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?
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.”
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.