Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

English nosy person what to do when someone pries

Have you ever been around someone who asks you personal questions that really aren’t appropriate for the level of your relationship?

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when these questions come up in conversation?

Knowing how to handle these situations and what to say in English isn’t always easy.

We’re going to look at what you can do to handle nosy people or inappropriate comments or questions.


We have a  question about a specific phrase dealing with this topic.


Hi, All Ears English team.

I hope you are all doing well. I am Minhaj from India and I have a question.

Is the phrase ‘mind your business’ very rude and impolite to say in English?

If so. what else should we use instead?

Thanks for your help!


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Know The Context and Meanings

Do you think “mind your own business” is rude?

Many people would find that phrase to be quite rude and offensive in nature.

However sometimes people do overstep their boundaries and there is nothing wrong with politely saying you aren’t comfortable talking about a certain topic.

People may ask about inappropriate things like money, relationship status, job status, kids, or other areas that tend to be off limits.

What can you say without breaking the connection?


A Process To Get Things Back On Track

Today we are focusing more on this idea and phrase of “mind your own business”.

We want to expand your vocabulary and even show you how to appropriately change the subject if necessary.

Let’s start with a two step process that can help you to regain control over the situation as a whole.

Two step process:

  1. Say you don’t want to talk about it without saying YOU or YOUR
  2. Change the topic

This two step process may sound difficult to execute, but it’s not if you have the right phrases.


Helpful Phrases Make All The Difference

Sometimes it’s all about knowing the right thing to say.

If you find yourself faced with a rude or nosy person, or being asked inappropriate things then these phrases can help.

They help you to take the power back in the conversation and set limits on what you do or don’t want to talk about.

  • That’s kind of a personal topic/question: It’s a more direct way of establishing boundaries, but it certainly gets their attention. It stops them from continuing to make you feel uncomfortable. 
  • That’s something I don’t talk about much: It’s not quite as direct, but it certainly alerts them that they are asking about something you don’t feel comfortable talking about.
  • That’s not something I really want to share but thanks for asking: It’s polite and yet to the point, and it should ask them from talking about this topic any further.


Next you want to change the topic so that you can get out of this awkward conversation.

This gives you back the power and helps you to guide the conversation exactly where you want it to go.

Here are some ideas to help change the topic and get things headed in the right direction. 

  • How’s _____ going? (school, work, vacation planning)
  • Did you see that new show/read that book about _______________
  • Have you been to that new __________ (restaurant, coffee shop, store)


Using these phrases and taking control over the situation can help you to get out of discussing inappropriate conversations.

Remember to use both parts of this process to get to a more comfortable place.



People can be nosy and ask inappropriate questions, whether they mean to be that way or not.

If someone always does this , it may be a deeper issue you need to talk to that person about.

However if it just happens occasionally, try to give that person the benefit of the doubt and follow this two step process.

This helps you to be direct but not rude in return.

Managing difficult relationships is a big part of making connections!


If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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