We all love our families. But for most of us, we often dread awkward questions at family reunions because it makes us feel cornered. What’s worse is that it could lead to upsetting critiques and judgmental reactions from our relatives.
As the holiday season is drawing near, many of us are wondering how to face these questions, especially if our lives are not as smooth sailing as it should be.
I’ve compiled a list of some really popular awkward questions that are often asked at family gatherings. Beneath the list of questions, I’ve also written a fun way to answer these questions without offending anybody or feeling trapped.
Here goes nothing:-
The 16 Most Dreaded Questions at Family Reunions – and how to face them!
1. What are your plans in life?
If you are currently have a stable job or business with a stable income and married with kids, then you would not have much problem answering this question. A really easy way to avoid relatives from probing further into your private life is to just tell them something general like – “I plan to expand my business”, “I dream of climbing the corporate ladder” or “I plan to travel to more countries next year”.
But if you don’t have a stable career, can’t earn enough money, still single and searching for a life partner or married without kids, this question could be quite tricky. The best way to answer this question without being asked further questions could be – “I plan to get a better job”, “Get settled down and have kids” (this is what the relatives want to hear. It should shut them up. Hehe), “I want to work hard, buy a house and have kids” (also something they would want to hear!). If you don’t like to answer in detail, just say “Plans? What plans? I don’t plan my life”. That’s another great response!
2. When are you getting married?
If you are still single, then you could answer – “Married? I’m still searching. Maybe I should try cyber dating.” (it’s true, many couples find their partners online and it’s successful nowadays!). You could end that answer with a laugh.
If you have been seeing someone, but do not have any plans to get married yet, say something general like – “Once we are ready, we will get married. Don’t worry. We won’t forget to send you an invitation!”. I can guarantee you that your relative will be smiling from cheek to cheek after hearing this response because it shows that you are already thinking of inviting him or her to your wedding!
3. When are you having kids?
It can be quite frustrating when you are constantly asked when you are having kids when you can’t really plan to have kids – yet! So the best thing to do before you start showing an angry face is just to smile and say – “When the timing is right, we will have as many kids as we want.”
4. When are you having more kids?
This is not really an annoying question if you are already planning to have more kids. If you already have a handful on your shoulders, you should shrug and say “I think X (amount) of kids is already enough to keep me busy. Who needs more kids when these angels are already completing my life?” This will put a smile on your relative’s face because it shows that you are a good parent that loves your kids.
5. How much money do you and your partner earn? You should work more and make more money!
Okay. Regardless whether you are rich or poor, you wouldn’t want people to know exactly how much you earn, right? So my advice to you is to say something general like – “We earn enough to get by. There’s no need to work too hard for the extra amount of money. We won’t have the time to enjoy it anyway!” That’s kind of like turning the question into a joke, really. But it works!
6. When are you buying a house?
Whether you are planning to buy a house or not, you probably won’t want people to know your personal plans. So to answer this question, you could say “I haven’t really thought about buying a house. Maybe I should start searching soon.” That makes you sound like you are taking the matter seriously but on the other hand, it could also be a joke. So your relatives will be confused and would leave you alone. Great!
7. How’s the job hunting going? Still no job?
Okay. If you are out of a job and still looking for a job, you can say something general like – “The job hunting is good (something positive). Still searching though”.
8. Why can’t you get a job? Not trying hard enough?
This would be a follow-up question if your job hunting hasn’t landed you a job. To answer this difficult question, you could say – “I really don’t know. I’m absolutely trying very hard to get a job. Maybe I should seek expert advice!”. This would make them avoid making useless comments and suggestions that could make you feel worse, because it shows that you already have a solution – the ‘expert advice’!
9. How is college? How many As did you get for your exams?
If you are a high achiever and would like to earn some bragging rights to announce how many As you got for your exams, then it’s your time to shine! Tell them how many As you got.
But if you dropped out of college or did not do so well for your exams, you could say something like – “I’ve decided to look for a better course that would give me greater career opportunities” or “I did quite well in my exams (lie). I’m proud of my achievements”. Both answers sound positive. It’ll surely give a great impression to your relatives.
10. What are your plans after college? What job do you want to get?
Okay. If you look at this question in another way, it is actually quite easy to answer. Just list down a number of job possibilities that are related to the course you are studying. If you have no clue, just read your college brochure!
11. Have you graduated? Why didn’t you study further?
If you have graduated, say ‘Yes’. If you dropped out, just say ‘No.” For the studying further question, just say “I’m still looking for further study options”. Studying doesn’t necessarily mean going to University and getting a qualification. I could even mean searching the internet to get further knowledge in your area of interest. So, you are being truthful to your relatives in saying this.
12. How did you two meet? How did he propose to you?
Simple. Just tell them the truth – “Mutual friend”, “Online” or “We bumped into each other”. If you don’t want to share with them how he proposed to you, they’ll totally understand it if you say, “How he proposed to me is a secret”. It makes it sound mysterious and totally romantic! They’ll envy you to bits.
13. Do you have a boyfriend? Why not? Too choosy?
This can be very annoying if you have been genuinely searching for a boyfriend but haven’t found the right catch. To answer this without punching their faces, you should just smile and say – “I still don’t have one. Do you have anyone to introduce to me?” That will make them feel guilty and move on to the next topic!
14. Why are you so fat now? The food must be good where you are.
Just turn this into a joke. Say – “I guess it’s because I’m much more prosperous than before. I’ve been spending too much on all the good food lately. That’s why I’m big”. Then wink at them!
15. Oh, poor thing. You look so skinny. Is something wrong? Are you sure?
Just make something up like – “Don’t know what could it be. I’m eating so much every day. Maybe I have worms in my tummy. What do you think?” Then, you should look seriously at them like you really meant what you said!
16. How old are you again?
If you don’t mind telling your age, then just tell them. If you want to hide your age, you can make up something like “12 years young!”. Then they’ll get the hint to stop asking.
Family reunions could be dreadful at times with all these awkward questions. But with a little bit of creativity, you’ll be able to get yourself out of a sticky situation in no time!
I hope you found my answers to the most common awkward questions at family reunions helpful. What are some of the tough questions asked at your family gathering? How did you deal with them?