Earlier I was in different team and in my team there were all guys. The advantage of working with guys is that they aren't nosy and don't ask you personal question. But working with female colleagues can be a pain at times. Ofcourse we gel up and relate with same gender more compared to opposite gender but females can be nosy at times. Not all, but some of them. They want to know many or everything about you. I myself is female and no offence to other female in general. But I faced this with many of female employees in my current and previous organisation. They can go overboard by asking you personal question which you're not comfortable to answer. Are you married? And if you pause answering this they get it that you're divorced and they will have further question - why were you divorced? What is your age? Do you love your husband? Why aren't you wearing mangalsutra? Do you have a boyfriend? etc... And they have habit of bragging. I don't want to sound rude by telling them "no personal question" or "be professional". Because I am new there and they are working there before me. So I may need their help for work in future so can't afford to offend them... But their question can be irritating at times?

I like to be friendly with people. But some people just take advantage of this friendliness and if their comfort level increases with you they tend to ask you personal question. The day when I joined one lady started asking my age and martial status etc. And by my facial expression she learned that I am divorced so she said, I understood and her further question was - why were you divorced? I told her "No personal question pls" The next day she was reacting rudely and not helping me in learning my new work? It was very immature of her. Our TL are also not leading us properly. I don't want to go to HR for such small small matters. At times, I wouldn't mind to share my personal details to some extent but some females do lots of back-biting and badmouthing. But working with this type of team can be irritating. I am missing my old team with guys.

From India, Ahmadabad
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Vaishalee Parkhi
Hr Consultant & Trainer
R B Yadav
Advocate & Management Consultant On Labour
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
Sr. Hr Executive @ Polymerupdate
Anita P Panicker
Sr Hr Executive
Retired From Air India
+1 Other

Dinesh Divekar

Dear friend,
I have gone through your post. It is unfortunate that you are facing this problem. The fault is with your HR department. In the induction itself they should have told to all the employees not to ask personal questions. In many companies this rule is maintained strictly. However, one can confide something personal on one's own.
There is nothing wrong per se in approaching HR. They should make policy on business etiquettes or office decorum.

From India, Bangalore

I am fully with DVD--I think you surely need to approach HR.
But a word of caution: pl ensure that you DON'T give any impression that you wish to 'complain', but rather come for resolving a delicate issue. Any HR--with a semblance of decorum & caring for the good of the organization--will definitely help you out in handling the situation.
While I can't vouch for it, IN ALL PROBABILITY, the HR would have faced such situations earlier--either within your company or elsewhere--and they would be better placed to guide you in handling your's, since quite often, what works in one company MAY NOT necessarily work in another company.
All the Best.

From India, Hyderabad
R B Yadav

Being human tendency some of the guys working with you try to indulge in personal life of an Individual and in some cases it proves miserable to handle with the situation particularly in case of new joining. I am agree with the view put up by learned Forum Members and is of the opinion you have advised you HR to frame a policy to deal with this type of peculiar situation/questions.
R B Yadav

From India, Mumbai

General indian mentality of asking. I being a guy many people ask me certain questions which pisses me off like your age, salary, marriage etc, feel to take a stone and crush their head.

And in your case its just ladies with their usual activities / nature of gossiping. As we all know how women love to gossip ;). And while working with colleagues its natural tendency to ask about some personal questions like where you live, what conveyance you use and as you know your colleague more either your interaction increases or decreases. Here the women who came to know about your divorce must be some local traditional women who doesnt know to value a persons privacy and where to stop. Here people have wild imaginations, and she must have imagined something wild about your divorce without even knowing actual reason, hence she must be avoiding you, traditional indian trends right from not giving widowed womens respect to all those superstitious beliefs. Best this is to do your work and ask for help from this site, and also convey a message to those people so that they know their limits.

From India, Madras

Do agree with the group. You need to professionally handle such situations.
In many cases even men are harassed in similar fashion, with questions like - oh you are separated, no children, why?
Professionalism in one's role only can handle such situations. In India, gossip and checking of details is a common practice. Handle with a smile and avoid with a smile. That's my advice.

From India, Bangalore
Vaishalee Parkhi

I think it would be inappropriate blaming the HR for not making policy, as this is very personalised and differs from person to person.
I would suggest a different rightly pointed out above that these situations have to be handled and avoided with a smile (although it is unpleasant), merely un-answering the question or diverting the topic might also help. The wise person will understand he should not probe into such personal questions. Also you can keep some answer ready and tackle such situation diplomatically, I think it is more better than straightaway refusals as it will deteriorate your relations with the colleagues.
When you know these situations are bound to come, why not prepare for it and why to ruin your relations or the even the day ?
You may not agree with me, it is absolutely fine. But I just thought it from another angle.
My best wishes.
Vaishalee Parkhi

From India, Pune

When you are new you should have told yes married with no kids which would invite least questions.Even if anybody happens to come to home you can tell gone on tour.After your comfort level increases with 1-2 you may share personal matters but better keep it to yourself as i know girls cant digest secrets.Morever your status has to least to do with their friendship so why share that detail.HR must be knowing but i dont think they will be disclosing that status.So next time try not to feel uncomfortable & yes lies which dont harm anybody is reqd for tricky situations.
From India, Bangalore

Dear Anonymous,

Honestly no one has a right to intrude in some one else's personal life. No matter what.

At the same time what you said is also true. Females have a tendency to ask such questions and probe more on it to know more. If not tackled appropriately, they get offended very easily and that creates a problem in work.

If some one asks you a personal question next time, just smile to them and say,

"Sure we are friendly, but this is office. And I would really prefer to keep my personal and professional lives distinct so that I don't mix up the two and make a chaos. I hope you understand. But be least assured that if there would be something bothering me, I shall myself come to discuss with you."

That would be a prompt but a courteous reply rather than saying "Stay out of it".

Always remember that communication is the biggest key. It can both make you and break you. Always keep it sugar coated. And always have a smile to ensure them that you're actually being very humble in answering the way you did.

Hope it helped.

From India, Mumbai

This type of behavious are related to etiquettes/mannerisms. What HR will play in such circumstances? HR is not a police force to put a blanket ban on such attitudes. Collegues tend to know about others which are not required for them, like, curiosity to know others CTC, their personal matters, etc. It is better that one should not get tinged when another asks unwanted queries, just by pausing silence.

From India, Lucknow

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