I’ve been in a series of conversations lately that orbit round the question “What do you say when [your relatives–co-workers–step-uncle’s common-law wife’s brother’s drinking buddy–strangers at the bus stop] asks you a personally invasive question about your children / parenting / life choices?”
I have an answer.
And just look. With a “Did you honestly say that incredibly stupid–invasive–offensive thing or did I slip into some kind of alternative universe” look.
That’s all. If you have difficulty maintaining eye contact during the look, look at the forehead, or just to the right of the questioner’s right ear. And watch the conversation–and its power dynamic–shift.
This has been a huge epiphany for me in the last few years:
that I don’t have to answer people’s questions just because they ask.
You can ask anything you like. Sure. But I don’t have to answer. I don’t have to share. I don’t have to defend or justify.
What do you do or say when people ask you questions they really, really have no right to ask?