What to do with questions you don't want to answer?

what is a good strategy for questions that you get asked and you know the answer will make the other person angry? and I obviously don’t want to lie.

is it acceptable to change the subject? or just not say anything?

what if through the discussion, they come to a conclusion that isn’t true even if you didn’t specifically say something? do you have an obligation to correct them?

here is an example.

person: “what did you do for volunteering”
me: “science and special ed”
person: “what time of day did you help out the science teacher”
me: “in the morning”
person: “for how long?”
me: “about three hours”
person" “oh i see, so so science in the morning and special ed in the afternoon”

then I changed the subject and talked about something else

well actually, special ed was also in the morning but I left the school in the afternoon to go see my friend who is in the hospital. but saying that I left early would have made them mad. I knew that if I had said that special ed was also in the morning then they would have asked me what I did in the afternoon and I didn’t want to tell them that.

but with the information they received, the person made an assumption that didn’t up being true even they didn’t actually formulate the last sentence like a question and I never said special ed was in the afternoon. am I responsible for that?

situations like this happen all the time with various people. you don’t want ot lie but telling the truth makes them angry. and saying you don’t want to talk about it also doesn’t work, they just ask more. sometimes if I change the subject or don’t answer, they keep pressing

I guess I’m wondering if it is considered, in general, to be dishonest to not mention specific things if you know the other person will get mad at you

It’s hard for me to understand why someone would get mad. For me, I tell close friends more than I might tell someone I know only casually. And even among close friends, it is considered acceptable and polite, to say, “I really don’t want to talk about it/that.” It depends on the personality of each person you meet. I’ve known people who say very little to people they don’t know well. In other cases, people seem to not understand that you are or may be uncomfortable about talking about certain things. So, it’s OK to say, “I really don’t want to talk about it” in a calm voice.

But I know one person who will get mad if I mention certain subjects, so I don’t.


It depends upon what the question is, who is asking it, why you don’t want to respond directly, and how far you’re willing to go in standing your ground.

how about the scenario I presented?

You can always just say “That’s private” or “I’d rather not discuss that.”

You don’t have an obligation to correct people’s misunderstandings or assumptions though. Jesus would let people do that all the time. They thought he literally would rebuild the Jerusalem temple in three days, even though he was talking about his resurrection. He even sometimes used ambiguous language that could be taken multiple ways.

He never actively deceived anyone though, and that’s the big thing. We can’t lie. But we don’t have to always tell every detail.

well that’s what I mean, I didn’t really say anything untrue but the person made an assumption that was not true. I just didn’t correct it because that would have involved mentioning something I knew would make them mad

By various people, you mean your parents.

Because other “various people” have no reason to get mad at where you go and what you do.

Please seek help from your pastor, who knows your history with your parents and your school work, and their issues.


not just them. there are other people that can get pushy if you don’t tell them what they want to know

Push right back. It’s not their business. Tell them so.

and if they assume something you did not say or misunderstand something, I guess I’m not responsible for that either? I will ask next time I get the chance, I jstu don’t want my scruples to flare up too badly

That depends on whether the person asking has a right to the truth. There are various people - eg our confessors, parents of minors, employers, the government - who may in certain circumstances have a right to the truth and important misunderstandings may need to be corrected.

As 1ke suggested, your pastor will be the best person to help you work through this.

Are you talking about your mother?

it’s time to stand up for yourself.
you should tell the truth as long as the person is not being overly nosy, and it’s time for her to get a grip. Next time, say “why do you ask”? don’t you trust me?"

I don’t mean situations like those, I mean when people want all kinds of details. or assume something about your day, like in my scenario

that’s what I’m trying to say, they didn’t directly ask. they assumed because they didn’t really expect me to be anywhere else. the assumption came from the answers I provided to the other questions. but I let the assumptions happen, I just didn’t correct it. I didn’t say “no, actually I left in the afternoon” because I knew that wouldn’t go well

:thumbsup: " Why do you ask?" has worked every time for me. When I was going through a divorce people sometimes asked the most nosy questions and this stopped them in their tracks. :slight_smile: Puts the question “back to them” and most people don’t answer. Then ask how they are doing to change the subject.

Hope it works as well for you as it has for me.


it doen’st, it’s a guaranteed argument, at least that’s what happened other times.

I just want ot know if letting the conversation go is wrong, even though assumptions happen that I don’t correct, I just don’t want any more arguments for nothing

I guess I’m wondering if it’s something that needs confession

Again, it depends on their right to know the truth. If they have no right to the truth, you have no obligation to answer their questions nor correct their assumptions.

I do not think this is as difficult - or ought not to be as difficult - as you seem to think it is.

This is something to ask your pastor about.

You don’t confess things that you don’t know to be sinful, especially if you are scrupulous.

Hypothetically though - what sin would you be confessing? You haven’t lied. You haven’t withheld the truth from someone entitled to it. What sin would it be?

I don’t know, allowing someone to be mislead about something perhaps?

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