How to Deal With Nosy Questions at Work

How to Deal With Nosy Questions at Work

Working with a team of people has its upsides and downsides. Most people white-collar workers are polite and sensible. But every now and then, you will run into someone who, out of nowhere, asks you a personal question. The question can be related to your relationships, finances, personal habits, or health. 

The person asking this nosy question may or may not be aware of their behavior. In such a situation, it is imperative that you deal with the question in a calm and professional manner.

Did you know that, in 2015, 13.1 percent of men reported verbal abuse or treats at the workplace? Statista also reports that 9.8 percent of men and 7.9 percent of women are treated in a humiliating manner at the workplace. 

Similar incidents have been reported in the following years too. In this post, I have shared a few tips to deal with a nosy question at work. A nosy question may not come under the category of harassment but it sure does lead to it in the future. 

Tips to Deal With Nosy Questions at Workplace

1) Signal Disinterest With Your Tone of Voice

When you encounter a nosy person at work, it is important to not to answer back in an impolite manner. Replying with “none of your business” or “why do you care?” can give off wrong signals. On the other hand, you cannot leave yourself exposed by answering irrelevant every question they ask. Hence, deter them by raising the tone of voice so they know that they are stepping over your boundary.

2) Simply Say No

Another way to get rid of a nosy person from asking personal questions is to simply say no. However, do not be unfriendly or rude. Use polite language to let them know that you do not discuss personal issues in the workplace. It is always good to find common ground by asking them an impersonal question in return. Talk about sports or current events instead.

3) Do Not Give Open-Ended Answers

A mistake most people commit when dealing with a nosy person at work is they start enlisting every detail of their life without thinking about the later consequences. Do not give more material to the nosy person. Instead, keep your answers short and bite-sized. I would suggest learning from other people in the workplace. 

4) Give Outrageous Answers

Sometimes it is essential to convert a potentially cringy moment into a funny one. Instead of giving logical answers, you can say something completely outrageous or unexpected. An unexpected answer can throw people off and make them aware of their social behavior. Needless to say, do not be inappropriate or insensitive.

5) Have Ready-Made Answers 

Chances are the nosy person in your workplace likes to get personal with other people too. Observe and note down the common question they ask others. Also, note down the replies your co-workers come up with. You can use the same replies if they were effective. The nosy person couldn’t handle the reply your co-worker gave, so it likely that they will leave you alone as well.


It common for a workplace to have a few people who are naturally over-curious. That does not mean they have bad intentions towards you. Also, make sure you yourself are not one of them.