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  • Hi, my name is Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and this week we are

  • going to talk about those questions like: so why aren't you married yet?

  • And why don't you have any kids? What happened with your divorce?

  • Or... so why did you leave your country?

  • If you've ever had to deal with an uncomfortable awkward or intrusive question,

  • then in today's video we're going to talk about how to deal

  • with those questions politely in English.

  • One of the biggest difficulties when speaking another language is how to

  • answer or deal with uncomfortable questions. Now honestly when someone asks

  • you a question that really isn't polite or appropriate, they know it.

  • They know that it's nosy and that they shouldn't ask it.

  • In fact, in English we often use phrases like

  • I know I shouldn't ask this but...

  • I know I shouldn't ask this but why don't you have kids?

  • Or I hope you don't mind me asking...

  • I hope you don't mind me asking but what happened in your divorce?

  • If you hear someone using those phrases

  • they know they're asking a question that isn't polite.

  • The challenge is how do you respond and this is why it's difficult.

  • In your native language you totally know what to say.

  • You could make some kind of joke or say something like

  • hey that's none of your business! Which we do say in English.

  • But when you're doing it in a second language

  • you're not so comfortable about making the jokes and

  • you might feel really embarrassed in the situation, you're surprised by the question

  • and honestly you just don't know what to do.

  • You want to change the topic or answer the right away but it doesn't make you feel comfortable.

  • But in today's Confident English lesson you'll have several

  • strategies that you can use to politely and kindly deal with those questions in

  • a way where both of you can leave the conversation and feel happy or you can

  • continue the conversation on a totally different subject. But first there's one thing

  • you need to know and that is you don't have to answer an uncomfortable or awkward question!

  • If someone asks you something and you don't feel very good about it,

  • you don't have to answer it.

  • So let's talk about some ways that you can deal with that situation.

  • Strategy number one: play at their own game.

  • Now I only recommend this strategy if you're talking to someone that

  • you know well and you see them regularly and you can control your intonation in English.

  • Now if you need practice with intonation

  • I actually have a fantastic lesson on that and

  • I'll be sure to include a link at the bottom of this lesson below the video.

  • But when you play at their own game,

  • you are repeating a really difficult or uncomfortable question back to them and

  • you might say something like well how much do you weigh or

  • before I answer that question you tell me why don't you have kids.

  • But to do that correctly,

  • you need to make sure that your intonation doesn't sound angry or upset.

  • You want it to be a little bit playful and light. So again you need to

  • be in control of that intonation and I recommend that it's with someone that

  • you see regularly or you know wellmaybe it's a neighbor or someone that you work with.

  • Now if you're not comfortable playing with the language and asking an

  • inappropriate or uncomfortable question back, then here are four other strategies

  • that are really simple and polite to use.

  • First, simply address it politely and you can say something like:

  • I'm sorry I really don't want to answer that.

  • You know I'd rather not talk about that or you know I'd rather not talk about that here

  • maybe we can go to lunch sometime and talk about it.

  • Sorry can we talk about something else

  • And finally, I'm not really comfortable answering that. All of those examples are

  • perfectly polite and it's a great response to an uncomfortable question

  • and then you can immediately end the conversation if you want or ask a

  • different question and change the subject.

  • Now number two: you could be much more direct,

  • and this might be better if someone asks a particularly nosy or intrusive question,

  • something that really isn't appropriate.

  • For example: That's really personal I'm not going to answer that.

  • Or that question makes me really uncomfortable I'm not answering it.

  • I'm gonna pretend you didn't just ask me that.

  • Where I come from I was taught not to ask those kinds of questions.

  • As I said, those are much more direct, but it does let the person know that

  • what they asked wasn't okay and again you don't have to answer it if you don't want to.

  • Now let's imagine that someone continues to ask you this uncomfortable question

  • they won't let you say no, they won't let you push the question away, then it might

  • be appropriate to call them out. In other words you are directly letting them know

  • that what they are doing is not okay.

  • For example: I can't believe you're asking me that. It's really not appropriate.

  • It's not okay to ask that kind of question.

  • That's a really rude question. Or finally, you could even just ask them

  • why they need to knowwhy do you need to know that? Why are you asking me?

  • And the truth is, there isn't a reason why. They don't need to know.

  • The final strategy you can use is to brush it off like a joke.

  • You can laugh a little bit, make a joke out of it

  • and then continue the conversation without answering the question.

  • This strategy again is all about your intonation

  • so if you remember that very first strategy where we talked about

  • asking an inappropriate question back, just like that we really need to control your intonation.

  • You want your voice to be light and friendly, polite as you make a joke

  • and then move on to a new topic.

  • Some common phrases that we use to make a joke out of inappropriate questions

  • are things like: That's for me to know and you to find out.

  • Why don't I just give you my diary? My lips are sealed, my lips are sealed.

  • I'm afraid I'm gonna have to leave you in suspense on that one forever.

  • Now in today's video I've given you those five strategies of

  • how to deal with uncomfortable questions, and I shared with you

  • some of the common expressions and phrases that native speakers say,

  • things that I say when someone asks me a question I don't want to answer

  • but the truth is there are so many options and in the online lesson today I've included

  • many more examples, so I recommend that you go to the online lesson and review

  • those other examples. The best way to really get comfortable and be prepared

  • for how to deal with an uncomfortable question is to review the online lesson

  • and find one or two phrases that are easy for you to remember and

  • that you're comfortable saying.

  • Practice saying them out loud so that when that happens in your real life

  • hopefully it never does but if it does,

  • if you have a nosy neighbor or a colleague at work that gets a little too personal,

  • you know exactly how to deal with it in a polite and kind way

  • so you both end the conversation happily.

  • Now as always I do have a couple of challenge questions for you and

  • I would love to hear from you on these topics:

  • number one have you ever had a situation in English

  • where someone asked you an inappropriate question?

  • If so what did you do about it did you use a strategy like what we

  • talked about today or maybe you had another strategy that you've used.

  • I would love to hear about it and you might have an experience that can help someone else.

  • The best way to share with me and with the Confident English Community is in

  • the comment section of the online lesson.

  • The second question I have for you is

  • what is one expression or phrase that was new for you today in this lesson?

  • Now if you enjoyed today's lesson, don't forget to give it a thumbs up on YouTube

  • and share it with friends or colleagues on Facebook.

  • Thank you so much for joining me and

  • I look forward to seeing you next time for your Confident English lesson.

Hi, my name is Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and this week we are

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Uncomfortable Questions and How You Should Deal with Them in English

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    Samuel posted on 2018/08/28
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