A Simple Trick to Ask People Personal Questions Without Coming Off Forward or Invasive or Nosy

January 4th, 2021

Have you ever wanted to know something about someone but you were concerned that asking them outright for the answer might be too invasive and come across as nosy, or like you’re crossing an unspoken boundary with them?

Or perhaps you’ve only met the person or have only known them for a short period and asking the question might come across too forward because the trust just hasn’t been established yet, causing them to give you resistance and even perceive you poorly because of it?

Is there a way to deal with this situation effectively – or get the information you want from them without them finding your efforts too upfront or awkward?

Let me ask you this:

Have you ever had someone ask you an “invasive” question – one that took you by surprise or caught you off guard because of the forwardness of it? How did you react to it? You probably didn’t want to answer them, right? But maybe you did anyway – or maybe you outright refused them. Or maybe you just lied.

But let’s stick to the point…

The person’s “invasive” question made you feel uncomfortable, didn’t it? And didn’t it perhaps even cause you to question the person’s motives: Were they just being interested in you – or did they have some kind of ulterior, hidden motive?

At any rate, taking how you feel about these kinds of situations into consideration, aren’t they experiences you want to avoid inflicting on others? Won’t creating these situations not only make the people you talk to feel awkward and destroy any chance of getting or keeping a connection with them, might it not also actually cause them to think poorly of us, like we’re some kind of creep or weirdo who lacks basic tact or social competence?

I’ve discovered a simple trick to encourage people to answer questions I’d like to ask them and get the information I’m after, without creating the negative or unwanted repercussions we’ve just been talking about. Using this trick doesn’t make people feel awkward. It doesn’t make them resistant and cause them to refuse to answer. And it actually helps make the connection with them stronger.

Now only that, they won’t even notice that you got information out of them in a way that should or would have been awkward if you’d asked them directly.

So what is this trick? And how do you use it?

Simply this:

You guess the answer to a question you’d like to ask someone. If you’re wrong (which you probably will be), they will correct you. And by them correcting you, they will reveal the exact information you wanted.

For example, instead of saying, “Where do you work?” you could say, “Are you in the automobile industry?”

They might say, “No, I’m in real estate – I’m a sales agent.”

Now you know their profession.

Or instead of saying, “Do you have a boyfriend?” you could say, “What would your boyfriend think if he knew you were talking to a cute guy like me?”

They might say, “Ha ha. No, I’m single. So no big deal.”

Now you know they don’t have a boyfriend.

As you can see, the trick is to make an assumption about them and form it into a question you ask them. You’ll find that practically every time, people will correct you, and when they do that, you get exactly what you wanted. Of course, you have to weave these “assumptive questions” into the conversation in a tactful way. Perhaps I’m stating the obvious, but you generally don’t want to open a conversation with them.

If you read my article on how to talk to people and keep the conversation going, simply substitute one of these “assumptive questions” for a straight-forward question when you run into wanting to ask for information that might come across too forward or invasive to them if asked directly. You’ll get the information you want, and you’ll do it in a tactful way that wouldn’t introduce any hiccups into the conversation or have their radars going off inside their heads.

Again, simply guess the answer to the question you want:

Instead asking: “What kind of car do you drive?”

Ask them: “You seem like a truck kind of guy. Do you drive a Ford F-150 by any chance?”

They’ll correct you: “No, I drive a Camaro.”

That’s it.

I encourage you to keep this “trick” in your conversation toolbox. That way whenever a scenario arises where you want personal information about someone you’re talking to but you don’t want to come across invasive, it’s there ready to be used and profited from.


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