I love, love, love the holidays – but sometimes they drive me to drink.
I’m sure you’re aware of this, but the holidays have begun. Starbucks just released their holidays cups (or, did they?), my email is full of holiday promotions and the mall is basically completely decorated for Christmas. It’s the first week in November. My husband will spend the next three weeks encouraging us to “remember the bird”.
Which, is a good point. That said, I’m ready to dive into the holiday spirit (and maybe get some snow? This warm weather is killing me). Regardless , the holidays are an amazing time of year. We get to spend so much time with our friends and family, it’a amazing to be surrounded with such caring people. Of course, there are some down sides, like the nosy questions single women deal with.
You know the kind, the ones that can literally drive you to drink. I get it, before I got married I hated being asked if my now-husband-then-boyfriend was going to propose around Christmas, after all I had no idea. While that’s not an issue I have to deal with these days, I have a new set of personal questions: The baby questions.
In the holiday spirit, I’ve decided to parallel the two issues. This is in part because it sounds fun and in part because I want my single friends to know they aren’t alone, we all get asked super personal questions during the holidays. That’s actually the nice way of putting it, I actually want my single friends to know that I don’t feel sorry for them because they aren’t the only ones that deal with nosy questions. Sorry single friends.
The Question You Can’t Answer
During the holidays we all get together, and ask each other a bunch of questions. What’s new? How’s work? How about them Broncos? Of course, there are also those classic, nosy questions that always seem to get asked around the holidays. These are the questions that not only do you not want to answer, you probably can’t. While the questions themselves are different, we all (as in most twenty to thirty something women) seem to get asked these questions that we just can’t answer.
The Single Version: When are you going to settle down?
Is settling down something that people actually plan in advance? Well, I’ll probably settle down in July, but it might not be until August. In my experience you “settle down” after you meet the right person, which is completely unpredictable and makes this question impossible to answer. Instead, the question seems to imply that you should settle down, which can come across as an insult to your current lifestyle. Thanks, Aunt Mildred.
The Boyfriend Version: So, when is he going to propose?
Is it just me or does everyone (myself included) always start asking this question with a long, drawn out “soooooo”? Anyways, this is a silly question. You probably have no idea when you boyfriend is going to propose, which makes it impossible to answer. That’s a great question Aunt Mildred, if you find out please let me know. Instead, the question just comes across as a rude reminder that he hasn’t proposed yet.
The Married Version: When you are going to start trying to have a baby?
This is also a silly question. We all know that most women aren’t going to share this information until they have actually conceived and are a few months along, in which case they will tell you. Until then it’s hush-hush, which makes it unlikely that anyone even considering a pregnancy would give an honest answer to this question. Well Aunt Mildred, right now we just like to practice trying, which we do all of the time. Instead, the question either serves as a harsh reminder that you’re not pregnant yet, or it implies that you should be trying now, which can come across as an insult to your current lifestyle.
The Question You Can Answer
Now, I am nosy and I do understand why we ask these questions, so lets look at if from the other side for a second. If you simply cannot resist, there is are better ways to ask the same question. If you are the one being asked one of the questions you can’t answer, I recommend that you pretend you were asked one of these question instead.
The Single Version: What’s new in your life?
This provides an excellent opportunity for the person you’re asking to share any information they want, and it will likely answer your question indirectly. Well, I just met someone (and I’m telling you this because I really like them). Well, I’m actually planning a trip to Europe with my girl friends (so ask about my travel plans not my love life). Well, I’ve been really busy with work (so I don’t have time to try and meet someone right now).
The Boyfriend Version: How is [insert significant other’s name here]?
This is basically asking how their relationship is going, without making it awkward if they don’t want to share. If the person you’re asking wants to share their relationship plans, this is a great way to provide them the opening. Oh he’s great, we actually decided we’re going to move in together this year, it seems like the logical next step. If they don’t want to share, then they can still answer the question that was actually asked without it being awkward. Oh he’s great, he just got a promotion at work that he’s really excited about it.
The Married Version: Do you have any plans for this upcoming year?
Just like the single version, this question also provides an excellent opportunity for the person you’re asking to share as much or as little as they want, and their answer may indirectly answer your question. We’re planning a big trip to wine country for the fall (so we’re not planning on being knocked up this fall). We’re looking at moving into a bigger house (because we’re planning to out grow this one).
If you’re dying to know about a potential baby, you can ask if they want to have kids. While this is still a personal question (so tread lightly), it does avoid the nitty-gritty issues of family planning, fertility and their sex life. However before you ask if someone wants kids, it’s important to consider all the possible responses they might give – such as infertility, financial issues or simply being disgusted by people with children (it happens). There are some things you can’t un-know, and there can consequences to that knowledge.
The Benefit of Questions
This is all well and good, but it is important to keep in all in perspective. Most people only ask questions (good or bad) because they are interested in your life, which is something to be grateful for. If someone does ask a question you can’t – or don’t want to – answer, simply brush it off. While they could be trying to be mean on purpose, it’s safer (and less stressful) to simply assume they are curious because they care about you.
What questions do you all hate being asked at holidays? How do you respond?