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When Guests Are Rude (Intrusive)

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Generic

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We had guests who asked me if we were related to each other. (To be honest, it's a question that many Canadians, including myself find offensive, personal relationships are an area of privacy. We just don't discuss other people's private matters.) I answered yes and then went about my business, obviously skipping answering any further questions. And they came back and started to ask more personal questions about our relationship. I again answered and left it. So they went to ask DH.
A while later, I tried to nicely mention to the guest that while I understand it may be appropriate where he comes from, many Canadians might be offended by being asked such personal questions. Did I do it right? Or how should I have approached the subject and nicely told the guest that it was just not appropriate to ask personal questions in that way?
 

Happy Harpie

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I would have politely said that "Not to seem rude, but I don't like to discuss my personal life with people!"
Or something like that.
 

Alibi Ike

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We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;)
 

Generic

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We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;).
Alibi Ike said:
We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;)
I guess I don't want to answer because I find the question just so damn rude! I really don't find that it is any of their business, it's part of my personal life. I don't ask guests about theirs, it's none of my damn business! What's next, asking their favourite sexual positions, the choice of contraceptives and if they use the rhythm method? There are boundaries!
We have had one or two Canadians ask, but I know exactly what to say to a Canadian to indicate that they are being rude, the most important of which is simply "excuse me?" (it's the intonation, they quickly understand that they violated a personal boundary). But it is generally considered rude in Canada to ask such personal questions (oddly enough, it's not considered rude to ask someone what they do for a living, but it extremely gauche to ask how much they earn). And considering that women don't have the same name as a spouse there is no way to know if someone is married or not... if they do have the same last name, they could be siblings or parent/child. I have no way of knowing if I have two sisters, two friends or a Lesbian couple, but I don't care either, because it's just none of my damn business... all I need to do is treat them with the same respect I accord all my guests.
I understand it's a cultural difference. The same way that we kiss friends on two cheeks is cultural. I'm just looking for the nicest way to indicate to a person that this is violating a cultural norm.
 

Samster

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I agree with Ike. A simple answer will usually shut people up. I worked here often on my own. People would ask where was my husband, did he have another job, did he have another job because the inn didn't make enough money? It's amazing how people will try to cross the line with personal info. Usually I'd make a joke, simple answer, and not reveal too much and that was the end of it. Most guests were more interested in how I became an inn owner & how much of the work we did ourselves.
The nosiest people that I've ever met in my life are all the folks that live in our neighborhood. I have never seen such busybodies! People around here are constantly frustrated because I do not spread gossip. And how gossip is propogated and the info is changed boggles my mind almost on a daily basis. There's a good saying about the word assume....
 

seashanty

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i agree with alibi ike. nothing wrong with saying 'we're a couple' ... i don't know why you are on the defensive and seemingly offended. this isn't the first time you've brought up this topic so i think you are going to continue to be asked this question.
guests are curious. about lots of things.
i ran the b&b with my adult son. 20+ years difference. people would ask ... is he your son? is he your boyfriend? (haha) does he live here? where does he sleep? where you do you sleep? are you married? do you have a boyfriend? curious was all.
had a female business partner in the b&b biz. i am female. some of the locals assumed we were a couple and told others. we weren't. and i was surprised to here via the grapevine that i was in a relationship with her.
 

Joey Camb

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Abi is wrong we are just as nosey as anyone else but we are taught in the UK you never discuss the big three sex, religion or personal politics it is considered very rude. I would say as politely as I could "I am sorry but to ask personal questions of that nature in Canada is considered rude." I happen not to be married to my partner which I don't see to be anyone's business but ours but people often ask which I find incredibly rude. There is one chap who was a flower arranging specialist who wanted to do our flowers if we wern't and were planning to be who I will let off but its the same thing. The normal questions (which I have answered over and over again this week) are how long have you been doing this? what did you do before? arn't you young to be doing this? how do you manage such a big place?(this makes me laugh as the last hotel I worked in was 80 bedrooms (considered medium sized) and DH came from a 250 bed hotel! Do you own this? (this i consider rude) at the moment we are covered in scaffolding till tuesday so the new one is "what are you doing/have had done etc?" that one I don't mind as can talk about the renovations till the cows come home!
 

Alibi Ike

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Abi is wrong we are just as nosey as anyone else but we are taught in the UK you never discuss the big three sex, religion or personal politics it is considered very rude. I would say as politely as I could "I am sorry but to ask personal questions of that nature in Canada is considered rude." I happen not to be married to my partner which I don't see to be anyone's business but ours but people often ask which I find incredibly rude. There is one chap who was a flower arranging specialist who wanted to do our flowers if we wern't and were planning to be who I will let off but its the same thing. The normal questions (which I have answered over and over again this week) are how long have you been doing this? what did you do before? arn't you young to be doing this? how do you manage such a big place?(this makes me laugh as the last hotel I worked in was 80 bedrooms (considered medium sized) and DH came from a 250 bed hotel! Do you own this? (this i consider rude) at the moment we are covered in scaffolding till tuesday so the new one is "what are you doing/have had done etc?" that one I don't mind as can talk about the renovations till the cows come home!.
I should not have excluded Brits...yes, of all the Europeans, they do ask the most personal of all the questions.
 

Alibi Ike

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We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;).
Alibi Ike said:
We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;)
I guess I don't want to answer because I find the question just so damn rude! I really don't find that it is any of their business, it's part of my personal life. I don't ask guests about theirs, it's none of my damn business! What's next, asking their favourite sexual positions, the choice of contraceptives and if they use the rhythm method? There are boundaries!
We have had one or two Canadians ask, but I know exactly what to say to a Canadian to indicate that they are being rude, the most important of which is simply "excuse me?" (it's the intonation, they quickly understand that they violated a personal boundary). But it is generally considered rude in Canada to ask such personal questions (oddly enough, it's not considered rude to ask someone what they do for a living, but it extremely gauche to ask how much they earn). And considering that women don't have the same name as a spouse there is no way to know if someone is married or not... if they do have the same last name, they could be siblings or parent/child. I have no way of knowing if I have two sisters, two friends or a Lesbian couple, but I don't care either, because it's just none of my damn business... all I need to do is treat them with the same respect I accord all my guests.
I understand it's a cultural difference. The same way that we kiss friends on two cheeks is cultural. I'm just looking for the nicest way to indicate to a person that this is violating a cultural norm.
.
It's a normal question. If you find it offensive then be offensive right back. 'It's none of your beeswax. And, BTW, Canadians find it highly offensive to ask such questions. You'd be wise to not try that sort of thing on the street.' Offer up local info to guests. Otherwise they won't know.
You just have to understand the cultural differences and work with them. Americans, and I am assuming you mean Americans, are curious. That is not the same as nosy. We like to know stuff. It's why we invent things and went to the moon and on great explorations. We want to know. I look on curiosity as a great gift. If you don't you have to tell us. Otherwise we keep at it.
'It is not culturally acceptable to ask those questions in Canada.' Case closed. Walk away. Snub the Americans, they get it everywhere they go, they're used to it.
BTW, you do know you have me rethinking moving to Canada, right? I'm not thinking it will be a good fit for me after all.
 

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I am in agreement with Ike... and yes, except for the Brits Europeans speak too much politics and it drives DH crazy cause he knows he best not start.
I am usually straight up on entry. Hi I am Copperhead and DH is out and about now if we can help you in any way let us know. I do this so they know our names.
Some ask if we own or are the hired help.... I think people are just trying to get a sence of who they are staying with. Obviously when 2 people are in business together especially in a home environment, there is some sort of relationship. I would not think of a question like that as rude in this environment (then again I am an American) but WOULD think it rude walking on the street, seated at a restaurant.... you get the picture.
Edited to add, I don't think that this would then lead to other more intimate questions.
We have gotten many questions as they try to find out how much money we make.... or how much we paid for the place... Those are questions I find rude.
 

Generic

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We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;).
Alibi Ike said:
We've found that with guests, for some reason, nothing is off the table as far as asking us. In spite of your reluctance, we find Canadians asking us all the time about the same stuff Americans ask. Europeans want to talk politics, they don't care about our personal lives.
I find that the easiest deflection of unwanted questions is to ask back, 'Why do you ask?' In your case, where they didn't stop and continued to pursue the answer they wanted to hear by even asking someone else, definitely, 'I keep my personal life on the other side of the inn door.'
And here's where I will just throw this out...why not just say, 'We're a couple' and walk away? I think you make it so much more intriguing to the guest to cloak and dagger the whole relationship. You're a couple, why not just say so?
At this point in my life there's not much I won't talk about. Altho, we have had guests for years who finally just come out and ask if we're married, have we always been married, are the kids 'ours' or 'mine and yours'? Remarkable restraint, but eventually they crack. ;)
I guess I don't want to answer because I find the question just so damn rude! I really don't find that it is any of their business, it's part of my personal life. I don't ask guests about theirs, it's none of my damn business! What's next, asking their favourite sexual positions, the choice of contraceptives and if they use the rhythm method? There are boundaries!
We have had one or two Canadians ask, but I know exactly what to say to a Canadian to indicate that they are being rude, the most important of which is simply "excuse me?" (it's the intonation, they quickly understand that they violated a personal boundary). But it is generally considered rude in Canada to ask such personal questions (oddly enough, it's not considered rude to ask someone what they do for a living, but it extremely gauche to ask how much they earn). And considering that women don't have the same name as a spouse there is no way to know if someone is married or not... if they do have the same last name, they could be siblings or parent/child. I have no way of knowing if I have two sisters, two friends or a Lesbian couple, but I don't care either, because it's just none of my damn business... all I need to do is treat them with the same respect I accord all my guests.
I understand it's a cultural difference. The same way that we kiss friends on two cheeks is cultural. I'm just looking for the nicest way to indicate to a person that this is violating a cultural norm.
.
It's a normal question. If you find it offensive then be offensive right back. 'It's none of your beeswax. And, BTW, Canadians find it highly offensive to ask such questions. You'd be wise to not try that sort of thing on the street.' Offer up local info to guests. Otherwise they won't know.
You just have to understand the cultural differences and work with them. Americans, and I am assuming you mean Americans, are curious. That is not the same as nosy. We like to know stuff. It's why we invent things and went to the moon and on great explorations. We want to know. I look on curiosity as a great gift. If you don't you have to tell us. Otherwise we keep at it.
'It is not culturally acceptable to ask those questions in Canada.' Case closed. Walk away. Snub the Americans, they get it everywhere they go, they're used to it.
BTW, you do know you have me rethinking moving to Canada, right? I'm not thinking it will be a good fit for me after all.
.
Alibi Ike said:
...
'It is not culturally acceptable to ask those questions in Canada.' Case closed. Walk away. Snub the Americans, they get it everywhere they go, they're used to it.
BTW, you do know you have me rethinking moving to Canada, right? I'm not thinking it will be a good fit for me after all.
I just find it difficult to be rude. With Canadians it's so easy, just you say "excuse me?" with an uplift of the voice and they know they crossed the line. But I just don't want to be rude.
I'll say it another way, so many people in Canada no longer bother to get married anymore. And if they do, many don't change their last name. I guess we just find it rude to put someone on the spot like that and have to explain their life choices, when it's really not our business. I can be perfectly happy not knowing the relationship of the people sharing the beds in my house... I don't need to inquire. Never felt the need.
It's one thing with friends, but with total strangers?
 

Surfside

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We can strongly relate to your frustration, as in our case personal questions arise more than a couple of times a day when we are full house. And yes, being in Canadian Maritimes only helps - we never got so many personal questions in Ontario! Here locals usually love to chat. We have 8 rooms, so our kids help us as well. My daughter runs the front desk and my son helps us with housekeeping and everything in between. So they get the most questions like, are you related, are the owners your parents, do you own this, even are you getting paid to do this, etc. We also get asked where we are from, as we are first generation Canadian and I find my kids get this question most often and it does get kind of irritating for them hearing it from different people all the time. So I heard them reply "we are Canadian!" when they get tired. To us such an interest was quite surprising, because in Ontario you are not asked these kind of questions often. But it is very understandable that people are interested and probably just being curious. So we try not to take it personally and talk about it or just give some kind of a short answer if questions get too deep.
I do understand where you are coming from, and my only advice is not to take it personally. Play it short and sweet and you dont have to talk about it if you dont want to. They are in your house, after all, but it does not mean it gives them the right to be in your bedroom.
 

agoodman

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Have you ever considered that people are just INTERESTED and not curious or being rude? If you treat it as such then maybe it won't bother you. And if you give them a true answer (nicely) ("ah yes he is my life partner, isn't he wonderful, I am so lucky"..) then if they don't like it that's their problem. If you are evasive it may prompt them to ask other questions. I would avoid the temptation to be rude back - you are after all their hosts, you opened up your home to them and those are just things that will come up. Maybe a little different from all the other replies here but as the old saying goes, honesty is the best policy
 

April

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Completely understand your pain. We do often get the questions that make us feel uncomfortable. My feeling is that it is nobody's business where you are from- unless you volunteer with that info, or what is your sexual orientation - unless the person himself /herself brings it up. Hard to answer without being rude especially when they press on with more and more questions. May be try a shock - tell them "he is my lover", maybe this will send the message that they got to personal.
 

Generic

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We can strongly relate to your frustration, as in our case personal questions arise more than a couple of times a day when we are full house. And yes, being in Canadian Maritimes only helps - we never got so many personal questions in Ontario! Here locals usually love to chat. We have 8 rooms, so our kids help us as well. My daughter runs the front desk and my son helps us with housekeeping and everything in between. So they get the most questions like, are you related, are the owners your parents, do you own this, even are you getting paid to do this, etc. We also get asked where we are from, as we are first generation Canadian and I find my kids get this question most often and it does get kind of irritating for them hearing it from different people all the time. So I heard them reply "we are Canadian!" when they get tired. To us such an interest was quite surprising, because in Ontario you are not asked these kind of questions often. But it is very understandable that people are interested and probably just being curious. So we try not to take it personally and talk about it or just give some kind of a short answer if questions get too deep.
I do understand where you are coming from, and my only advice is not to take it personally. Play it short and sweet and you dont have to talk about it if you dont want to. They are in your house, after all, but it does not mean it gives them the right to be in your bedroom..
Surfside said:
We can strongly relate to your frustration, as in our case personal questions arise more than a couple of times a day when we are full house. And yes, being in Canadian Maritimes only helps - we never got so many personal questions in Ontario! Here locals usually love to chat. We have 8 rooms, so our kids help us as well. My daughter runs the front desk and my son helps us with housekeeping and everything in between. So they get the most questions like, are you related, are the owners your parents, do you own this, even are you getting paid to do this, etc. We also get asked where we are from, as we are first generation Canadian and I find my kids get this question most often and it does get kind of irritating for them hearing it from different people all the time. So I heard them reply "we are Canadian!" when they get tired. To us such an interest was quite surprising, because in Ontario you are not asked these kind of questions often. But it is very understandable that people are interested and probably just being curious. So we try not to take it personally and talk about it or just give some kind of a short answer if questions get too deep.
I do understand where you are coming from, and my only advice is not to take it personally. Play it short and sweet and you dont have to talk about it if you dont want to. They are in your house, after all, but it does not mean it gives them the right to be in your bedroom.
I can sympathize with the kids. I'm not only Canadian, I'm a local English-speaking Canadian. Born and raised right here. When they ask where I was born, I say that I'm a local boy. But sometimes they way that they ask the question just makes me cringe. "Where in the United States are you originally from?" Apparently none of the rest of Canada speaks English. :) It's funny how people's perceptions colour the way that they ask questions.
I understand the curiosity, I do. I don't want to offend people. And I do answer a lot of personal questions. Maybe it's just me... I just find that too personal a question. A personal foible, I guess. But I have to say that no one has yet asked my salary or how much we make... because I'm sure that the look on my face would
Reminds me when I was at the hospital to see a doctor. It's a teaching hospital, so along with my doctor there were four other medical students. And the doctor started touching on some very personal subjects. Didn't bother me, because I know that there is confidentiality and the questions were important questions health-wise. But still he talked about some things that made the students feel very uncomfortable. I told the students that I appreciated the doctor discussing the matter with me instead of simply dancing around it.... But then, I also knew that confidentiality applied.
 

Breakfast Diva

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Is it possible that they are asking these type of questions because those are the easiest to start conversations? When you meet a stranger, even though they are in your home/business, it's not always easy to find topics of conversation.
I rarely get those types of questions and I think it's because in each room binder, I have a short bio of both myself and DH. The types of personal questions I get mostly are about our previous careers and how did we end up here. It seems to give them an easy way to start to get to know us a little bit.
 

Generic

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Have you ever considered that people are just INTERESTED and not curious or being rude? If you treat it as such then maybe it won't bother you. And if you give them a true answer (nicely) ("ah yes he is my life partner, isn't he wonderful, I am so lucky"..) then if they don't like it that's their problem. If you are evasive it may prompt them to ask other questions. I would avoid the temptation to be rude back - you are after all their hosts, you opened up your home to them and those are just things that will come up. Maybe a little different from all the other replies here but as the old saying goes, honesty is the best policy.
agoodman said:
Have you ever considered that people are just INTERESTED and not curious or being rude? If you treat it as such then maybe it won't bother you. And if you give them a true answer (nicely) ("ah yes he is my life partner, isn't he wonderful, I am so lucky"..) then if they don't like it that's their problem. If you are evasive it may prompt them to ask other questions. I would avoid the temptation to be rude back - you are after all their hosts, you opened up your home to them and those are just things that will come up. Maybe a little different from all the other replies here but as the old saying goes, honesty is the best policy
Oh. I do think they are interested. I don't think they even realize that we consider that rude. It's really not intentional at all. (I try to think the best of people.) That's why I don't want to be rude back. I also want to be kind enough to tell them that it's just not considered polite to ask such personal questions. It's simply a cultural difference.
Different is better or worse, it's just different.
 

April

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We can strongly relate to your frustration, as in our case personal questions arise more than a couple of times a day when we are full house. And yes, being in Canadian Maritimes only helps - we never got so many personal questions in Ontario! Here locals usually love to chat. We have 8 rooms, so our kids help us as well. My daughter runs the front desk and my son helps us with housekeeping and everything in between. So they get the most questions like, are you related, are the owners your parents, do you own this, even are you getting paid to do this, etc. We also get asked where we are from, as we are first generation Canadian and I find my kids get this question most often and it does get kind of irritating for them hearing it from different people all the time. So I heard them reply "we are Canadian!" when they get tired. To us such an interest was quite surprising, because in Ontario you are not asked these kind of questions often. But it is very understandable that people are interested and probably just being curious. So we try not to take it personally and talk about it or just give some kind of a short answer if questions get too deep.
I do understand where you are coming from, and my only advice is not to take it personally. Play it short and sweet and you dont have to talk about it if you dont want to. They are in your house, after all, but it does not mean it gives them the right to be in your bedroom..
Surfside said:
We can strongly relate to your frustration, as in our case personal questions arise more than a couple of times a day when we are full house. And yes, being in Canadian Maritimes only helps - we never got so many personal questions in Ontario! Here locals usually love to chat. We have 8 rooms, so our kids help us as well. My daughter runs the front desk and my son helps us with housekeeping and everything in between. So they get the most questions like, are you related, are the owners your parents, do you own this, even are you getting paid to do this, etc. We also get asked where we are from, as we are first generation Canadian and I find my kids get this question most often and it does get kind of irritating for them hearing it from different people all the time. So I heard them reply "we are Canadian!" when they get tired. To us such an interest was quite surprising, because in Ontario you are not asked these kind of questions often. But it is very understandable that people are interested and probably just being curious. So we try not to take it personally and talk about it or just give some kind of a short answer if questions get too deep.
I do understand where you are coming from, and my only advice is not to take it personally. Play it short and sweet and you dont have to talk about it if you dont want to. They are in your house, after all, but it does not mean it gives them the right to be in your bedroom.
I can sympathize with the kids. I'm not only Canadian, I'm a local English-speaking Canadian. Born and raised right here. When they ask where I was born, I say that I'm a local boy. But sometimes they way that they ask the question just makes me cringe. "Where in the United States are you originally from?" Apparently none of the rest of Canada speaks English. :) It's funny how people's perceptions colour the way that they ask questions.
I understand the curiosity, I do. I don't want to offend people. And I do answer a lot of personal questions. Maybe it's just me... I just find that too personal a question. A personal foible, I guess. But I have to say that no one has yet asked my salary or how much we make... because I'm sure that the look on my face would
Reminds me when I was at the hospital to see a doctor. It's a teaching hospital, so along with my doctor there were four other medical students. And the doctor started touching on some very personal subjects. Didn't bother me, because I know that there is confidentiality and the questions were important questions health-wise. But still he talked about some things that made the students feel very uncomfortable. I told the students that I appreciated the doctor discussing the matter with me instead of simply dancing around it.... But then, I also knew that confidentiality applied.
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When it comes to health questions - that is a completely different story. Curiosity is just lack of proper upbringing, when a person does not know what is polite or not. I was not born in Canada, however I have chosen this country and live here all of my adult life-30+ years. I had no control were I was born and full control were I live. I think it makes me even more Canadaian than people who never had to make this decision. What difference does it make for somebody to know where was I born? You are in my city for either business or pleasure and as long you are comfortable and getting the service you like what is that urge to know?
 

happyjacks

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Fellow Canuck here and I have to say I don't think it's a cultural thing, it's a personal thing. We all -- all of us, regardless of where we're from -- have invisible lines drawn which we don't like crossed. But not all those lines are the same.
In my experience here in Canada, general questions about how people may be related to each other are not considered rude (in part because we don't all marry or take each other's name). I also agree that in a B&B setting, it's often simply a case of people trying to get a sense of who's the owner, who's the helper, how many people live there. They're not doing it to pass judgement, they're simply curious about the B&B lifestyle.
We don't get the "are you married" question because I introduce my husband as my husband. But we get asked if we have children, if our family lives in the area, do they visit us often, where we're from (especially hubby, who is a "visible minority"), do we have other jobs, what did we do before, where do we "live" (ie where are the owners' quarters), and sundry other questions I deem harmless.
The only one I find somewhat rude is when people ask how much we paid for the property. Sometimes they skirt around it and ask how much does property cost around here. Even though I consider it too personal to answer directly, I don't think it stems from people being nosey about us. It's more about them trying to see how they could do this too.
Even still, I would not do the "excuse me?" with a guest. That, to me, would be unnecessarily rude.
 

Penelope

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Fellow Canuck here and I have to say I don't think it's a cultural thing, it's a personal thing. We all -- all of us, regardless of where we're from -- have invisible lines drawn which we don't like crossed. But not all those lines are the same.
In my experience here in Canada, general questions about how people may be related to each other are not considered rude (in part because we don't all marry or take each other's name). I also agree that in a B&B setting, it's often simply a case of people trying to get a sense of who's the owner, who's the helper, how many people live there. They're not doing it to pass judgement, they're simply curious about the B&B lifestyle.
We don't get the "are you married" question because I introduce my husband as my husband. But we get asked if we have children, if our family lives in the area, do they visit us often, where we're from (especially hubby, who is a "visible minority"), do we have other jobs, what did we do before, where do we "live" (ie where are the owners' quarters), and sundry other questions I deem harmless.
The only one I find somewhat rude is when people ask how much we paid for the property. Sometimes they skirt around it and ask how much does property cost around here. Even though I consider it too personal to answer directly, I don't think it stems from people being nosey about us. It's more about them trying to see how they could do this too.
Even still, I would not do the "excuse me?" with a guest. That, to me, would be unnecessarily rude..
happyjacks said:
I don't think it's a cultural thing, it's a personal thing. We all -- all of us, regardless of where we're from -- have invisible lines drawn which we don't like crossed. But not all those lines are the same.
I agree completely with this statement. I guess I would say that when I feel like I am trying to hide something, that is where my line is. Price paid for the inn. How much money I make...General questions about myself- I'm happy to answer. Yes, I am trying to hide my kids- so general answers: yes, the kids do exist- type of thing.
Where I buy my bread from- I might try to hide that. Trade secret. Is everything homemade- uh, no- but I won't say that! Trade secret.
Trying to figure out who fits where and for what purpose in the home the guest is staying in seems like common curiousity. Not to be confused with common courtesy...
 
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