Singles rarely have to worry about invasive relationship questions as often as they do around the holidays. With all of the family togetherness, conversations invariably turn to our love lives–or lack thereof. Blame it on nosiness or a lack of other conversation topics, but it’s annoying for many singles.
There’s a tension here, too, though. We want our families to care about us, to take interest in our lives. We also don’t want them to have to walk on eggshells around us worrying that if they mention our dating lives, we’re going to go off. Some questions are innocent enough, but a barrage of constant inquiries and a double team effort from your grandmother and aunt are too much.
So how do we handle it and not cause an awkward scene in the middle of our parents’ living room?
SingleRoots Writers Say…
For wise counsel, we asked some of our SingleRoots alumni writers to weigh in on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“I think it’s important to check your emotions before you enter any family gathering. Figure out where you are and if things are going to get on your nerves more quickly than normal. If that’s the case, remind yourself to not get so easily annoyed by inquiries about your relationships. However, if it is brought up and it won’t seem to die with a simple answer or two, then it’s okay to give a more firm response letting your family member(s) know your heart. Some of them have never considered that singleness isn’t something to be cured. If you are emotionally capable of explaining that without tears or raising your voice, then it’s an opportunity to enlighten them. However, if discussing it is going to break your emotional dam, then maybe politely find a way to change the subject, leave the room, or stuff your mouth with food while you gather your composure. Holidays are hard enough without adding fuel to the fire.”
:: Anna Beth Lee, author of Online Dating Experiment :: 3 Sites, 3 Months, 1 Person
“I found it was best to be honest, but careful. Some family members are just nosy and they aren’t owed any explanation about your love life. The ones who do care, feel free to share your own feelings regarding how difficult singleness can be, but be prepared to hear how hard marriage is from well-meaning-married-forever relatives. Ask for prayer from fellow believers and share with them the things that you are doing as a single that excite you.”
:: Brooke Corcoran, author of What a Difference a Decade Makes: Thoughts on Waiting for Your Spouse
“I typically ‘shut it down’ by politely giving short answers and then quickly shifting gears and talking about all things in life I enjoyed – my home, my friend group, my church, my job, etc. For immediate family, you might even have a conversation and tell them that being single is not something that should ever steal your joy and it’s appreciated to talk about things that are going on in your life rather than what’s not happening.”
:: W. Brandon Howard, author of Changing the Way I Think
Explore the Topic Further…
For further discussion on dealing with questions about your singleness, check out these posts:
Here We Go Again :: Dealing with the Questions, Jokes, Comments – “The next time a family member, friend, or co-worker begins placing their expectations on you, consider initiating a one-on-one talk with this individual. If this person loves you, communicate how singles jokes/comments affect you. Reaffirm your love for this person and being home for the holidays, but that negative comments are taking a toll.”
How Do You Handle People Who Mean Well? – “My parents are pressuring me to find someone. They got married when they were younger than me. So to them, marriage is the next logical step. When I visit my grandparents, they are more interested in my dating life (or lack thereof) than my academic and professional achievements.”
When Will I Get Married? (and 8 Other Questions that Plague Singles) – “Chances are, if you’re single, you’ve struggled with several, if not all, of these questions. We have too. They’re not simple questions with one-paragraph answers. They’re the kind of questions that are recurring and nag against our contentment. Some keep us company in the dark nights when our minds begin to wander down the roads of “what if,” “what could’ve been,” and “why me.””