Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holiday Season-Responses to Uncomfortable Questions

Now that we're in the throes of the holiday season, young adults everywhere are finding that their family asks uncomfortable questions.  Careers, love lives, politics, religious beliefs-it feels like sometimes, everyone wants to know your private business and share their opinion of your life with you.  The kicker? They don't actually want to know your private business but, when you don't see people for a long time, they're unsure of what to ask you. How do you handle this?  Well, here's a little cheat sheet.

Question: So, what are you going to do with that degree/what's your dream job?
Answer: Well, I'm currently doing X, I'd like to do 2X in the future, but I'm happy where I am/am currently looking at X and I'll share more when I have news. So, how about that bean dip?

Question: How's your job search? You still haven't found a job? You need to do XYZ, etc.
Answer: Well, it's tough out there, but I'm still working hard on it. I'll share news when I have some.  By the way, have you tried the gravy?

Question: Are you seeing anyone? How's your dating life? (If single) When are you getting married/starting a family? (If coupled)
Answer: Well, I'll share news when I have it!  (Now, if you really want to shut that whole thing down, put on a sweet, pious look and say, "Well, it's really up to God!" Of course, that only works if your family isn't religious and you are).

Question: What do you think of the election/Did you support the President? You know he's socialist, etc, right? Or, you know all Republicans think X, right?
Answer: I understand why you might feel that way but I know politics can divide during a time when we're supposed to be united.  I'm happy to discuss my views with you more at another time (if you feel up to it and feel that they're looking for an honest dialogue, rather than a fight). Anyway, my mom makes the best cranberry sauce!

The key to surviving the holiday season is to remember that your relatives do love you and are probably just trying to understand more about you.  Make sure that you at least talk about something you're excited about-whether you've taken up a new hobby, found a great community, etc.  The answers I've given are for those topics that can truly be dicey, though sometimes, people don't really understand that they're being inappropriate. It's often hard to know what to talk about when you don't see someone more than twice a year, especially if you have a tight knit family, though I can speak from experience when I say that it's also hard to not take certain questions personally.

At the end of the day, if you have a home to come home to, food in your stomach, people who love you and others, you're more privileged than most of the world.  Be grateful if the most trouble you have with you family are annoying questions. With that, I wish you a happy and warm holiday season. 

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