How To Say “None Of Your Business”

Conversational Skills: How To Decline A Request For Information

We’ve all been asked questions that invade our privacy.  I know a man who asks brazen questions, but he usually gets the information he wants because the people he asks reply automatically without thinking.  He will ask, “How much did you pay for that?”  “How much did you get paid last year?” “Why did you invite him to the reception?”  And they answer him.   His brazenness pays off.  If you’re asked to provide information that you don’t want to divulge, you have several options, depending on how polite you want to be.

You can do it with humor.  Here’s one:  “I’m going to have to take the Fifth (Amendment) on that.”  Here’s another:  “I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone that except my parole officer.”

One of the very best ways to respond to a question that you regard out of bounds is with a question of your own.  Simply say, “Why do you ask?”  

Asking this question puts the other person on the defensive and gives you time to to think about how you can respond diplomatically.  

If you don’t want to break a confidence or reveal insider information, you can say, ” I’m not at liberty to say,” or simply “I’d rather not say.”  Othe phrases:  “I certainly would tell you if I could but I promised to keep it confidential.”

If you think the question is unwarranted, you can say “You don’t know me well enough to ask that” or “I’m afraid that’s none of your business.”

The Words Lincoln Lived By

“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives

A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.

You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.

Don’t leave yet. You’ve found a goldmine. Check out additional power phrases and unusual quotations.



Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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