Getting Nagged? 5 Graceful Rebuttals
Here’s how to deal with those uncomfortable questions this holiday season.
Don’t panic. Unlike your grandmother at Christmas dinner, we’re not here to probe into your romantic life with a dozen intrusive relationship questions like the ones below. We’re here to help you manage these invasive queries without letting them spiral into a long and frustrating conversation.
The trouble with relationship questions is that, in most cases, there’s no simple answer. They come loaded with pressure for you to take action on the subject. Meddlesome as it may appear, these questions are often delivered by close friends and family members with good intentions. The thing to keep in mind is that their idea of the ‘right’ choices for you is not necessarily what will actually make you happy.
The common denominator for responses to these questions is that they usually don’t give the asker the reply that they want to hear. Why? Because they asked the question mostly to validate their choices, not yours. If you want to articulate your thoughts about the subject, fine. But remember, you’re not responding to affirm their choices. You’re responding to assert your choices.
Here are some of the most common intrusive relationship questions, along with their responses that will get you out of the hot seat:
Question #1: “When are you getting engaged/married?”
Translation: You’ve been together long enough. You should get married already.
So you’ve been cohabiting with your boyfriend for about years. Things are working out just fine and you’re both enjoying the setup. Then your glib sister comes for a visit and drops the bomb asks your bf this question. Actually, you’re thinking about it too, but you’re waiting for him to propose — of his own will… Awkward!
Instead of interjecting a sigh or a hasty “no plans yet”, try to answer the question with a witty retort: “Awww, it’s sweet that you want us to be happy. I’m sure he’ll ask when he’s ready.”
If you want to sound a little wiser, you can explicate by saying something like, “Marriage is a very important decision. We want to think it through.” Not only will the asker shut up to contemplate the question herself, she will see you as a sensible person.
Question #2: “When will you have children?”
Translation: You should have children already so you can become a “happy” family.
Whether you and your husband can’t decide on having dogs instead of babies or you’re trying really hard to conceive, getting asked about the absence of a child in your married life is vexing. Society always looks at childless couples as incomplete. And for this reason, most people are excited for you to have a baby in order to become a “real” family.
If you’re trying to conceive, say “We’re trying”. If you are planning on having kids but not at the immediate future, just say “We need more time as a couple. We want to be ready when we have babies”. If you want to have a more stable life before having children, respond something like “Not until I get my degree” or “Not until John gets a promotion”. If you don’t feel like discussing things, just smile and answer “If you stop asking, you’ll be the first person to know”.
If you and your partner plan on not having kids at all, better tell them directly. This way, they’ll stop asking and they won’t be given false hope (especially if the “they” are your parents.) If you need more reasons not to have kids, check out 8 reasons not to have kids.