Your Official Guide for Uncomfortable Family Questions

Noemi J. Mullins

The end of the year is finally here when we can look forward to cherished moments, such as home-baked holiday treats and timeless family customs. We also anticipate gift-giving circles. The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the joyous atmosphere. But it’s also a time when many people ask you questions about yourself. We don’t want to answer all of them if we are honest. The worst questions are “How is your relationship?” “When are you and your partner going to have children?” or “What does your company do?”

We can offer some advice on how to handle these awkward questions at family gatherings. Here’s our guide to awkward questions during family gatherings.

Take nothing personally

You may find that your loved ones ask you a question in an unintentional way. This is the perfect opportunity to inform them about your current situation, your beliefs, or your dreams. If someone asks you a question about your work or the way you earn money that makes it sound like they’re underestimating how important your job is, you could respond with something like, “Thank you for asking, but that’s just not what I do.” I am [insert title], and I work in [overview role]. “I love what I’m doing!” You could even show them some samples of your work or tell them about career successes that you have experienced this year. It would be best if you remembered that your family members care about you, and they probably want to learn more about your life. They will appreciate it if you open up and don’t get annoyed at them for not knowing.

Please switch to a lighter topic.

Does it seem impossible to avoid discussing serious issues like religion and politics at family gatherings or events? It can be frustrating to have to deal with this, but you shouldn’t feel like everyone is on the same page. You didn’t go to the party to get everyone’s approval. You can tell a family person that you appreciate their interest in your perspective on a topic, but you don’t wish to discuss it tonight. You can say, “I’m more interested in ….” to change the topic. Ask them about their plans or a recent trip.

Do not disclose any information that you do not want to.

You can avoid a difficult conversation by not giving out too much information. If a family member asked you about your relationship with an ex, then you could give an ambiguous answer like, “It didn’t work out, but It’s for the better!” Or, if someone asks why you haven’t graduated yet, you could respond with something funny, like, “I’m trying to get my money’s worth!”

Get support in advance.

It isn’t very good to feel like your family is ganging up on you. Keep a friend nearby to keep the conversation moving. You can always count on a brother or cousin. You can ask your mother to support a particular topic off-limits before the party. You can prepare them by telling them, “I’m afraid [insert subject] will come up.” Can you help me [divert or support me during the conversation] if it happens?

Prepare yourself with these suggestions for entertainment.

You can keep the conversation going by suggesting some activities that everyone will enjoy. You don’t have to ask each other intense questions about your life in order to keep the family entertained. Playing a game together, going through old photos, or watching videos are all great ways. It’s much more entertaining than explaining that you haven’t yet found a job or how your dating app has been going.

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