If we may not lie, are we obliged to give personal information when asked for it?

There are some situations when a refusal to answer to question is as good as an answer. We all know this.
I’m not talking life or death situations. I’m talking about personal information that you would rather not give. Just as a hypothetical situation let’s say we’re in an AU where drinking coffee is a strange and twisted thing and, while it’s not necessarily wrong, drinking coffee is regarded as a sign of deep mental illness. If somebody walks up to me and asks if I’ve ever drunk coffee, I have three options: Yes, No, I don’t want to answer that.
We all know that “I don’t want to answer that” means the same thing as “yes”. So realistically I have 2 choices, yes or no. Yes is the true answer, but it’s the answer that would give away a very deep personal secret - just because somebody asked for it.
Is it really so wrong if I say “no” just to make the subject go away?

In the real world, I have had instances where I’ve said things that I did not want to just because somebody asked and I couldn’t lie. I don’t feel like people should have a right to my personal feelings like that.

I feel very iffy on this. I don’t know what i SHOULD do if people ask me questions like that. I can’t say yes, but I’m not allowed to say no, and walking away would reveal everything.

Are we obligated to answer embarrassing or insulting questions? No. There is no need to lie. Just say nothing.

I can’t agree with that. There are plenty of things that are no one’s business but mine. For those times when someone asks a nosy question, learn to give the “death stare,” or, if you want to continue to have a relationship with that person (but I don’t know why one would!), simply say, “That’s personal,” or ask, “How does this concern you?”

“Where is this going?” is the answer I usually reply with.


If a person decides to assume that by not answering I actually mean “yes,” it’s not my fault that they are choosing to believe I lead a much more exciting life than I actually do. :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree, just because someone asks a question does not oblige one to answer the question.

It’s just as fair to respond “How is that relevant?” or “That’s really not an appropriate question to ask.” or “That is a personal matter and you are not entitled to an answer.” None of those are equivalent to responding in the affirmative (should the question format be “have you ever [fill in the blank]?”).

Someone who persists with asking after that, especially if they are responding with some variant of “you didn’t answer my question” or “so you did fill in the blank” can be responded to with “You asked a question, but you are not entitled to an answer. You were wrong to ask.”

Of course, that assumes that the person is not in authority (a parent to a minor child, a school authority on a matter related to school issues, the police on criminal matters, etc.) and has the right to an answer to the question. (Note, too, that simply being in authority does not equal a right to an answer. In the famous scenario of hiding Jews in Nazi Germany when the Gestapo comes to the door and asks if you are hiding Jews, despite the Gestapo being in temporal authority, their evil intentions meant that they would not have the right to the information.)

Silence and no reply are an option.

Keep in mind we are also called to avoid scandal. :yup:

And how would the answer apply to YOUR life? :ehh:

Simply say you think the question being asked is too personal. Some questions are not appropriate for anyone to ask, unless it is your spouse, doctor or parents. Otherwise simply be honest.

There is also the option of “making a joke” out of the situation. I have used this a number of times. You can start with: “Oh sure, I just go out of my way to do that”: or, “Yep, all the time”; or if a negative reply is in order, “Nope I would never do that.” It is important of course, how good you are at being a joker or not. But sometimes this is an effective and perhaps friendly way of saying to someone: “That is none of your business.”

Most of the time I just try to dismiss the question with a level of disinterest, and if really important I always tell the truth. Otherwise I have no problem telling folks to “mind their business” and I don’t care how they interpret that.

there is nothing wrong with being private. In the age of Facebook, having a sense of privacy is kinda a rare commodity. If someone asked you something that you feel is private or you do not desire to answer, just say I prefer not to answer this and let lit be that. You do not have a give a reason and just put in in polite tones should suffice.

Excellent answer, honest and to the point.

I always say “Nice weather were having” they generally get the hint.

 First we need a clarification: words like lie and murder already are words that define a moral category or sin. To accept the term is to realize that there are no exceptions. All lies are wrong no matter what the siuation or circumstances. 
 But we need a descriptive non-moral term to begin with like killing with regard to murder, so if one is asked about a situation by ***someone who has no right to the answer*** then one can do any of the things suggested up to an including an untruth. Whatever is effective in keeping the truth from that person. The problem is the same with the inaccurate translation of the Hebrew word for murder in the commandments, every other term is a moral term steal etc. but the fifth is a description, that should not be. The commandment should read THOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER. jcat 1830

Oh, I like that! :smiley:

I have no idea to whom this comment is directed, but let’s avoid :slapfight:

I am sorry you have this problem. You should keep in mind that no one has the right to personal information about you just because they ask you for it. If I was in your shoes, I would want to pray for light over this.

My usual answer for personal questions is, “Why do you ask?” How they answer that determines whether I will offer any further response or information.

Unless you are under a legal obligation like answering to a superior officer in the military or to a doctor who wants to get at a correct diagnosis. Simply, tell them it is none of your business or you do not have a need to know.

Phone solicitors asking whom you are thinking about voting for, for example is none of their business.

It really depends on whom is asking, why they asking and if it really is any of their business.

favorite answers,

“not sure, I know that myself about myself”

play dumb

“do I look like a God?”

“will you still love me?” and, look needy

I can relate to the problem of no answer often being taken for a positive answer.
I find it REALLY difficult when being out on the spot with a question not about myself, but about somebody else… whose confidentiality I do not want to or am not allowed to break… and I don’t want to defract that person.

When some nosy in-laws asked some nosy questions, I asked for advise from a newspaper columnist and was told that people may ask anything they please, they don’t have a right to an answer.

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