3 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask Other People — Ever

Don't ask people these questions, unless you want to make them uncomfortable.

woman winking while shushing, surrounded by friends

Some of you have probably noticed that certain questions make you uncomfortable.

I’ve chosen my top three. Let’s dive right in.

Here are 3 questions you shouldn't ask other people — ever:

1. How many people have you slept with?

What prompts this type of question? Sometimes alcohol. Sometimes a tactless idea of what constitutes appropriate conversation.


Teenagers sometimes ask each other, but they learn fast. We all remember that friend who copied our 'true confessions' PMs to send out to the world. Thank you, technology! And thank you, Millennials, who helped us learn not to share private information in phone messages.

RELATED: What Your Number Of Sex Partners Really Says About You

Your number of romantic partners is not good information to disclose ever. Begin preparing yourself, as a young adult, for people to stare you in the eyes and ask how many people have been with in your life, and many more awkward questions.

These rude question-askers just want to be titillated. Don’t let them use you for their amusement, friends.


No one has a right to ask, and you have no obligation to answer.

You may be accustomed to answering authority figures. It’s okay to hesitate, and not answer, but if you have any discomfort with a personal question or any question, keep your private information to yourself.

Boundaries must be set.

Here’s the response you could give: "Why would you like to know?" or you could even use the ever-popular, "Are you writing a book about me?" and then laugh.

I’ll add that at times, prospective partners want some idea of your sexual history. You aren’t obligated to discuss the number of previous partners or any details about your relationships.


Also, if you ask a person about previous partners, you may be exposing jealousy. It’s good to work on that. You don’t need to know.

What you are obligated to share is information about your sexual health. I’m not a doctor, and not giving medical advice. If you have an issue that requires medications, share that with the prospective partner — before you fall into bed with them, not after. That’s kind.

RELATED: 10 Really Irritating Questions To Never Ask A Woman

2. How much money do you earn?

If you’re in a job interview, and the interviewer asks you this question, they may be trying to 'buy' you away from your current job. You’re already job-shopping, and they know you are interested in working with them. Just know that if you admit to earning twenty-two dollars per hour, they may go up to twenty-five.


Don’t sell yourself short. Perhaps turn the question on them.

Ask the interviewer what the pay is for the job before you show your hand. You may not have to say what you earn currently. Avoid it if possible.

Sometimes parents or grandparents will ask what you’re earning because they’re proud of you, and they’ve invested in your education. They’ve helped you, in some way, to get to where you are now. If you are asked by an older family member, just smile graciously and say, "Enough to take you out to dinner. Want to go get a bite to eat?" or something like this.

You do not have to say what you earn to anyone — not even a parent. If you are, however, living in Mom’s basement, different rules apply. The parent may want you to chip in on bills, right? I don’t know. I only know I hate this question.


No friend should ask you what you earn. The appropriate answer is to give some side-eye and shake your head. Narrow your eyes. Purse your lips. Think of Elaine on Seinfeld. Like that.

RELATED: Research Suggests You Need To Earn This Much Money To Be Happy

3. Do you believe in an afterlife?

Give me a break. If you’re sitting around doing mushrooms or other psychedelics and this comes up, I get it. If your friend is on her deathbed, and you decide to appoint (anoint?) yourself the missing apostle of our lord JC, shame on you.

I recently had a younger family member tell me that was the exact right time to discuss religion! When a person is dying.


I thought to myself, "Please stay out of my ICU room and far away from my death bed, missy."

Not cool, not cool.

Possible answers to someone enquiring about your beliefs: "Religion and politics are off limits for me. If you’d like to talk about your beliefs, I’m happy to listen to you, but my beliefs are personal!"


A final note on this question: I have a stock reply for JW’s who knock on my door to deliver the little pamphlets. Usually, I smile kindly and say, "Thank you, thank you! Have a nice day!"

It’s not always possible to deal with the door-knocking spiritualists in a tactful manner, but I try to be kind.

RELATED: What Really Happens When You Die, According To A Medium

Debra Groves Harman is a creative non-fiction memoirist who's been published in myriad magazines.