.
Another possibility is that these people don't share the same values as us. For example, there are people for whom talking about sex with strangers is perfectly normal, but others consider this subject to be taboo. If the other person doesn't know you well and doesn't know what your taboo topics are, they risk asking a question that may be intrusive or inappropriate.
Another reason may be a defiant attitude. That is, the question itself is not very important because it is asked with the sole purpose of making you understand that it fully understands what you consider socially acceptable, but this person does not care. In these cases, it is a clear challenge. A third possibility is the simple willingness to annoy, express anger or hostility towards you; feelings that can be conscious or unconscious. A classic example is when your partner is jealous and never misses a chance to ask rude or inappropriate questions in front of others. Or when a person feels envious and tries to make you look bad.
Finally, a further reason that can lead to inappropriate or inadequate questions lies in the mechanism of identification with the aggressor. That is, the person instead of feeling compassion for the victim, identifies with the aggressor and takes his position. Since she herself has been a victim on certain occasions, she takes on the role of the aggressor with others and asks these kinds of questions to put them in an awkward position. Obviously, this is an attitude that is taken unconsciously. What to do?
- Keep your reactions under control. It is normal to show surprise as these questions normally catch us off guard, but it is best to try to control your emotions as being nervous or embarrassed will only add further stress to the situation.
- Take a few seconds to think about what to answer. Do not be too quick to answer, take your time to think about what you are going to say and above all, to decide if you intend to answer the question. Remember that you don't have to give an answer.
- Be honest. Lying is never a good counselor. If you decide to answer, it is best to tell the truth. If you have decided not to answer, just smile and say something like: "I prefer not to answer." However, it would be better to find a funny excuse in order to relax the tension by forgetting the prying question by laughing about it.