Thanksgiving is coming up fast. And as you're navigating packed airports and hours-long traffic jams, packing for unpredictable weather, and maybe deciding which pie to pick up on the way to appease picky eaters, you should probably spend a minute or two steeling yourself for awkward dinner table conversation.
For some reason, holidays have a way of bringing out the underlying tension in even the most Walton-esque families. Maybe it’s because conversation runs short when you’re thrown together with seldom-seen loved ones for an entire day and evening, or maybe it’s because some people are just terrible at small talk. But no matter what the reason, be prepared to answer at least one uncomfortable question.
If you’re single, you’ll probably be asked why. If you’re coupled, you’ll probably be asked when you plan on tying the knot. And if you’re married, you’ll probably have to field the question of when you’ll be expecting that first baby.[slideshow:
It’s tempting to blow off these questions with a snide remark or an epic eye roll, but while you’re within your rights to take offense at an insensitive question, meeting inappropriate comments with hostility will most likely lead to conflict and even more unpleasant conversation.
One tried and true method for dealing with overly curious family members is to smile and change the subject. Everyone likes to talk about their children and their pets, and how much they’re dreading holiday shopping, so those topics are generally safe. And if you get the rare relative that won’t take a hint and insists on offering unsolicited advice about your love life or career, there are five magic words that can shut down nearly any uncomfortable conversation.
“I’ll take that into consideration.”
It’s honestly one of the most perfect phrases in the English language. There’s absolutely no reason for your relative to keep talking after that. You’ve acknowledged the validity of his or her opinion and even indicated that you might come to agree, given time. Try it this Thanksgiving and watch how quickly the subject changes from the inadvisability of your new haircut to something completely benign.
Of course, “Ill take that into consideration” doesn’t work in every scenario. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top uncomfortable holiday questions with a little advice for how to deal.
“Are You Seeing Anyone?”
The holidays can be the absolute worst time to be single, what with endless holiday parties at which hosts hound you for the name of your plus-one and well-meaning family members who can’t stop trying to comfort you, as if being single were some kind of terminal disease. If you don’t feel like answering, the famous Ann Landers staple, “Why do you ask?” is the best way to shut this question down.
“But Don’t You Want Kids?”
If you haven’t managed to procreate by the time you hit your late twenties, some people start to wonder if you’re defective. Just smile and say you’re more afraid of missing your chance to see Micronesia.