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Dealing with Intrusive people

(53 Posts)
Judy54 Thu 10-Oct-19 14:25:58

I have recently been diagnosed with a health problem which means I cannot get to my usual groups and leisure activities. Whilst I am happy to discuss my condition with family and close friends, I would rather not talk about it to people I don't know so well. The problem is that they feel they have a right to know and are in my opinion being intrusive and asking extremely personal questions which I would rather not answer. Any ideas how to deal with this in a polite way.

Jane10 Thu 10-Oct-19 14:38:16

Maybe they're just being friendly and concerned for you? If they knew you were unwell or having to miss your usual activities it's not unreasonable to ask how you are. I'm sure you can find a nice way to say that you are just not out and about right now.

felice Thu 10-Oct-19 14:48:27

I get this all the time at Church, I have had a lot of health problems over the last 13 years, a lot of wonderful support too.
Unfortunately some people seem to need all the info going back years. Some are also very personal in their questions. One very respectable lady once asked me if my Arthritis affected my sex life,,,, in umms and you knows if you know what I mean.
I told her yes,,,,, as my 'significant other' was away and I was not getting any.
She was horrified.
Just 3 weeks ago a nosey c** shouted down the Church at me asking about my health.
DGs was with me and got a bit upset, sorry this has turned into a rant but it drives me crazy.

cornergran Thu 10-Oct-19 14:56:06

I just smile and say I’m doing OK and being distracted really helps so tell me about........ it usually works. It it doesn't then I simply have selective hearing and ignore questions. It’s fine to pick and choose who we talk with about personal stuff.

annodomini Thu 10-Oct-19 15:08:00

I agree with corner. It's best to smile and say, 'I'd rather not talk about that at the moment.' And change the subject.

Teetime Thu 10-Oct-19 15:17:20

I would thank them for their concern and say something very bland like- I have a wonderful doctor and everything is under control I just need some space and rest for a while. Big smile and change subject.

dragonfly46 Thu 10-Oct-19 15:21:39

I have only told my good friends about my health problems and they have not spread the news so I do not have acquaintances asking how I am.
I would do what Teetime says and they will soon stop asking.

pinkquartz Thu 10-Oct-19 15:35:20

I tend to answer with either "it's a long story and I don't want to talk about that now thank you for asking" or "it is complicated and I get tired/upset talking about it can we change the subject please"

I don't enjoy talking about being ill at all and will avoid as long as I can do. Also I think it can be boring for other people to hear the details, or unpleasant.
The origins of my illness are quite horrible/gory/gruesome/ugh and I don't want to talk about.
Sometimes I do glide over it but then I am giving a wrong impression that things are better than they are but it doesn't really matter.
Even if it is a close friend or family they still don't want the think of a short way to sum it up or refuse. "It's complicated and I don't want to talk about this now"

I hate talking about how ill I am and why would I want to be upset while socialising? and why upset them also? So that justifies backing off I believe.

i hope things go well for you flowers

Auntieflo Thu 10-Oct-19 15:38:32

I have been much more open with health problems recently, and have found that talking about it has helped enormously.
But, saying that, when I was a lot younger, I would have thought, ' nosey parkers'.
Both DH and I have been able to talk things through, but with friends, church friends and family, much more easily now.
There are only a couple of folk that I don't open up to.
One is a bit of a Job' comforter, the other, is a real know it all, and I don't like her attitude.
So , as Teetime has so aptly put it, I should copy her example if you feel they are too intrusive.
Wishing you well soon.

Pantglas2 Thu 10-Oct-19 15:43:24

Pink quartz is right ‘it’s a long story.....’ then carry on with chat about something completely different. If they’re then rude enough to keep asking (and there’s always one who persists), then ‘I’ve already told those who need to know......’ followed by silence - complete silence!

Daisymae Thu 10-Oct-19 15:56:37

I don't see that it's a problem if people are just asking how you are. I imagine that they are trying to express some concern. My stock answer regarding my husband is either 'about the same thanks' or 'a lot better'. I can't recall any one asking intrusive questions though.

Tweedle24 Thu 10-Oct-19 16:20:31

What are seen as intrusive questions by one person are seen as caring questions by another.

Most people are genuinely concerned but, sometimes ask too many questions. I have yet to be asked about my sex life though, felice!

Namsnanny Thu 10-Oct-19 16:27:54

I like 'about the same' from Daisymae followed up by 'its a long story' from Pinkquartz!
If they continue, either change the subject, or say 'I'm bored talking about myself, but how are you keeping?'

Just always be ready with these suggestions then you wont be caught out.

BTW hope you're on the mend smile

sodapop Thu 10-Oct-19 16:38:20

Yes but what about those people who insist on giving you every detail of their symptoms, investigations and treatment. I don't tell people I was a nurse previously as it seems to give them carte blanche to discuss their ailments.

Fiachna50 Thu 10-Oct-19 16:41:27

I usually say I dont want to go on about my own health issues, as people get fed up listening. Lets talk about something cheerier. That usually works.

Luckygirl Thu 10-Oct-19 16:49:39

I guess it is a matter of interpretation of the question - is it intrusive or kindly meant? It is probably best to assume the latter. Nothing to be lost by that.

People are always asking me how I am or how things are going with my OH as it is general knowledge that this year has not been a great one for us. I appreciate their concern.

grannyqueenie Thu 10-Oct-19 19:40:46

With a smile “Oh you know....” but never ever really confirming either way what it is that they think it is that they know!! I’m quite open about things but do like to chose who I confide in, rather than being put on the spot by someone I really don’t know that we’ll.

BradfordLass72 Fri 11-Oct-19 04:15:21

"I'm sorry," with a smile, "I don't want to discuss it." Repeat as neceesdary when they (and they will) continue to ask questions.

omega1 Fri 11-Oct-19 10:16:48

My hubby has got cancer and we talk to a few people at church about it who also have it. I have learned not to tell other people about it as I have heard some horror stories from them which isn't very helpful at all.

jaylucy Fri 11-Oct-19 10:18:27

You'd like to think that these people are concerned for your welfare. But my concern is that whatever you tell them will then often get passed on to complete strangers!
I had this happen once when I had been in hospital and was quite happy to give the basic story to someone that used to be a "bus buddy" (we used to travel on the same buses to and from work) and was horrified to be questioned on further details, 6 months later , by one of the customers that goes in the shop where she worked! The conversation started off with "A told me that you had been in hospital, what happened?" from a woman I only knew by sight and had never spoken to before!

LondonMzFitz Fri 11-Oct-19 10:18:28

I find it's usually a precursor for them to tell me how they are, their ailments and such.

Anja Fri 11-Oct-19 10:20:42

LondonMzFitz true ???

luluaugust Fri 11-Oct-19 10:23:09

Sometimes even "how are you" is too much. A friend (male) round for a cup of tea after an op gave us the most graphic description of his op and treatment we could wish for. That'll teach us to ask!

sandelf Fri 11-Oct-19 10:29:32

Difficult - if the other suggestions don't cut it 'It's a bit embarrassing to explain' SHOULD shut them up.

GreenGran78 Fri 11-Oct-19 10:34:22

I avoid the ones who have also had what you’ve got, only twice as bad!