How to Successfully Deal With Difficult Questions From Relatives


Cecilia Chepkoech

It’s that time of year again! All the holly jolly signs point to it with Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations already hoisted up in every Walmart, Target and even your local grocery stores. This time of year also indicates the arrival of family members we see twice a year who fill our holidays with annoying questions about our love life and our fashion choices. Let these clap backs give you the defiant escape you have been longing for and hopefully the time you wasted trying to explain yourselves to them.

THE CLASSIC “do you have a boyfriend?”

A question as old as time, for those in relationships it’s an excuse to rant about their boyfriend. But for those of us who are single, it is a painful “no I’m just focusing on myself,” even though you have apparently been focusing on yourself for four years or more. A good way to avoid this inevitable question, which is only asked for good gossiping material between the family, is to laugh uncontrollably and walk away. Not only will they be shocked, but they will be too scared to ask again.

“How Is School Going?”

This question is often brought up in times of awkward seat placement in which you are unfortunately sat next to an elusive aunt and uncle whom you haven’t seen in a while. A good response to this question is “fine,” simply fine. This kills off every other source of conversation they were seeking with that statement.

“When are you getting married?”

Be prepared for this question around the age of fifteen (yes, this is absurd), when older family members, probably your grandmother, maybe your grandmother, actually most definitely your grandmother, wine in hand, smile on her sweet butterscotch candy handling face comes up to you oh so nicely and asks “when are you getting married?” A good response to this is “don’t you think I am a little too young? Times have changed you know?” It will probably earn you a lecture about respecting your elders, but you have evaded the question for another year.

“But what about that boy you have been talking about? What’s his name?”

Never make the mistake of mentioning a boy’s or girl’s name to your family members; this incident could have happened years ago, but like the Ghost of Christmas past, it will always come back to haunt you. There is always that one family member who is going to be way too interested in your love life, maybe because his or her’s is falling apart, maybe it’s the aforementioned family gossip material, but either way the question is still going to find a way to pop up. Family members are way too skilled in finding personal information.One moment you could be talking about pumpkin pie, and the next you’re spilling secrets about the guy or girl in your math class. The best way to cancel this question is to act as if you have never heard the name before, as if the family member is making up things. It’s a sure way.

“What are your plans after graduation?”

This is a dreaded question that gets brought up way too often by family members, and to make it worse it is one of those things everyone has an opinion on, though not being entitled to one. Even if you know exactly what you want to do in the future, you will still have to endure the long conversations of advice given to you by family members (some of whom are not even happy with their lives and drown their sorrows in wine). A great response to this question is “I’m going to…” then keep on rambling giving unnecessary information and completely dominate the conversation not giving them the opportunity to talk. Interrupt them every time they speak until they give up and regret asking the question.

“Why are you wearing that? It implies things about you.” Not only do we have a dress code at school, but during the holidays it seems like we have one at our own home. Our old school relatives, who are more interested in modesty than keeping up with the trends, love making suggestions about our clothing. According to their logic, the shorter my skirt the lower my IQ, or even worse, the lower my standards are about things. A good reply to a statement like this “sorry I didn’t realize how appealing shoulders are, my bad.” To add more effect, storm off.

There are a few certainties this holiday season. You will most certainly enjoy spending time with friends and family, and you will most certainly enjoy all of the food you will be eating. But as we know, the good comes with the bad. Hopefully these full-proof strategies will help you make it through the family get-togethers without head butting any of your relatives.