You don’t owe anyone your personal information – Episode 153

This is the story of how I got tangled in a creepy, prying conversation about my business, and learnt that we don’t owe anyone our personal information! The story of how my boundaries got strong.

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Hello! I hope you’re having a lovely, lovely week. I want to tell you about this time when I was still quite new to running my vegan restaurant. I hadn’t learnt the balance between being polite, nice, friendly…and also have boundaries.

My senses tingled. A little warning. A tiny blinking red light at the core of my mind.

Don’t trust, stop sharing, he’s wasting your time

It had started with a harmless Facebook DM. “Hey, you’re all doing great work with the restaurant, I’m a big fan!”

This guy lived in another town, somewhere up north, but that didn’t surprise me. Vegans from all across India, even the world, knew about Carrots. We were the country’s first vegan restaurant after all.

He praised, then he tried to be helpful. “If you’re ever going to open up a branch in my town, I have an old family bungalow. You’re welcome to set up there.”

Oookay…he was being a little too friendly. But hey, after all, he’s trying to help. So, I politely thanked for his kindness, and then I wanted to leave.

But before I could leave the chat, his questions began

First he asked casual stuff.

“How many team members do you have?”
“Do non-vegans visit regularly?”
“What workshops do you conduct?”

Things that anyone who followed us on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube would know.

Then the prying questions began.

“How many silent partners are there in your business?”
“What’s your monthly revenue?”
“What kind of profits do you all make?”
And then, the last straw…”How do you split the money among yourselves?”

I dodged the first couple of questions with some non-answers. You know, without committing. Then it started to feel very creepy.

Computer monitor on a desk. On the screen is the headshot of a man facing us, looking through binoculars with facebook logo on it. Prying, privacy breaching energy.
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

It was as if he was reaching his icky hands through the screen, pawing through our finances

Once I detected that bit of creepy, prying energy, I ended the chat. I gave some excuse, like, “customers have come” or “I’m busy. Good chatting with you”, whatever. And then I closed the laptop!

I was kind of pissed off with myself for even sharing as much as I had. I’d given him so much information which I didn’t have to give! So, you know, it bugged me.

Though I didn’t reveal all the financials, still whatever I had, it felt like an intrusion. Like, he really didn’t deserve to know all this information, so why did I share it with him? That was a good lesson for me to understand…

You know what? We don’t owe anyone any information!

It was the only time I’d allowed myself to get so tangled in a creepy, prying conversation about our business.

After that, my creepy detectors went up much faster! And over the years, my boundaries have become more and more solid, more and more strong.

The thing is, when we’re running a conscious business, we have questions from people within our own community. People especially like this, who seem like they’re trying to be helpful, or who’re praising you and stuff like that. They’re all nice and friendly, and then they try to dig stuff up. It feels a little difficult to cut off from it.

How do you say no? How do you step away?

It wasn’t even an in-person conversation. It was something that happened on Facebook. So, you know, I could’ve just stopped responding, or closed the laptop screen at any point of time. But the fact that I got sucked into it even as much as I did says a lot about how manipulative people can be.

So we need to be always aware when somebody’s asking us questions. Now this is whether you’re running a business or whether it’s your personal life, work, art, creativity, wherever. Whichever area of your life.

Boundaries are important, and you never, no matter who, you don’t owe any information to them

So, first of all, yeah, we need to watch out who’s prying, who’s asking us for information. Before responding, always think, “Do I really owe this person this information? Do I really need to share it? Why do they want it?” And then, step away from that conversation.

Depending on the person, if they seem very forceful, then you also can forcefully say, No!” Be rude if needed.

But even if they’re being very nice, and manipulative, hone your skills to recognise this. And again be careful and step away. Untangle yourself from that conversation as soon as possible. And don’t feel bad.

Close up of red door with "PRIVATE" printed on it in bold.
Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

Don’t feel guilty

Don’t feel like, “oh I didn’t need to be rude.” Sometimes we feel like this even if we aren’t actually outright rude, just because we refuse someone some information they’re asking.

The general attitude is, “”it’s just information, what have I got to lose?” Actually there’s a lot you got to lose! Privacy is important. You just don’t owe it to them. So don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty.

And over time, understand that it’s okay. You know, the right people come. Don’t be afraid. Especially when it comes to building a brand, don’t be afraid to refuse to share certain information which isn’t relevant.

Transparency is important

Customers, clients, audience, they need to know the truth. Whatever’s relevant to them, be open about it. You don’t have to hide anything. Be vulnerable, sure.

But what’s not relevant to them? What’s none of their business? Well, you know, it is none of their business! So don’t feel too worried about not sharing.

That’s my bit for today. I hope it helps you think about where your boundaries might be weak, especially when it comes to prying people. And you become stronger in refusing to answer questions that you really don’t need to respond to.

If you’d like to receive more stories like these, sign up for my newsletter, The Feel Good Tribe. I share a lot of secret stories there that I don’t share anywhere else! And many times they’re funny. So yeah, I hope to see you inside the Feel Good Tribe.

Talk to you again next week. Thank you for listening. Take care. Bye.

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Susmitha Veganosaurus

Shorth haired Indian lady, beaming a wide smile. Flowers in the background. Vegan business coach and chef Susmitha Veganosaurus

“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.

If my content resonates with you, join my free newsletter where I share Life and Business Tips, Vegan Hacks, Holistic Guidance, and more.

Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”