While I was in the process of figuring out what to do with my fitness studio one of my regular customers came up to me and asked me if I was closing the business. My response? “I can’t answer that.” That was all I said, and it seemed to satisfy her -until a few days later, when the rumors started flying.
That night, I received a nasty email from the same customer accusing me of closing the studio and lying to her when she asked. I told her the I was still in the process of making the decision, so whatever she heard wasn’t true. What I wanted to tell her was that it was none of her business. (Also? Thanks for kicking someone who is going through a rough time. But I digress.) She wasn’t an investor. She wasn’t owed any products or services. She was nosy and felt entitled – only she wasn’t. And she didn’t like hearing no.
Let’s face it – we’re all curious. Sometimes, we’re even a little nosy about things that don’t concern us. I know I’ve asked a few questions that I wanted – but realistically didn’t expect – the other person to answer. It didn’t mean that I was entitled to an answer and many times, the other person refused to answer. And that was OK – even if I was dying of curiosity. I was told no, and I accepted it.
You don’t have to give someone an answer to a question just because they asked it. Of course there are some instances when you should answer a question, when something directly involves the other person. For example, your child (not adult child who doesn’t live with you) needs to tell you where she’s been, or your boss wants to know if you’ve finished your assignment. But if it doesn’t or worse – if answering violates a confidence (or agreement) – than you may be better off not answering.
In most cases, you are not obligated to give an answer to a question you are asked. You can say no. And despite their assertion, the other person is not entitled to an answer. Do what is right for the situation, be kind (nobody likes a jerk who yells, “None of your business!”, or appreciates a lie) but firm. And if the other person doesn’t like it? Well, that’s their business – don’t make it yours.
I would love to hear from you. Have you ever been asked a question that you did not want to answer? How did you handle it?