How to Survive the Dreaded Questions During the Holidays

How to Survive the Dreaded Questions During the Holidays
photo: Stefan Baudy, Creative Commons
photo: Stefan Baudy, Creative Commons

We’ve all been there.

You get to Thanksgiving dinner and that relative you rarely see asks, “Are you dating anybody?” Or, if you are recently married, “When will you guys have a baby?” Or, my favorite question after graduating from college, “Have you found a job yet?”

The list of these notorious, oh-so-fun questions goes on and on.

Sure, we all love our families. However, the holidays can bring on some uncomfortable conversations on topics that we generally like to avoid. Instead of skipping out on the holidays all together, here are some ideas for keeping yourself sane while answering some of those exasperating questions.

1. Set your expectations accordingly.

If you are picturing a holiday dinner straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, you might be setting your expectations too high. Know your family, and know what you are getting yourself into. Accept situations as they come and you will be far less disappointed.

2. Go prepared.

Prepare answers to the questions that you might be dreading. If you are single, go in expecting someone to ask if you are seeing anyone and prepare an answer. You can come up with a multitude of reasons as to why you might not be dating someone: “I’ve really thrown myself into work recently and haven’t had much time to date.” Or it can be as simple as “I haven’t found someone that I am interested in.” If you are assertive with your answer, your sweet and inquisitive aunt might get the hint to move onto another topic.

3. Have a goal that you are working toward to talk about.

If you have something that you are working toward, you will have the perfect topic to bring up when asked questions that you aren’t very excited to answer. For instance, if you are training for a half-marathon, redirect the conversation to your time-consuming training regimen when asked if you are seeing someone.

It also doesn’t have to be that extreme. Other examples of goals to bring up include: working toward a promotion at work, decorating your home, reading a book series, etc.

Most importantly, the holidays only come around a few times a year. Enjoy yourself and be proud of where you are in YOUR life.

Happy Holidays!

Amanda Dempsey, LAMFT


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