Sometimes, no amount of professionalism can keep people from sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong.
So, how can you go about telling someone to mind their own business without being overly offensive or unprofessional yourself?
In this article, we’ll show how to tell someone to mind their own business in a manner suitable for the workplace.
Check out these 10 useful professional synonyms for mind your own business below:
- There’s no need to concern yourself with that
- I’m afraid that information is confidential
- This is a private matter
- I am handling this
- I’d rather not say
- That is a personal issue
- I’m afraid this doesn’t concern you
- That is a matter between [parties involved]
- It would be best to change the subject
- Leave this to the parties involved
1. There’s No Need to Concern Yourself With That
If you want to tell an employee to mind their own business without coming across as dismissive or aggressive, you can say there’s no need to concern yourself with that.
This phrase gives the employee the benefit of the doubt by assuming that they are prying into an issue out of concern.
As such, it’s a polite way to tell them to leave the matter well enough alone. Moreover, it comes across as far less rude than mind your own business.
Have a look at the email example below:
There’s no need to concern yourself with that, as it is being addressed in the correct channels.
2. I’m Afraid That Information Is Confidential
If a client has asked for sensitive information about your company’s procedures or practices that you would rather not share, you can avoid the question with the phrase I’m afraid that information is confidential.
The inclusion of “I’m afraid” suggests that you regret being unable to tell the client more. This makes the phrase come across as less stern and abrupt.
Nevertheless, it’s important to keep the rest of your email as polite as possible so that the client doesn’t take your refusal to answer as a sign of disrespect.
See how we’ve used this phrase in the following email sample:
Dear Mr. Walden,
Thank you for your question.
However, I’m afraid that information in respect of our recruitment policy is confidential.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further inquiries.
3. This Is a Private Matter
You can use the phrase this is a private matter when a colleague has asked you a question that is simply too personal to be appropriate for work.
Although it can be frustrating when people at work ask you personal questions, it is important to maintain a good working relationship with your coworkers.
Therefore, you can use this phrase to keep things respectful and courteous while setting clear boundaries.
While I appreciate your concern, as this is a private matter, I would prefer not to speak about it at work.
Thank you for understanding.
4. I Am Handling This
Another way to ensure that an employee doesn’t get entangled in an irrelevant issue is to let them know that you are dealing with it yourself.
In short, I am handling this is a clear and direct instruction to leave the matter to you. Additionally, you can use this phrase to make clear that the issue is not open for further discussion.
To see what we mean, have a look at the sample email below:
Although I understand your curiosity, I can assure you that I am handling this matter using all the proper procedures.
As such, I would suggest that you focus on your own caseload.
5. I’d Rather Not Say
We’ve all had colleagues who enjoy a bit of office gossip. However, not all of us are interested in engaging in this practice and would rather get on with our work instead.
Therefore, if you are being prompted by your office peers to share certain information, you can use the phrase I’d rather not say to express your refusal to participate nicely.
This phrase is non-confrontational and tentative, making it a good option if you want to maintain a pleasant rapport with your peers.
See how we’ve used this phrase in the following example:
If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not say who was involved in that particular issue, as I don’t believe it is conducive to a productive workday.
Thank you for understanding.
All the best,
6. That Is a Personal Issue
Another way to tell a coworker to mind their own business when they have asked an intrusive question is to simply say that is a personal issue and move swiftly along.
As always, it’s good to keep your email as polite as possible in spite of your reasonable irritation at being bombarded with irrelevant personal questions.
Saying that is a personal issue sets a very clear boundary with your colleagues which they will hopefully be more reluctant to cross in the future.
Let’s see an email example with this phrase in tow:
I’m afraid that is a personal issue that I am not open to discussing at work.
I would appreciate your understanding in this regard.
7. I’m Afraid This Doesn’t Concern You
If an employee has become overly involved in a matter outside of their department, you, as their superior, can give them a clear direction to step away.
Thus, another way of saying mind your business is the phrase I’m afraid this doesn’t concern you.
Once again, adding “I’m afraid” makes this phrase a tad less austere, which is ideal since you don’t want to chasten an adult.
However, the overall message of this phrase is clear and will hopefully leave the employee feeling moderately abashed by their behavior.
For instance, check out the following email sample:
Although I understand your concern, I’m afraid this doesn’t concern you, and I would suggest that you leave it to the individuals involved.
8. That Is a Matter Between [Parties Involved]
If a client or customer is asking questions regarding an internal matter at your organization, it’s best to avoid answering to protect the privacy of those involved and the overall reputation of your company.
In particular, if you work in a customer service department and have limited insight, the last thing you want to do is accidentally add to any existing rumors.
Therefore, the best response when faced with these kinds of questions is to say that is a matter between [parties involved].
See the example below:
Dear Ms. London,
I’m afraid that is a matter between that employee and the relevant supervisor.
As I am not privy to the ongoings of that department, I can provide no further information.
9. It Would Be Best to Change the Subject
Sometimes, office drama is unavoidable. Thus, if some confrontation has occurred recently, it is sure to leave the office abuzz.
However, if you would prefer to disengage and keep your team on track with their work assignments, you can say it would be best to change the subject whenever your colleagues start to delve into the matter in question.
To see what we mean, check out the sample email below:
As neither of us was present at that meeting and have no true insight into what occurred, I believe it would be best to change the subject.
10. Leave This to the Parties Involved
Our final example of how to say mind your business professionally is leave this to the parties involved.
This phrase works well if you don’t even want to mention precisely who is involved in a particular issue.
Leave this to the parties involved has a stern and formal tone. Therefore, it works well if you are the boss or senior member of your team and you are urging your employees to disengage.
This phrase indirectly reminds the receiver that they aren’t involved in the situation. Therefore, it’s not their business!
Have a look at how we’ve used this phrase in our final example:
I understand your concern.
However, I believe it would be in the best interests of the team to leave this to the parties involved and avoid any further complications.