Family Members

It’s that time of the year again. Families will gather for holiday festivities, share stories, eat delicious food, exchange presents, and make memories. But there’s bound to be one relative who will ask multiple questions about your personal life. “Are you dating anyone?” “Are you going to have kids soon?” “Why aren’t you married yet?”

As many can relate, it’s not fun to be on the receiving end of these intrusive questions. Thankfully, there are ways to answer these personal questions. You just have to be brave.

Be Prepared

If you know a family member will ask you personal questions, be prepared with well-rehearsed responses. According to Tara Griffith, therapist and founder of Wellspace SF, if you’re expecting someone to ask you about your recent breakup, be prepared with a short, sweet, and to-the-point response.

“Say something like, ‘Yes, the breakup was hard, but I think it was for the best and I’m in a better place because of it,’” Griffith advises. “Then say, ‘Speaking of better place, tell me about your new house!”

Turn the conversation around to your family member and get the hot topic off of you.

Don’t Tell The Whole Story

It’s okay not to tell everyone the whole story of what happened. You don’t have to discuss all of the details about your recent breakup or being fired from your job.

“If you know you’re going to get teary or feel uncomfortable, you might as well be honest about the topic, without going into a lot of detail,” said etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.

Avoid The Topic

If you don’t want to talk about your personal life, who says you have to at the holiday dinners? Social psychologist Susan Newman said, “You’re allowed to say, ‘Thank you for asking, but I don’t feel like talking about it tonight’ or, ‘Oh, it’s a long story. We can discuss at another time.”

Your family is concerned about you. That’s why they may ask these personal questions. But if you acknowledge their concern or interest while leaving a broad response, it satisfies both parties.

Leave the conversation and focus on what’s important: spending time with your family.