We've all been there. Someone asks you something you don't wish to share creates a very uncomfortable situation. And we all know someone who only seem to be satisfied when they are probing into the personal lives of others, i.e., ours.
If you don't know anyone like this, then maybe you haven't been living long enough or you are a complete hermit. The point here is that there are simply people in this world who do not know how to honor others' "territorial bubbles." Most of the time, the nosy people of the world are those closest to us, co-workers, friends, family, etc.; they are not generally strangers off the street.
We are not the type of people who gain pleasure out of hurting others' feelings. So this means that we must find a delicate way to both protect our privacy---and let the person know that he/she has crossed the line. Some may say that these methods are socially impolite. But alas, there are ways to defuse the nosy energy of the people whose paths you cross everyday.
If you are like me, you think later about what you SHOULD have said and want to kick yourself for not being quick enough. The one tactic I try to always remember to us is respond with a question to them. "Why do you want to know" works great. Puts the focus back on them. This is a good one to remember for those times when every other response possibility has taken a vacation from our brains.
Another way is to respond with humor or an outrageous response. For instance, if someone asks you how much you weigh, you could say, "Well, why don't I just tell you all my secrets." Or asks your age, you could say,"Old enough to know better than to tell you," or some clever response as appropriate. Pretty dress; what size is it? could be answered with, "is your next question going to be asking the size of my underwear?"
"When are you getting married," could be answered with, "Oh, I was married six months ago. The wedding was a fabulous event. All our best friends were there." Now that would leave them gaping!
Or how about "when are you going to start your family?" This may one of the most sensitive of all questions that nosy people ask. It could likely create a great deal of hurt for a young couple having difficulty conceiving a child. I am sort of stumped on what the response should be on this one. Humor? Probably not. Ourtageous response? I don't think so. Maybe just a glaring stare at the person asking the question would be the best non response.
We don't have to be "mean" to people in order to let them know what your boundaries are. These dialogue examples may be wrong for your circumstances. But you can certainly choose "milder" versions of these methods in order to gently convey that you won't tolerate questions which are too personal. At times, people are oblivious to the effect that their actions have on us. But if our personal space is compromised by someone's questions, it is definitely within our right to let him/her know this.
Do you deal with people who ask you questions you would rather not answer? How do you deal with them?