I’ve been asked about how to answer nosy questions that relate to money. Some folks pry into personal affairs or are downright nosy. They ask questions that can be uncomfortable to answer. Money issues are very personal. You may not want someone to know your salary because they might judge you for not getting enough or ask for a loan if you’re getting more than they thought. To me, it’s just none of their business, unless it’s someone very close to me who I confide everything in, like a parent or best friend. Money questions are commonly:

* “How much do you make?”
* “What did you pay for…?”
* How much did you sell your house for?
* What kind of profit do you make from your side business?

In my DoorMat days I used to answer, even though I was uncomfortable about it. After all, telling someone would be the pleasing thing to do and withholding the info might make someone not want to be my friend. Now I consider those questions rude and an attempt to invade my privacy. Etiquette experts agree that it’s bad form to ask those kind of questions and you shouldn’t answer them if you have even the slightest discomfort about it.

You’re under NO obligation to answer money questions, no matter how much someone presses. There’s little reason why most people need to know your money business.

If you choose not to answer, change the topic. At first you might find it hard to just say you don’t want to tell them. If dodging the question doesn’t end it, say directly, with a smile:

    * “Enough.”
    * “Not enough.”
    * “Dad taught me not to ask those kind of questions so I don’t answer them.”
    * “I’d rather not answer that. I hope you understand that it’s private.”

Or, ask the person, “Why do you want to know?” Since it’s usually just nosiness, it puts them on the spot. Or, they may actually be preparing for something and want an idea of pricing or what to ask for and you might be able to advise them without divulging your specifics. No matter how you handle one of those money questions, giving a specific answer does not have to be one of your options.

If you alienate someone because you didn’t share your personal money details, is that person a true friend?

I’ve learned that setting boundaries helps me see who to weed out of my life or give less time to. Nosy people are often gossips too. If you tell them your personal business, chances are they’ll share the info with others. It’s usually best to keep quiet about money stuff, no matter who gets annoyed. DoorMats share everything because they think it will make others like them more. Nice People on Top use courtesy and respectful behavior and words to tell someone what’s off limits. It feels powerful to not be obligated to share everything!

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