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?

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.”

How about “Well, I can’t really tell and it might seem rude to ask”? That oughta shut up the nosy inquirers. :slight_smile:

Or you could modify Kimstu’s suggestion to make your point: “I’ve wondered that myself, but I mind my own business”.

Or tell them: “It’s a he, but never fear! It’s starting to look serious this time!”

See if that shuts them up!


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?

“Does it matter?”

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.

Personally, I avoid telling my mother anything about my romantic life until I’ve already made a commitment to be exclusive.

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?”
“By yourself?”

Or go the Bill Engvall route:

“Are you going out?”
“Nope. Felt like wearing a parka to bed. {Here’s your sign.}”

If you don’t want to offer any information to your parents about someone don’t mention em to your parents.

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.

Or you can answer “No, actually” and leave it at 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.

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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.