The next time someone asks you a probing question or directs a thoughtless remark to you, try playing your “confused card. “ Respond to their question or comment by asking for clarity.
Here are three examples:
1. A friend or spouse annoys you by keeping tabs on your purchases and constantly asks, “Is that new?”
You say, “It depends… could you define new?” When your unexpected response renders them speechless, continue by questioning them, “Bought recently? In your closet less than one month? Or just cut the tags off?” They’ll think twice before asking next time.
2. When someone asks you about something which is clearly none of their business, respond with your nice voice, “Why do you want to know?” Rather than admit that they are being “nosey,” most will quickly withdraw their question.
3. For those awkward moments when someone makes a personal comment about
you, try the response I used with my Mom when she told me, “Your arms sure
“Meaty? What do you mean?”
Mom got flustered, “Umm, you know…meaty.”
“No, I don’t know…meaty?”
Her cheeks burned red hot, “Strong.”
While flexing my bicep, I continued, “Strong? Is that a good thing?”
Looking down at my knees, Mom sighed, “Could we change the subject?”
I smiled and said, “Sure!” We’ve not repeated this conversation since.
With some advance thought, you can counteract thoughtless remarks and avoid answering probing questions by playing your “confused card.” Humor helps to release the agitation you feel, shields you from taking offense and at the same time indirectly informs the other person that their question or remark did not qualify a response from you.