1. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    How to avoid answering

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by AmyHolt, May 15, 2012.

    When being asked about something that you don't want to talk about, how would you avoid answering? Assume you don't want to offend the person or hurt their feelings.

    If the person got more persistent over time, would that change your avoidness techiniques?
     
  2. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'm sorry you included the condition "you don't want to offend the person."

    First off, my disclaimer. A person who pokes around in your life, makes you feel defensive about your personal proprietary information or habits, doesn't deserve your respect and consideration. They are not your friends, and caring about their feelings will only create an easy environment for them to bother you again.

    The standard answer here is a question to the question. When the idiot asks you a question you do not wish to answer, just say to them, "That seems a personal and inappropriate question to ask, why do you want to know?"
     
  3. C.B Harrington
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    C.B Harrington Member

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    Why not just, "That's not something I care to discuss."

    Your tone and facial expressions will sooth any perceptive slight or defensiveness more than just what you say.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "My lack of a response is my response."

    If they take offense, that's on them.
     
  5. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    While I agree with your sentiment, that type of response just begs the question, "Why not?" Instantly you're in a discussion you never wanted to begin with, explaining yourself.

    Turning the issue back on them makes them the ones on the hot-seat. Most people don't care for that. Most people will be surprised. Most people will suddenly remember an important engagement.
     
  6. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I run, far far away.

    I usually change the topic. I agree with Tourist that saying "it's not something I want to discuss" invites further questions. If I had the hypothetical testicular fortitude to do what Tourist does, I would.
     
  7. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    If they're asking out of genuine concern, I'd just say something like "Thanks for asking, but I'd really rather not talk about it". If they continue to ask I'd maybe add "really, I don't want to talk but it's good to know you're here if there comes a time when I do", then repeat ad nauseum. If they are just being nebby then I would say "that's a bit personal", and again repeat until they get bored :)
     
  8. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Maybe some background would be helpful.

    In the story I'm working on, the guy (Mad Dash - the first name I could think of) realizes that a girl he really likes and has a budding relationship with (let's call her Vivian) ~ so he realizes that her Gifts are connected to him (meaning she can only fully use them when he's around) which is bad, very bad and also means he did something wrong when he started her Gifts. He knows he didn't do anything wrong (or at least he knows he's done everything according to the book) but since there is no other explaination (for her Gift being tied to him) it is going to be assumed that he did something wrong. Anyway Vivian doesn't know any of this but she does know that something strange happened during her training session when he left the arena and she couldn't use her Gifts very well. She has an idea that it's tied to Mad or that at least he knows what happened. Mad doesn't want to tell her because of several reasons including but not limited to, he's afraid it will damage his relationship with her, it makes him look like he's done a poor job and isn't very capable using his Gifts, if it is proven that her Gifts are tied to him then he will no longer be able to train her and then be less likely/ unable to see her.
    At first when she presses him for information he tells a half-truth, makes a joke and changes the subject. Anyway I'm looking for what you would do in a similar situation. I guess I'm not used to avoiding subjects and I need to open my mind to the ways we put people off.

    Well I can avoid subject like you were saying (ran away, it's none of your business...) but I doubt that would work very well for Mad Dash.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've had a lot of experience with certain people who failed to respect, or even acknowledge, boundaries. My answer of "My silence is my response" has the virtue that it is applicable even to attempts at followup questions. No matter how much they persist, they will get no more than that.
     
  10. C.B Harrington
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    C.B Harrington Member

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    After reading several of your posts, and being delighted by many, I have a feeling you employ this method in order to get a kick out of watching someone else squirm. :p

    Begging the question "Why not?" for me, is the point of my statement. Most of these hypothetical questions in regard to socialization, I visualize doing with women. In that regard, I want them to keep wondering. I'll eventually tell, as most people will over time the more they get to know and trust someone. But, you're correct, eventually though I will transfer the conversation back to them in some way.
     
  11. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Overall, I believe that you should keep your friends close and your enemies locked in your basement. Guys like this shouldn't make you feel defensive.

    But I will tell you this. I don't post much insider info here anymore. They don't have a right to know anything. My stories, my favorite ball team, my favorite color.

    It's too bad we have to regulate our lives like this, but we have the PM feature, our e-mails, and insulating yourself might just be the best way to handle issues like this. In forums, and in your personal life.
     
  12. C.B Harrington
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    He's cornered. When people get emotionally cornered, they tend to overreact - whether that's in shutting down or blowing up. If he can't find a way out of the situation through deflection, and her character is so adamant and won't take no for an answer, then I would suggest having some sort of emotional trigger that causes Mad to overreact (the over reaction needs to be tied in, of course, with Mad's personal history which defines how he would overreact.) Then, you have some conflict to add to your characters relationship, which should make for more opportunities to explore their dimensions.
     
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  13. mVd
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    mVd Member

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    You know, "That's none of your business." works too. Its the most blunt way to say it and will send a clear message to the other person. Any decent person would understand and not persist further, however even if that happens you know you are dealing with a person not worth your time.

    EDIT: Just noticed you mentioned that too, but i still believe its the best way.
     
  14. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Oh, to some extent, you're absolutely correct.

    However, I tell people this, "If you don't like the way I defend, then stop attacking."

    *sigh* I don't respect most people, at least most modern four-wheeled people. And I feel this way because of the OP's question here. We seem to demonize the guy who says "no" but glorify the idiots and the paparrazzi. Why?

    This woman is uncomfortable. So what if her detractors are uncomfortable, too?
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd rather enlighten the clueless as gently as possible. The malicious or aggressive get a dose of their own, when the time comes.

    Sometimes a nuke is overkill.
     
  16. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Since when is demanding your rights and privacy "overkill"?

    As I stated, she's uncomfortable. That message should be clearly and poignantly relayed.
     
  17. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    Whenever someone comes up to me and starts bugging me to answer a question, I generally say it's none of their business. If they persist, I respond with my pan-ultimate, question ending response, which immediately lets them know that further questioning is a futile waste of effort on their part.

    "Moooooo...."

    You'd be surprised how often that works.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's overkill if the response is disproportionate to the offender's intent. It's overkill to use intimidation or humiliation if the person doesn't realize they are trespassing.
     
  19. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Aha, given the circumstances of your story then, I can think of two options. If he has time, he might come up with some fibs that will satisfy her questions without getting him into trouble. Otherwise I think he could easily get defensive in this stressful situation, especially if he suspects that she is on to something. In that case he might get irritated by the questions (seemingly irrationally) or even accuse her of suspecting him of something, how dare she etc, to manipulate her into leaving the subject alone.
     
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  20. The Tourist
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    I admire your technique. I bark like a dog.

    As an aside, I think it helps that this response comes from a woman, no offense. One of the problems I often have with my wife is her "trying to be nice."

    These guys will keep you hostage, prying into your personal life until the TRO arrives. They should be dealt with.

    It's like a vicious hit to a rookie wide receiver. The defender gets up, smiles at the rookie and says, "Welcome to the NFL." The rookie usually drops the next pass.
     
  21. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I would then have a huge blow up. Personally I avoid conflict like the plague, but pushed far enough my temper gets the best of me and I lose it. And usually in that explosion, I reveal the answer out of sheer frustration (although sometimes I need a push to reveal my emotions or else I internalize everything). Again, you know best the reaction of your character -- is he a flight or fight guy?
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In the case of Mad Dash, maybe she can simply say, "Don't push."
     
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  23. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I love this whole thing. It will probably work to use both blowing up and shutting down (if I'm careful). And tying the blowup to an emotional trigger in Mad's life is pure brilliance.

    I love the way you phrase this. When I read this I can see him doing exactly what you are saying, and feeling justified in his reaction (how dare she).
     
  24. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did you even read the OP's post? She's applying the situation to a male character in her book, not to herself.

    To the OP,

    It depends on the guy's personality and the level of tension surrounding the situation. If its a big deal or he feels guilty/nervous he might freak out.

    Speaking for myself, I can't stand when people get too defensive when being asked a question they don't want to answer. If put in such a situation myself, I simply dismiss it good-naturedly. "Oh, we're not getting into that now are we?" and you say it with a smile. Or you shrug and you say don't know. Or you give an answer that doesn't really answer the question. Better to be politic about it than a baby.

    As for your character, if he's in emotional turmoil lots of things could happen, from strange silences to explosiveness to uncomfortable lies.




    T
     
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  25. WriterDude
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    First time: "I'm sorry, but I don't feel like talking about it." (the other person should take the hint.)

    Second time: "As I said, I don't like talking about it." (the other person should really take the hint.)

    Final time: "I'm not talking about it, and that's final." (if the other person keeps asking, ignore him or her as best you can. If he/she can't respect how you feel, don't act like everything's fine to avoid hurting their feelings. Sometimes you need to be a bit tough to get the point through to the other person.)
     
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