annoying uncleThe holidays bring family together and with that comes all those annoying and awkward questions from people you don’t see very often: Are you dating anyone?  When are you going to get a real job?  Planning on having kids anytime soon?

Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says although it can be irritating and uncomfortable, it’s easy to navigate with a little preparation.

Jacqueline’s advice on how to handle these questions:

–       Are you dating anyone?  This one is bound to come up if you’re single. If you don’t want to get into detail, simply say, “I am dating several people right now,” or “No one special at the moment.”  If you are uncomfortable discussing it, you can change the subject or add humor. Never get combative as satisfying as that might be.

–          When are you moving back home? Instead of saying “never”–if that’s the way you feel–answer by listing all the reasons you love the place you’re currently living. Is it the best place for your job market? Does it have a great school system? Help others understand what attracts you to the place you’re at now, instead of listing all the reasons you don’t want to move back. If you think you could move back eventually, simply say, “Well I haven’t decided yet, I’m still working out my plan.”

–          Are you planning on having kids anytime soon?  If kids aren’t in the cards yet, simply say, “Nope, not yet.” If you want to have a little fun with grandma on this one, you can say, “We are just busy practicing right now.” It might make your inquisitor blush, but you’re off the hook.

–          When are you getting a real job?  You can simply say, “I do have a real job.”  But if you’d rather not be so direct, say, “I am doing what I love, and you know what they say, ‘when you do what you love, the money will follow.’”

–          You still don’t eat meat?  No matter how many times you’ve told your family you are a vegetarian, someone will make sure to ask you why you’re not eating any of the holiday turkey. Simply say, “I am still eating my veggies.”

–          So what do you think of that Obama? The best answer here is, “So what about him? What are your thoughts?”  The idea is to throw the ball back in their court. Of course you’ll have to listen to them rant about their own opinions, but it beats what’s to come if there is a difference of opinion.


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