How to deflect people who try to extort information from me?

People ask me questions relating to my uni course, life at home, where my parents are from, do I own my house and have discussions regarding politics and health issues in the staff canteen. They often will ask a question in public regarding something I would consider my business and confidential. My problem is, I don’t know how to deflect them! I know that they’re asking out of nosiness and to fuel their gossips. I now avoid tea breaks and lunches just to avoid sitting with my team. I am given the third degree as to why I’m not taking lunch or tea with them, whereas other people on my team do not get asked such questions when they want to have lunch elsewhere or skip it entirely. Please tell me what works to make all of this stop?

  • It's not easy - I feel the same way. I'm recently diagnosed after decades of masking and only now do I realise how I played along at this game but never liked it (I knew that part!). Nowadays when people ask me e.g. if I had a good weekend I say things like "I can't remember now!" (which is often true) or "Yes, thanks" (leave off the expected "How about you?"). The trick is to avoid providing hooks for the other person to come back on. It might not do you any good in terms of other people's opinions of you, but it does work (I'm almost past caring now!).

  • Just like I don't worry about trying to be interesting or cool any more so I either have lunch on my own saying I'm not hungry at the same time as the others, or from time to time I join them and just say the minimum. Usually there is someone else who doesn't say that much... I try to copy them without it being obvious.

    Maybe practise a few phrases about your past if you don't want people digging there. I'm awful at asking questions, really awful, but there's an opportunity to turn the same question back in those lunch time type chats.

    Sometimes the questions people ask reveal what they themselves would like to talk about. I would also like to hear others' tips on surviving lunch break! 

  • Some people are good at deflecting - I worked with a guy for 20 years - all I know about him is his name and that he was into motor racing and Buffy the Vampire Hunter - and that's it!

  • I guess we on the spectrum have a tendancy to take things (including questions) literally, but most chit chat is just chit chat and it's just different people trying to get by for half an hour. 

    My only good trick is to try and escape being stuck in an awkward 1:1, so if we are in a group I will ask something like "so who is doing something interesting this weekend?" to the group -  and hope that the talkative ones or those with something interesting to say will do their thing.