(Closed) "I hope you don't mind me asking, but…" UGH!

posted 4 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
1592 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

“I’d rather not say” is a fine response.

Some people don’t mind talking about that. I think it was a polite way for the person to ask.


Post # 4
11177 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@Bubbles42:  Agreed.

I think if you are close friends prefacing a question with a phrase like that IS acceptable. If you are not close are only acquaintenances than obviously such a personal question is not appropriate.

I think in this case just telling this person you aren’t comfortable discussing finances like that is a completely acceptable approach.

Post # 5
7272 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@oracle:  ANY question you have to preface with anything, is usually a bad idea.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but…”

“I’m not racist, but…”

“I don’t mean to be rude, but…”

Post # 6
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@MexiPino:  No forget the best one:  “No offense, but…”

Post # 7
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

I actually don’t mind this kind of question.

The way it’s phrased means the asker is already acknowledging that the question may not be appreciated. I have no problem saying, “actually, it’s personal,” or whatever.

Of course, I don’t have a problem saying it’s personal even if they just ask, “So, what’s your underwear size?” but if they asked politely, it’s more gracious on their part. After I tell them it’s personal, etc., they can then sort of make an apology for intruding, I can tell them “no problem at all,” and, our relationship is not negatively impacted at all. Just asking, without some sort of preface like that, is ruder, and can harm the relationship because it seems pushy and intrusive.

A topic that is a private matter that one person doesn’t want to answer questions about can be another person’s topic they are eager to chat about but don’t want to do so uninvited, and someone else’s “no biggie” topic, that a questioner is very curious about.

Ask questions! People should always be asking questions! They don’t ask enough. Knowledge is power, and asking questions begets knowledge. I just like it when people ask politely and graciously take “that’s private” for an answer, if they get it.

Post # 8
4778 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@oracle:  I take the preface to mean that it is A-ok to reject the question and say, “I do mind sorry.”

I think it is more awkward if there isn’t a preface, makes it seem like it is a normal question and you not answering it is even stranger.

Post # 10
2854 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Whenever I start with “can I ask you something?” my SO always knows it’s something I’m not sure if he wants to talk about haha. He’s always like “spit it out!” Although that’s my SO and not some random coworker or friend…

sorry this helped you in no way at all! I was just reminded of this…

Post # 11
9956 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

Once upon a time ALL PERSONAL Questions were RUDE…

Plain & simple… no two ways about it.

So Questions about Age, Health Status, Financial / Money Matters, Value of Acquired Goods, Religion, Relationship Status, Sex etc WERE ALL RUDE (even if one was family)

Of course in the modern world… people don’t seem to comprehend this fact…

Our open society, somehow has translated into the fact that ALL info is available for public consumption

BUT the difference lies in WHAT ONE CHOOSES TO SHARE…

AND BEING ASKED (so in a way somehow expected to share that info)

An assumption… and an incorrect one


Asking is still RUDE… despite the fact that some people haven’t got a clue in this modern world

And that is WHY you danced around the Question… you felt your privacy was being intruded upon (a natural reaction) and the awkwardness made you react accordingly

It would have been acceptable to say

“Yes I DO mind”

“I CHOOSE not to answer that”

“It is a PRIVATE matter”

(Make your reply an affirmative situation… words you stand behind.  Don’t use words that are withdrawing… so don’t say… “prefer, would not like to, or sorry” … those are apologies… and the person who is asking the Question is being RUDE one so you have nothing to apologize for)

OR if you are really brave OR offended… (honestly depends on WHO is asking in my book)

You could say…

“Did no one ever tell you that it was RUDE to ask such personal Questions ?”

OR as well placed “EXCUSE ME !!”

Perhaps accented by a raised eyebrow or cock-eyed look

All work.

If using any of the latter, the idea is to put the awkward uncomfort back on the person asking the Question, so they understand that they’ve made a faux pas Etiquette / Manners wise.

(Sometimes people have to be outright told the truth)


Post # 12
4047 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@oracle:  You might try asking a return question, “why do you want to know?”

if they have a good, legitimate reason (they are renting an aprt in your building and make sure they are not overpaying) then you can go ahead and answer if you like, otherwise it will buy you some time and slightly imply that the question is a bit intrusive.

Post # 13
4778 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@This Time Round:  How on earth is it proper ettiquett to answer with rudeness?

“Did no one ever tell you that it was RUDE to ask such personal Questions ?”

OR as well placed “EXCUSE ME !!”

Also why would you want to make the situation even more awkward?

Post # 14
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

@Atalanta:  +1, etiquette is always about taking the high road (which doesn’t mean tolerance for poor behavior in others, but it does mean gracefully dealing with it).

If I’m saying “EXCUSE ME!” it’s got to be something very bad I’m addressing, like someone trying to grab my breast or something.

Post # 15
9956 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Lol, I didn’t say it was good manners to do so…

I said clearly in my OP… you’d have to be really BRAVE or really OFFENDED…

(I also said it depends on WHO is doing the asking, so another words one’s relationship with that person… a good friend you might say one thing… the nosy neighbour B!tch you can’t stand maybe something else)

Not good etiquette for sure … but sometimes RUDENESS is indeed in the world met with RUDENESS when one is offended.

It happens.

As I’ve said here before on WBee…

When it comes to Etiquette, it is a measure of risks & consequences.  What one CHOOSES to do has measured risks… one can make those choices accordingly.


Post # 16
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

@This Time Round:  Ah, well I consider myself very brave, but I think maintaining decorum in the face of another person’s rudeness is not only not unassertive, but drives home the point even more (a teaching opportunity about how to behave). In fact, I’ve noticed that when someone is really acting childlike when engaging with me, my use of the word “please” goes WAY up. Yet, few would say I’m any sort of pushover 😉 It’s a cool sort of politeness. It’s all in the tone, I suppose, which is calm but cold, and the eye contact, which becomes more intense and unwavering.

Of course, in an extreme example like outright harrassment, I can throw a verbal or literal punch as well as the next person, but I just wouldn’t do that for a situation of everyday rudeness.

The topic ‘"I hope you don't mind me asking, but…" UGH!’ is closed to new replies.

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