Mark’s Blog

Hi, I’m Mark McPherson. Every week I post a blog about one of my 52 types of people who are poorly behaved and at times downright difficult.

This week, it’s Type 42: Too Personal.

To download an annotated list of the 52 types, just click here.

# 42: Too Personal.

Perhaps it’s of no surprise to you, but most women I’ve spoken to are familiar with the Too Personal type.  But men? Well, not so. In addition to the words below, I’ve also produced a video. It’s at the end. Anyway, let’s get into it.

What do people do who are Too Personal?

People who are Too Personal ask questions and make comments about you, your body and your personal life which are, quite frankly, none of their business. They overstep the boundary of good taste and ask questions and make comments which are way too familiar.

What sorts of personal questions are there?

There’s almost no limit to the sorts of questions and comments we could call ‘too personal ‘. So for convenience, I’ve divided them into three groups of increasing order of being ‘too personal’. The groups are:

Group 1.

In group 1 we find questions like: “How are you going?” and “Did you enjoy your holiday?” These are pretty ordinary questions and generally speaking we have little or no trouble answering them. But having said that, in some situations, and especially when they come from certain people, we can find them unwelcome.

Group 2.

In group 2 we have questions like: “Where do you live?”, “Are you married?” and “How are you getting home from the party?” And comments like: “You look really good in that dress.” and “You’re in really good shape? Do you work out?”

Now these sorts of questions and comments are more personal than those in group 1 but we still mightn’t have any trouble answering them. However, in some situations these sorts of questions are nothing short of snooping and prying. And in some situations they can be seen as harassment. Worse still, they can spell danger.

Group 3.

In group 3 we really up the ante. Here we have questions and comments which are very personal and intimate, and in some case, sexual. In group 3 we find questions and comments like: … No. I’m not going to write them down. I think you get the picture.

How do I work out what’s too personal?

This is the million dollar question. Just when does a question or comment become ‘too personal’? When does a question become snooping and prying? And when does a comment become too familiar and too intimate?

Well, the answer is ‘it depends’. It depends on you and what you find acceptable. And it depends on the other person, your relationship with them and the context. So what might be okay coming from your best friend might not be okay when it comes from a customer or a staff member. Or someone you’ve just met at a party.

But although some questions and comments are clearly way too personal – like those in group 3 above – most of the time only you can decide when someone is going too far.

However, most of the time you don’t have to think too much to make a decision. Usually your body and gut reaction does it for you. Alarm bells usually start ringing and a little voice inside you says: “Don’t answer. It’s none of their business. It’s got nothing to do with them. Move on!”

Anyway, that’s probably enough for this week. Let’s leave it there.

All the very best,

Mark.


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