53

Most languages will have a saying akin to "I was feeling a bit under the weather" or something close to that. I would simply say that. When I am sick and my co-workers ask me about it I usually say "I was feeling really sick". This is something people often say in my language (Dutch) when they either are feverish, sick to their stomach or just feel like ...


25

Some people have suggested strategies to do with being vague and evasive, but I'm going to suggest a different approach. Be honest that it is a private matter. People are naturally inquisitive, and will want to know what was wrong. In my experience, being evasive can be a problem, especially when talking to colleagues that you are friends with. It can ...


23

From what I've seen my coworkers do when they didn't want to talk about some personal thing (like the reason for sick leave) there are 2 main ways to handle any inquiry about it. Which one to choose depends on whether you want people to always take you seriously, or if you want to be known as a bit of a joker outside of serious work related topics. 1) Give ...


20

It sounds like you need a way to change the subject. Business Insider lists two techniques that I've personally found great success with: Use a distraction The article says to do something like pointing behind the other person and yelling "Squirrel!" which, to me seems a little overkill. I do think using a distraction outside the scope of the conversation ...


11

Over time I have personally found the following technique to be useful. It depends on your personality and how you deliver it, plus the audience, culture, location and other factors but it may help you. Throw one hand up and shake your head and say 'ah boy you really dont wana know. Trust me! Smile sorta sadly at the end. Uses humor Avoids lying about ...


10

Full Disclosure: I work as a programmer for a NorthEastern United States State Government, so take this within the proper cultural context. Don't Answer Personal Questions You Don't Want To Answer "I'd rather not talk about it" is a full and complete answer to anything anyone asks that you don't want to respond to - and culturally, acceptable as an ...


8

I've found that when people ask questions like that, it's usually an unintentionally roundabout way of finding out one of two things: whether they should be concerned about your well-being, and whether this is something they should worry about catching. I've always answered questions like this with something like: Don't worry, it's nothing contagious, ...


8

How to stop my boss's son physically bullying me First, as painful as it may be, you actually have to ask this person to stop if you haven't already done so. I think in this case they know they are acting poorly, but still you need to be able to say to either HR or an attorney "Yes, I asked him to stop." Additionally, you need to document the instances, ...


6

What you describe looks like a catch 22 situation to me. On the one hand, you want to know because of an specific issue, and on the other hand, don't want to tell them the exact reason for knowing. So, it's also like being between a rock and a hard place. You either suck it up... or not! What I would do, in your situation, is a "twist", the use of something ...


6

I know this might sound unpleasant, maybe even scary, but you're probably going to have to either find a way to enjoy going out, or start using social media. Maybe both. Or at least, if not enjoy it, struggle through it long enough to get to know someone. The problem is simple logistics; people aren't just going to knock on your door some day and ask to ...


5

In similar situations, I usually prefer saying something like: I prefer to avoid talking about this, because it is something which is embarassing me. However I'm healthy and happy now; thank you for worrying about me! And I say that with a thankful smile. This is the truth and they will not insist, as you already said you don't want to discuss that ...


5

I am, myself, part of several oppressed communities. This is how I tested the water at my own workplace. Be aware, though, that using these techniques can still be dangerous for you. You might end up being seen as the "social justice warrior coworker" with every good and bad connotation attached to it. My advice could be broadly summarized as: suggest ...


5

Last year (while working in a French company), I had a very serious and sudden health condition that led me to the ER. I had to leave work in a hurry and my coworkers had questions when I came back. I didn't want to disclose said health condition to them (I had an internal haemorrhage and I was afraid their imagination went wild should I tell them about it), ...


4

If the asker has any sense of etiquette then providing the answer: I was just dealing with a health issue but I'd rather not get into the details; I'm feeling much better now though. This should give them a clue to change the subject. I've had co-workers go absent for extended periods of time and naturally I will ask such things as "How are you feeling?"...


4

Note: part of my answer is based on my behavior part is general company policy My company also organised suprised teambuildings. Suprise part was dropped due to several issues rised by employees. Some of them: People have health issues, movement problems, religious reasons to NOT DO some things. Only by letting them know beforehand they can decide if they ...


4

This situation seems too absurd to me. Before I say anything else I have to point out how problematic this sentence is: "I'm not a strong person so I can't beat him up." Don't get me wrong, I'm not a person that thinks violence is never a solution. Sometimes it is, but it is never a solution if you are not in danger of physical harm. Let's say that you are ...


3

An obviously vague answer In such a situation you'd want to make an answer that's obviously intentionally vague, telling only as much as you desire in a way that makes it clear that you actually tried to answer their question but have already told as much as you desire to tell. If they ask "did you have the flu?", then it's quite possible to say "no, I had ...


3

This question may be closed, but I wanted to give you some advice before. I am a girl, and this happened to me a lot, I always looked much younger than I am. Add to that being a woman and it can be quite the feat making people see you know things. First of all, don't worry so much about it. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but worrying about it at the ...


3

I'm in Germany, so a fairly direct culture (i.e. "How are you?" is the invitation that if you'd like to you can now discuss the full details of your illness). In order to stop people from bugging me about details I don't want to disclose, I'd go for something like the following steps of escalation: "Thank you [for asking/caring]. [no explanation following]"...


2

Update from chat on comments: I want to make clear that I believe you and believe that your assesment that this person may not be telling the whole truth is correct. However since you were not actually guarding the door and they could have said the wrong hour they estimated they rang the bell, there is a tiny small chance you are wrong. In general in ...


2

I am an American developer, but I attended grad school with a few Indian classmates. Some are successful at socializing with Americans and have remained my friends since graduation. Here are some characteristics I've observed among the more successful: They have a better command of English. The others talk too slowly for a normal conversation, and often ...


2

In Western culture, you don't have to be afraid of talking about things that are not work-related. At my own workplace, many colleagues even prefer to ban any work-related talk during lunch break. They argue that work hours are work time and lunch break is free time, so they want to do and talk about things that don't directly contribute to their work. I ...


2

So as a UK software developer, they all have social events (well they do in Yorkshire). Go on them, don't talk about work. Try to find somebody who has the same hobby as you, board gaming is really popular and you can always find 2 or 3 people to organise board evenings with. Or if you are more sporty ask people who do the same sport if you can "do it" with ...


1

I know from experience that coming out at work is hard to do. While I'm not trans myself, I was married to a trans person, and have lived with and dated a few trans folks over the years. At this point in US history, it can be particularly hard being trans. There's an awful lot of spotlight on trans rights issues and while in some instances that's really ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible