I am engaged, but we are not planning to get married for at least a couple years, for our own financial reasons which I don't feel like explaining. I work in a fairly small and close workplace where people are friendly, and the word Fiancee inevitably elicits the question, "When are you getting married?"

I don't want to explain the financial reasons, and I have never been good at evading a direct question. So does anyone have a reasonable way of getting out of answering what seems like a perfectly reasonable question? I have tried things like, "not right away", or, "we are planning it now". But people who haven't gotten an answer just ask again periodically.

My Supervisor asked and I did not feel like I could evade, so I explained it, and she said that she knew other people in the same situation. But I don't feel like telling everyone a personal answer, and I wish for this question to stop being asked. Is there any way or do I just go on feeling evasive and shameful whenever it comes up? Thank you.

Please Note: I do not feel that this is a duplicate of other questions because in this case it is almost a knee-jerk response for people to ask me this particular question, so I don't feel it is nosy or unprofessional, I just don't want to have it come up.

Is there a simple and polite response, like: "I would rather not explain why it has to be delayed, because I would rather be married now."?

Based on a late answer, I realized that I had not considered that anyone would really want to know, or be likely to want to attend, buy gifts or whatever. I simply don't get involved with people at work except for a face to face, in the moment conversation. I don't much do that with anyone else in my life either. It is now or never, and that almost always means that I have no chosen interactions with people at all. Their perspective of being connected to me is mystifying. I intend to see my Fiancee again. Everyone else might as well have "rolled underneath the sofa". When they are in front of me, their are my whole world though. I heard a Radio Preacher say, "To Jesus, Ministry was the person standing in front of him at the time." That is how I operate, too.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Jun 30 '16 at 1:54

You need to come up with a answer that YOU are comfortable with if this is going to continue to be a issue. Whatever it is keep it simple and consistent. A response to "When are you getting married" of "Meh, we haven't set a date and are happy how we are" is more that sufficient for any casual coworker or boss. If you dont want to provide more information, dont allow yourself to feel pressure to do so. It isn't any of their business!

Good luck and congratulations on your pending nuptials. :)

  • I tried adding my proposed answer to the end of my Question. Thank you for the suggestion. Still wondering if this answer would be seen as rude, evasive, arrogant, weaselly, uncertain, dismissive, unfriendly, unkind, calculated, fearful, or any other negation of the 12 Points of the Boy Scout Law. – user37746 Jun 30 '16 at 2:11

Wow, lots of lies, stories and secret squirrel stuff in the other answers!

This isn't a tough one, simply say something like :

"It's going to take us a couple of years to be able to have the wedding we really want, so we've decided to wait until then, but I'll let you know when we know!"

Tells them without giving anything personal away, and doesn't make them think they're being shut out, so they should stop pestering you.

  • Honestly Dates changes all the time, People call their girlfriend, the Boss, the wife. cant be called lies in my opinion. – Raoul Mensink Jun 30 '16 at 13:14
  • Making up a false date, or calling a fiancé a wife are lies, plain and simple. Given the OP also quotes Jesus, I think the idea of telling lies will be as popular as a dog doo sandwich. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jun 30 '16 at 13:18

Just say neither of you are in a rush, and there's no particular reason. I don't see why anyone would really fire a follow-up question to that.

I'm not engaged, but I've been living with someone for 8 years and we have 2 kids, and I occasionally had people asking me when we'd get married. I simply said neither of us wanted to, for too many reasons to get into. And it's not like I didn't want to talk about it, it's really just that I didn't want to spend the time to talk about it. Or actually simply said neither of us wanted to. Period.


  • Another way around this is to stop using specific words. I stopped saying "partner" and switched to "wife", even though we're not married. No more questions. Bugged me a bit out of principle, but eh, life is too short.
  • Don't mind to tell people to bugger off so much. ;)

Apart from 2 times where the same nosy co-worker came back with a follow-up or a flat-out guilt-trip ("so, when are you going to make an honest lady out of her, eh?"), it always stopped at that. And when the nosy-type fires, just fire back ("so you're saying my partner is not honest?!"). Gets awkward, silence ensues, people move on. It's fine.

Obviously, other evasion tactics are great as well. If you want to evade, I'd look for a way out of the conversation. Any "oh by the way, that makes me think, X, how are things with Y?" But as you say you're not good at that I don't suppose it's your favorite route. Whereas the above recommendations above are not evasive or elusive: you just block the question.

(Surprisingly, it appears that when my partner was using the same approach, people where nosier and trying to find out if I had convinced her to give up marriage or something. Oh well. Guess some things look too unatural to some people, and they've got too much free time on theirs hands.)

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    Well, I was in a small workplace where I liked all those people, even the nosy ones :) And saying "neither of you are in a rush" isn't a lie, as it's apparently exactly what you're doing: taking your time. Maybe not out of desire but out of calculation, but seems fine to me anyways. Also, it will be hard to not be evasive, as you are trying to evade a question! – haylem Jun 28 '16 at 23:27
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    @nocomprende: Ah. Well, like I said, for "newcomers" I'd avoid specific terms. Don't talk about things you don't want people to ask about. For the ones who already know, the question is already up in the air, so you can't really prevent it from coming up, except by making it clear you don't want it to. As you seem really afraid of being (or being perceived as) rude, you could turn it into a bit of a recurring joke. Brush it off lightly. e.g. "Ah ah. Please..." youtube.com/watch?v=A1up3EgAq6E / youtube.com/watch?v=8fhNWNiO8_0 / youtube.com/watch?v=F893q6BXolk – haylem Jun 28 '16 at 23:39
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    If work colleagues are already aware that the OP is engaged, then they can't really change the story now. What they're after is how to evade questions about time frames on when they get married, they can't suddenly say "Oh no, we're not engaged now". – Jane S Jun 28 '16 at 23:41
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    @JaneS: I don't think I suggested that at any time though. – haylem Jun 28 '16 at 23:42
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    Another way around this is to stop using specific words. I stopped saying "partner" and switched to "wife", even though we're not married. No more questions. Bugged me a bit out of principle, but eh, life is too short. This bit comes across as that to me, but it could just be how I interpreted it :) – Jane S Jun 28 '16 at 23:44

I generally like poking fun of people who are being too nosy or make them feel bad.

When are we getting married?

  • You offering to chip in?
  • May 28, 2019 - pick a random date in the future. Make up a story. Your astrologist told you that date was good luck.
  • Not sure. We have both been so frisky since engagement I am afraid to follow through.
  • Our accountant said we would lose money the next few years if we got married. So unless someone is willing to make up the difference we are cool the way we are.

One option is to set a date 2-3 years in the future and just work from that. It doesn't have to be really, truly honestly the date you're committed to, but it would probably be convenient if it was a probable one. At least some of your coworkers are probably hoping for invites and want to know how long until they have to buy gifts and so on.

A variant of that would be "not for at least a year", which addresses the planning question and might help people who are genuinely wanting to plan/help. If you're definitely not intending to invite anyone from work, you could say that. People may be offended, even if you're shocked that they might be.

Another option is to be honest, but limited "when we can afford to". It's basically what you're doing now, but phrased in a more closed way. I suspect you could work up a series of open vs closed answers that you could run through. I had close friends at school who got married with just their parents invited (not even siblings!) and some people were surprised... I was surprised that anyone who knew them was surprised (I hope that makes sense).

In my experience you really do just have to live with most of those ok-but-tedious questions. I've been in my current role for more than three years now and I still get "when will you buy a car" questions from my car-dependent coworkers (answer: "still never"). It's just part of the background noise, and it seems to be a combination of most people having a fairly limited variation in their friendship circles and limited energy to track things like this. If 99% of the people you all know are either married, unmarried or "planning the wedding", the category "planning the wedding" is likely to be homogenised in people's minds and their reactions will likely be based 99% on their experience, and 1% on listening to you specifically.

  • Right, like the Public vs Private Answers idea in The Right Stuff. I need a good Public Answer to this question. I suppose I could just give the anticipated date, over two years in the future, but then the next question would probably be, "Why are you waiting so long?" and I would be back in the soup again. Another Public Answer... I had never considered that people would want to attend, buy gifts etc. I would simply never think of that being involved with people I work with. The whole idea that anyone is interested is mind-boggling to me. I care about them, but not outside of work. – user37746 Jun 30 '16 at 2:18
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    Do you have any acceptable excuses you can use? "at the next Mars conjunction" "my cousin is coming over from Estonia then", "our niece will be old enough to be a bridesmaid then", whatever works. You're right that it's all about "public reasons", and what you're comfortable with. – Móż Jun 30 '16 at 2:26
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    In Australia, especially with weddings involving ethnically Asian Australians, it's fairly common to have very wide invites at least to the reception and there's an expectation that guests will gift enough cash to cover the reception cost. My boss went to the wedding and reception of one of the junior staff, for example, and she invited all of us. So the custom at least exists. We get 5-10 of those a year from people we kinda vaguely know, at the level of "facebook friends". – Móż Jun 30 '16 at 2:28
  • I'm not on Facebook. I guess that says it all, doesn't it? Why anyone would even care about my wedding, or anything else in my life is obscure to me. I was surprised when they wanted to visit me in the hospital, or bring food after I went home. I have no reference for this sort of behavior. What did I do to deserve that? Are they expecting the same from me? Confounding. – user37746 Jun 30 '16 at 2:34
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    I think you should watch for signs that you're expected to reciprocate that kind of caring behaviour, as being "the one who doesn't" could make work relationships difficult. I've had that experience, because I'm very much at the level of "it took 30 years but my mother seems to have finally stopped sending me birthday presents"... having co-workers hold grudges because I didn't go along with the workplace chorus of "happy birthday" was weird. – Móż Jun 30 '16 at 2:40

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