“Can I ask you a personal question?”
I hate when people say this. Because you know what’s coming — a socially inappropriate, irrelevant question about your age, your income, your marital status, your ethnicity, or your personal appearance — and the question-asker knows this, and is basically asking your permission to be let off the hook for their rudeness.
It’s also a question without a free choice, because either you say “yes” (and validate the inappropriate follow-up question) or you say “no” (and then YOU become the impolite one.)
So there’s a weird awkward pause while you try to figure out how to respond, and then you finally give up and say “…sure” because it seems easier, and then you have to deal with several layers of increasingly inappropriate follow-up questions.
Next time someone asks me “Can I ask you a personal question?” I’m just going to say, “Only if I can ask you one too.”