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Old 12-02-2019, 01:43 AM
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People always asking: (Is the person you're meeting) "he or a she?"


I've had a string of failed relationships, and the latest episode was this year, where my girlfriend and I were this close to getting married (indeed, she was already more of a fiancee by then than a girlfriend) but the relationship ended in the summer.

Enough about that, though. The real question I wanted to ask was this: What is a polite way to say "It's not your business" when people (especially, parents,) ask: "Is this friend a he or a she?" anytime they find out that you're hanging out with a friend or someone? At age 32, I am at the point where my parents seem to automatically assume that any woman I meet is supposed to be a prospective mate, and ditto for some other nosy people in my life. When they interrogate, "Is this friend a he or a she?" it 1) makes it seem like as if, if I were dating a woman, that I'm, well, somehow doing something wrong or sneaky or 2) I just want to find a polite way to tell them that it is none of their business.

Problem is, I think in part due to my string of recent failed relationships, my parents are particularly caught in this mindset of "Velocity needs a wife, therefore every or most social interactions must somehow relate to dating or marriage."

Ignoring the question is not an option - it will be repeated again and again, or, silence will be taken as confirmation of yes. If I say "This woman and I are just friends," that often just invites the side-eye - "uh huh, sure, you're just friends...."

How to politely tell family, relatives and others to mind their own business?
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:15 AM
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The thing is, you can't really start talking about someone, and then refuse to part with even the most basic information about them; that looks weird. I'd answer the question, but in a way that shows you know the underlying agenda. "Are you wondering if I'm dating [Paul/Pauline]? If I start seriously dating someone, I'll let you know."
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:33 AM
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How about "Well, I can't really tell and it might seem rude to ask"? That oughta shut up the nosy inquirers.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:16 AM
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Or you could modify Kimstu's suggestion to make your point: "I've wondered that myself, but I mind my own business".
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:23 AM
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Or tell them: "It's a he, but never fear! It's starting to look serious this time!"

See if that shuts them up!

(d&r)
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
How to politely tell family, relatives and others to mind their own business?
Tell them the friend is non-binary and use the pronoun "them" or "they" - "My friend is non-binary and the relationship hasn't progressed to where were are comparing crotch configurations. Do you want an update when their underwear finally comes off?"

Alright, that's my evil side, but just imagine the looks on their faces...
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:04 AM
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Throw it back on them. "She, but why do you ask?" They may not be so keen on continually having to answer "oh, we're nosey-parkering into your love life" time and time again, and may eventually shut up about it.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:13 AM
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It might be better to avoid giving them the triggering information in the first place.

I have a similar problem, though not with relationships. I have some much older relatives for whom medical issues consume most of their lives. This is their pastime and hobby and they are really, really interested in medical subjects. I learned to avoid any information about medical issues involving myself or immediate family. The inquisitive drilling and constant questioning about outcomes, prescriptions, etc. cannot be stopped. But they can be avoided by never mentioning anything medical, no matter how minor.

Could you simply avoid mentioning any new relationships you don't wish them to quiz you about?
  #9  
Old 12-02-2019, 06:20 AM
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"Does it matter?"
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Enough about that, though. The real question I wanted to ask was this: What is a polite way to say "It's not your business" when people (especially, parents,) ask: "Is this friend a he or a she?" anytime they find out that you're hanging out with a friend or someone?
Well, how did they find out?

If they found out from a third party, feel free to tell them it's none of their business. (If your mother's doing the asking, do so in a diplomatic manner, but still.)

If they found out from you, then you shouldn't be terribly surprised if they ask. That's what people do to show an interest.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:08 AM
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The thing is, you can't really start talking about someone, and then refuse to part with even the most basic information about them; that looks weird. I'd answer the question, but in a way that shows you know the underlying agenda. "Are you wondering if I'm dating [Paul/Pauline]? If I start seriously dating someone, I'll let you know."
This.


Personally, I avoid telling my mother anything about my romantic life until I've already made a commitment to be exclusive.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:18 AM
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I've got friends with parents just like this. Boundary challenged, so "none of your business" simply does not compute. It's like arguing with a wall.

The only tactic is to simply not divulge this information at all. Be vague. Give no detail.

"Where were you last night?"
"Out."
"By yourself?"
"Nah."

Or go the Bill Engvall route:

"Bye!"
"Are you going out?"
"Nope. Felt like wearing a parka to bed. {Here's your sign.}"
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:28 AM
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If you donít want to offer any information to your parents about someone donít mention em to your parents.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:43 AM
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If someone asks me a question I do not care to field, I chuckle and maybe shake my head, like I cannot believe they'd even ask. Period. End of interaction. Unless someone is extremely dense, they'll get the hint.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:12 AM
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If you know they're going to potentially ask you such a question that you'd rather not answer, why the hell would you tell them you're meeting anyone in the first place? Why tell them you're doing anything? Even if you happen to live in the same house as your parents, you still don't need to offer any information when you're leaving. Just go. And if you're not living with them, it should be that much easier. Talk about work or something. If you say something coy like, "I'm going to meet a friend now. Bye." Then it's your own fault that they follow that up with probing relationship questions.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
If you say something coy like, "I'm going to meet a friend now. Bye." Then it's your own fault that they follow that up with probing relationship questions.
I've occasionally deflected that sort of enquiry with something like "Going to meet some people".

Or one could try my father's old phrase "going to see a man about a dog", but if you're dealing with the literally-minded, I suppose there'd be no end of questions about what sort of dog, and so forth.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Problem is, I think in part due to my string of recent failed relationships, my parents are particularly caught in this mindset of "Velocity needs a wife, therefore every or most social interactions must somehow relate to dating or marriage."
So this is what you need to address with them, not the "he or she" thing. They may not realize that their anxiety over your romantic status comes through in their questions to you. Point this out to them and then tell them that it's pouring on pressure that is stressful. If it continues, you'll feel like clamming up around them. I'm sure they don't want that.

Last edited by you with the face; 12-02-2019 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:25 AM
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Or you can answer "No, actually" and leave it at that.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:09 AM
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I agree with you with the face's advice. One way to have that conversation would be to respond with "I would rather not say" when you are asked if when your friend is a boy or a girl.

Family: "Why don't you want to say?"
You: "Because I always sense there is a question behind that question--like you trying to find out if I am dating or not. And that makes me feel anxious. So I would appreciate if you would not ask me that."

I know people will tell you that "none ya" is a complete sentence. But in the real world, especially among family, it often isn't. Being coy won't keep people from stomping on your boundaries. It will just making them stomp harder.

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Old 12-02-2019, 12:15 PM
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Or tell them: "It's a he, but never fear! It's starting to look serious this time!"

See if that shuts them up!

(d&r)
========================
Careful with that, my mother had a period of trying to hook me up with girlfriends... if I ever hook up with a woman, all she'll have in common with my mother's offerings is their gender.
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  #21  
Old 12-02-2019, 12:31 PM
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If you know they're going to potentially ask you such a question that you'd rather not answer, why the hell would you tell them you're meeting anyone in the first place? Why tell them you're doing anything?
Kind of where I come down. To whit:

"See you later."
"Where are you going?"
"Oh, I've got some stuff to take care of."
"What kind of stuff?"
"Eh, just stuff."

If people are being nosy to the point of bothering you, just stop volunteering hints about your life. There is nothing wrong with being neurotically private. I mean, maybe there is, but that's between me...err...you and your therapist .

ETA: Eh, already covered by several other people. But whatever - it's still sound advice. Close-mouthed is the way to go.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 12-02-2019 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:54 PM
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Why does it matter if you get the side eye? At 32, the details of your personal affairs are yours only. As I stated in another thread, I always introduced my girlfriend by her first name only and generally ignored any further inquiry. I induced some side-eyes, but I just ignored them and the next time there was no inquiry.
  #23  
Old 12-02-2019, 01:14 PM
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I've had a string of failed relationships, and the latest episode was this year, where my girlfriend and I were this close to getting married (indeed, she was already more of a fiancee by then than a girlfriend) but the relationship ended in the summer.

Enough about that, though. The real question I wanted to ask was this: What is a polite way to say "It's not your business" when people (especially, parents,) ask: "Is this friend a he or a she?" anytime they find out that you're hanging out with a friend or someone? At age 32, I am at the point where my parents seem to automatically assume that any woman I meet is supposed to be a prospective mate, and ditto for some other nosy people in my life. When they interrogate, "Is this friend a he or a she?" it 1) makes it seem like as if, if I were dating a woman, that I'm, well, somehow doing something wrong or sneaky or 2) I just want to find a polite way to tell them that it is none of their business.

Problem is, I think in part due to my string of recent failed relationships, my parents are particularly caught in this mindset of "Velocity needs a wife, therefore every or most social interactions must somehow relate to dating or marriage."

Ignoring the question is not an option - it will be repeated again and again, or, silence will be taken as confirmation of yes. If I say "This woman and I are just friends," that often just invites the side-eye - "uh huh, sure, you're just friends...."

How to politely tell family, relatives and others to mind their own business?
Simple. Tell them you hope to know by the time you get home.
  #24  
Old 12-02-2019, 01:14 PM
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I gotta throw in with the "if you're going to have a boundary about something, make sure the line is drawn in the correct place" side of this.

If a person brings up a topic -- new car, new restaurant in the neighborhood, new friend -- I think it is well within normal social behavior to ask for more general details. Asking whether a new friend is platonic or romantic does not strike me as intrusive, not really any more so than asking whether the new car is sporty and fast or more of a utility thing. (Don't read into that analogy too deeply, of course!) That holds true even when the other party has an ulterior motive, like wanting you to buy a massive SUV, or avoid fatty and unhealthy foods, or whatever. It's still a reasonable question on its face.

So if the question of romantic/platonic is to be avoided, the whole topic of friends should be avoided.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:33 PM
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"Is this friend a he or a she?"

"Probably one of those."
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:01 AM
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"It's rude to ask you dealer's gender, Mom."
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:01 AM
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"Conjoined twins, one of each. I can't say more."
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:36 AM
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I'm guessing the underlying question is actually 'Is this a date?' and that's what you're trying to avoid answering. In my case, I usually just explain that it's a friend from college/high school that I haven't seen in a few years or that I recently found on facebook and we're going out for a drink.
  #29  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Tell them the friend is non-binary and use the pronoun "them" or "they" - "My friend is non-binary and the relationship hasn't progressed to where were are comparing crotch configurations. Do you want an update when their underwear finally comes off?"

Alright, that's my evil side, but just imagine the looks on their faces...
I love your evil side Broomstick.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:43 PM
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If someone asks me a question I do not care to field, I chuckle and maybe shake my head, like I cannot believe they'd even ask. Period. End of interaction. Unless someone is extremely dense, they'll get the hint.
Haha, please.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:52 AM
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If you donít want to offer any information to your parents about someone donít mention em to your parents.
This. Don't offer information if you aren't willing to answer the follow-up questions.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:18 PM
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Up until recently I worked at the same job for about 7-8 years, and almost NEVER brought up my relationship status (they knew I wasn't married, and that was it). If someone asked if I was seeing anyone I'd say nah (I've been talking to someone for a couple years, but we are not official, and I didn't feel like explaining) and that was that. I had one older coworker who, while generally a sweet old man, would ask me all the time if I or my brother (my brother worked the same job for awhile and this guy LOVED him) are seeing anyone yet. When I'd inevitably say no, he'd shake his head and say I'd better get moving. Irritating, but not enough so that I felt the need to tell him off.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:24 PM
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When they interrogate, "Is this friend a he or a she?" it 1) makes it seem like as if, if I were dating a woman, that I'm, well, somehow doing something wrong or sneaky or 2) I just want to find a polite way to tell them that it is none of their business.
Why don't you just tell them "I don't really see gender in binary terms like that"?
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:36 PM
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I respect it's privacy.
  #35  
Old 12-04-2019, 07:09 PM
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"If it ever becomes relevant to you, they can tell you themselves."
  #36  
Old 12-05-2019, 03:24 PM
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Just say "Why do you need to know?"
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Old 12-05-2019, 04:28 PM
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For those saying 'Just don't mention friends', that isn't as easy as you think for sufficiently determined parents. My mother's the same; I mention anyone, in pretty much any context, and my mother assumes we're probably dating. New neighbour? Dating them. New co-worker who I'm helping train? Dating. Drunken lunatic threw a brick through the window? Ooh, he clearly likes you! Got a picture? Maybe when he gets back out!

You manage an entire conversation without admitting to the existence of another human, and OoooOoh you're clearly hiding something, who is he/she? I won't tell anyone!
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Old 12-05-2019, 04:45 PM
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"Well mom, nowadays you can never be sure. I could ask them to come show you their genitalia if you want."
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:08 PM
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"Well mom, nowadays you can never be sure. I could ask them to come show you their genitalia if you want."
I think there was another thread on that issue.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:10 PM
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For those saying 'Just don't mention friends', that isn't as easy as you think for sufficiently determined parents. My mother's the same; I mention anyone, in pretty much any context, and my mother assumes we're probably dating. New neighbour? Dating them. New co-worker who I'm helping train? Dating. Drunken lunatic threw a brick through the window? Ooh, he clearly likes you! Got a picture? Maybe when he gets back out!

You manage an entire conversation without admitting to the existence of another human, and OoooOoh you're clearly hiding something, who is he/she? I won't tell anyone!

Thanks - yes, this is kind of the issue. As a 32 old single male, I have to be cautious about mentioning spending time hanging out with any single woman because people will automatically jump to conclusions. My mother has written a long, winding email to me before, for instance, urging me not to get into a relationship so quickly with a particular female friend (let's call her Sherry) even when I was NOT in any relationship with Sherry at all, nor did Sherry have any such intentions towards me.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:53 PM
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The problem here is not whether itís reasonable to ask about a personís gender or to counter such a question and resist answering.

The problem here is the familyís pressuring the OP over es love life. The gender issue isnít going to change that dynamic. The OP had to communicate es family and get them to back off on that topic.
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:49 PM
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"He's a prostitute. Can I borrow two hundred bucks?"
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