How best to respond to nosy questions
What was the rudest question you were asked by Koreans?There is one expression in Korean that is frequently used by brave Koreans when they, too are asked and are disenchanted by it, which I will disclose toward the end of this blog. Yes I am going to teach you the ultimate expression to genially squirm yourself out of such disheartening situations.
What is the best way to diplomatically avert the personal questions Koreans demand to know of you? I’m sure you have had your share of headaches when trying to procure a good strategy so as not to be confrontational when the personal privacy is transgressed upon by the locals. Of course if you opt to languish in a life of solitude it is no brainer, just never leave your room. However, to have a decent social life in Korea one must learn to pour your guts out to relative strangers.
Koreans have a propensity for unscrupulously asking personal questions of any sort and isn’t morally bounded by any moral precepts it seems. Where were you born? What school did you attend? What was your major? What does your father do? How much money do you make? Do you rent your home? Or do you own it? Do you have a boy/girl friend? How old are you? “Wow you look so old, young wrinkly, so much body hair.” Few things I have yet to be asked is the pass code to your debit card, and the color of your underwear. Prevalent feeling is like a third degree burn from an interrogation room than anything else. These sessions are the furthest thing from having a civilized discourse, but to Koreans it is a sign of affection. They say if they were indifferent about you, in all likelihood they wouldn’t even bother asking you anything. They care about your well-being so much that they wouldn’t scruple to mention your weight either. “Oh you are so skinny, you should gain weight.” “Oh maybe you should lose weight.”
This conundrum has been exacerbating me since I’ve lived here (6 years) and I took the initiative to seek out the answer by interviewing literally hundreds of natives from all walks of life. I’ve been trained by the Korean masters in how to retort without sounding like a rude person. Yes, the one who asks is never culpable of this crime.
Here is what I have discovered. You have to become the predator, yes you take the initiative to ask the questions before being asked. This is a hard thing to do but you must, if not you may be ever so severely be dealt with by the Native Koreans with the due diligence. It takes getting used to, but I don’t think twice about asking “So what do you do and roughly how much do you make?” make sure you say things like “You know I only ask because I like you.” “Oh? What college did you go to? What was your major? Oh did you take out a loan or did you dad pay for it?” “How much do you weight?” You just have to do it.
Now if you are at discomfort with the above method, then here is what you say when being asked with an obnoxious question. Execution is important when this expression is asserted, and it should be accompanied by a smile. “Aa eeeeeee~ Why do you ask? What have you done to have been a help to me in that regard?” (aa eeeeee Wae mul uh boe sae yo? Moe boe tae jun guh it sau yo? 에이~ 왜 물어보세요? 뭐 보태준거 있어요?) “You keep on asking me these types of questions I will start to like you!”. (Ja ggu mul uh bo shi myun jung del uh yo! 자꾸 물어보시면 정 들어요!)