by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia
I never answer the age question. Ever.
I think it's irrelevant to all conversations - other than one you might have with your doctor - and people really only ask you so they can fit you inside a box that they've made for you in their heads.
Think about it...people ask you how old you are so they can determine, based on your topic of conversation with them, what they think your answers and responses SHOULD be.
I also find that people think it's OK to ask a woman this, but it's rare that men are asked this question. I could be wrong about that, but that's been my experience.
When people ask me my age, I tell them flat out, "I don't answer that question - ever." I don't qualify it or apologize for not telling them. If they're nosey enough to ask, I'm blunt enough to tell them how I really feel about that question.
So, you can imagine my surprise when recently someone went on a bit of an "age quest" to see if she could determine how old I am.
Quite innocently enough, this person asked my age at a meeting. I gave my standard reply:
"I don't answer that question - ever."
She then went on to attempt to try to guess how old I was. As if her guessing would somehow change my mind about me telling her my age. Wrong. It only served to annoy me...but, I didn't show her that. I wanted to see exactly how far she would go with this "age" thing.
She then tried to enlist someone else at the meeting to guess my age. Even more annoying, but I played it cool.
A few days later, I received an email from her. She had gone to Facebook and looked up my age. She proudly announced, "You're 39!!" She couldn't have been more wrong. Anyone who knows me, knows that just as much as I don't talk about my age, I don't ever give social networking sites my true birth date. To me, there's something creepy about that.
I think my response to her was KILLER. What do you think?
"I was just wondering why it was so important to you [to know my age] because I know you have better things to do - like build [her company], take care of your family, etc.
And, if you were to know my age, what does that get you in the long run? I mean, what's the net-net for you in knowing my age?
I find your curiosity about my personal affairs quite interesting..."
Needless to say I never heard from her again.
Bottomline: If someone tells you to mind your business the first time they ask you something, don't ask them again unless you want to have your @$$ handed to you.
Have you had to put someone in their place about the age question - or any other inappropriate questions? How'd you do it?