Questions about getting married, getting a “real” job, or how the divorce is going can be awkward at family gatherings. It’s helpful to keep in mind that many relatives are truly concerned and simply want what’s best for you. Others might simply be trying to make conversation and to be considerate rather than intrusive.
Humor is a great way to deflect such prying questions. If asked about something awkward, keep a positive, light-hearted attitude. If you show that you feel uncomfortable or upset, you simply draw attention to yourself and to the topic.
If someone asks about your divorce status or financial situation, you could answer the question in a generality as Emerson would: ‘Money often costs too much.’”
Steer the conversation in the direction of their lives: “Aw, that’s not so interesting. What’s going on in your life?”
Try the quizzical eyebrow with a smile that says, “You can’t think of anything else to talk about? Come on now.”
If you know that someone is going to ask you when you are finally going to have children or some other unwelcome question, you might approach that person first in private, and say something like, “I know you want us to have children, but we haven’t made that decision yet. Let’s not bring it up at dinner. Thanks.”
by Alison Poulsen, PhD