How can I respond to questions I don't want to answer without hurting peoples' feelings?
November 25, 2012 11:07 AM   Subscribe

After posting this question, I asked out a guy that I was interested in. It's going pretty great, except that my friends won't leave me the hell alone about it, and I want to think about something else!

So I've only gone out with this guy three or four times now, and my friends/family practically have us walking down the aisle already, and it's getting obnoxious. The last thing that I want to do is freak out over this new person and obsess over it. He's just a guy that I've been dating, he's not even my boyfriend, and I'm happy with the pace that things are moving at- slow and gentle. Historically, it's been my MO to rush into relationships, and I really don't want to do that this time.

My people, though, won't give me a moment's peace and I almost wish I'd never told them about him in the first place. I told my friends because I felt all squee and excited, but them asking about it so much is actually making me feel less excited. It's like listening to a song you like too many times until it's overplayed and you can't enjoy it anymore.

For example, the other night at dinner one of my friends brought him up and instantly, the entire table was bombarding me with interrogations about him, me, and "us", even though as far as I'm concerned we're not an "us" yet.

I don't feel like I want to hide him or avoid talking about him, but I want to share when I feel ready, not because I'm feeling so overwhelmed with questions that I have to answer. I hope it doesn't sound princessy to say that my new feelings are kind of small and delicate and I sort of want to keep them sheltered.

They also ask me questions about him that I don't know the answers to or don't feel comfortable speaking on his behalf about; like I said, it's only been a few dates! I don't think I can tell them his thoughts or feelings on various subjects and extensive details about him.

They're also pushing me for introductions, show them pictures of him, bring him to church, and just generally move things way faster than I feel comfortable with.

My one friends seems to expect this new fellow and I to be in touch every day and already "in a relationship", and wants to talk about this whole thing all the time and his tone and approach almost feel like he's trying to make me stressed out about stuff that I don't think is a big deal and that I do not want to be stressed about.

I'd really prefer it if we could talk about something else a lot of the time, but at the same time, I understand that they care about me and are interested in my life, and I don't want to shut them out.

And it's not that I don't want to share my feelings and experiences; I just don't want to feel pressured or to lessen the personal impact of my experiences by going over and over and over them and by constantly explaining or defending my feelings. So how can I approach this with my friends? How do I stop the barrage without walling them off completely?
posted by windykites to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "I don't want to jinx things by talking about them too much! You understand. Are you getting Janie any Lego toys for Christmas?" or similar.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:09 AM on November 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

You just give them something else (ideally just as juicy) to gossip about. That's all it is. Tell them about some crazy thing that's going on at work or how you're afraid you're getting addicted to Glee. Consistently change the topic to something else that's fun to discuss (i.e. something about people) and they'll be satisfied.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:11 AM on November 25, 2012

Follow Sidhedevil's advice. Well-meaning friends and family will drop it because they'll know that they are upsetting you.
posted by Neekee at 11:26 AM on November 25, 2012

"He seems like a great guy, I'm having fun getting to know him. I promise as soon as something happens I will tell you. But for now I just want to let it play out, not get too much in my own head about it. Let's talk about [x] instead!"
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:28 AM on November 25, 2012

Best answer: Ugh, I feel for you. I would simply cut off contact with all of these rude people until they can mind their own business, but this might not be possible in a church-oriented situation. I would suggest a non-committal attitude, just defaulting to "I don't know," and "it's still new, we're still getting to know each other" in response to factual questions and "maybe," to inquiries about meeting. "I'm keeping an open mind." You might tell the least-inquisitive member of the group why this is occurring.

'Love dies...when the other person doesn't [measure up]' These people want to force you to create and describe a measuring stick by which they can judge your relationship. I'm not going to say these people are evil in this way, but their interests are not aligned with yours.
posted by rhizome at 12:01 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

My read on situations like this is that it actually has nothing whatsoever to do with caring about you. More typically, it is because their relationships aren't exactly the bees knees anymore, so they want to live vicariously through you rather than do the much harder work of getting a(n emotional) life of their own. I view such behavior as downright hostile, about as friendly as a vampire talking about what a lovely throat you have. (And I have witnessed some pretty ugly things come out of behavior like this.)

Stop discussing it. Deflect any interest expressed. Change the subject. If they are too pushy, tell them you do not wish to discuss it. Or just say generally "There isn't much to tell, really. I mean it's been like four dates."
posted by Michele in California at 12:26 PM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

What Sidhedevil says, on repeat mode, until it sits.

The reason: you don't want any of your friends to have the brilliant idea to spread stuff like "windykites doesn't even want to discuss it any more and changes the subject, go figure."
Better to let them gossip along the lines of "windykites doesn't want to jinx things by talking about them too much (wolf sound [or whatever])."
posted by Namlit at 1:52 PM on November 25, 2012

Response by poster: Great! Thanks guys!
posted by windykites at 6:21 PM on November 25, 2012

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