Dreading Questions About Your Love Life This Holiday Season? Here’s How to Navigate Conversations With Grace

It’s the most wonderful time of year! December means dinners, cocktail parties, and lots of conversation. 

Getting together with friends and family over the holidays can be wonderful, provided the dinner conversation doesn’t go from delightful to frightful. If there’s one thing most single Catholic men and women dread over the holidays, it’s being peppered with endless questions about their love lives.

If there is any question scarier than “Who did you vote for?” this year, it’s the relationship status question. It’s hard to enjoy mashed potatoes when your aunt passes you a list of love life questions along with the homemade gravy.

Hoping to avoid unnecessary awkwardness this year? Check out the tricks below and be empowered to enter the holiday parties on your own terms!

Prepare to be on the offense, instead of the defense

The best way to enter any party this year is with confidence! Before you even leave the house, look at yourself in the mirror and remember just how incredible you are. Make a list of several things you’ve done this year that you’re proud of.

Don’t walk into the holiday dinner this year worried about all the prying questions that are going to be rattled off at you. Instead, do your homework on everyone else that will be there. Equip yourself with a little bit of information about everyone that will be present, and use it to navigate the conversation.

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Having a game plan will empower you!  Knowing that you’re just as much in control of the conversation as everyone else is an important tool to keeping your cool. When the questions do inevitably come, be prepared for them. Answer them directly if you’re comfortable doing so, but if they don’t move on, have some tricks up your sleeve to lighten things up.

Answer a question with a question

Growing up, I can’t tell you how many times my mother gave me this piece of advice to answer a question with a question. Little did I know that a trick I learned as a child would come in even handier as an adult.

When someone is waiting for an answer, but your answer comes in the form of a question, it usually throws the asker off course. This can be incredibly helpful in a conversation that you don’t want to have, or one that crosses a boundary you’ve established

For example, let’s say your cousin Ray asks, “So when are we going to meet your latest girlfriend?” Instead of fumbling over the answer he’s expecting, respond with a question for him. 

Some people may enjoy going on and on about all the dates that have or haven’t worked out. Maybe you don’t. If you’re not keen on being the focus of everyone’s find true love advice, turn the tables and ask them a question. 

History proves this method to be 100% effective in getting the focus off of you and on to someone else!

Make a list of meaningful questions to ask others

The best way to keep the focus off of yourself is to put it on others. Most people love talking about themselves, so show up at a dinner armed with good questions to ask others.

Oftentimes, awkward relationship type questions come from pauses in conversation when people run out of ideas to talk about. If you get the table talking about meaningful things, there will be less lulls. That means less weirdness for you to anticipate.

Some great conversation starters for this year’s holiday dinners:

  • What was your high and low of the year?
  • Who is one person you wish you could have spent more time with in 2020?
  • What was an unexpected positive that came out of your time in quarantine?
  • Do you have a gift you absolutely have to have this year?

The right questions can lead to a fun, meaningful meal of everything from serious talk to rolling laughter.

Redirect personal questions

Regardless of your best intentions, you will probably get a relationship related question here and there. Instead of dreading them, prepare! Have some quick replies ready so that when you’re put on the spot, you can quickly maneuver the conversation somewhere else if you’d prefer not to talk about your love life with your extended family or friends. 

Let’s say you’re at a cocktail party for work and your boss wants to know if you’ve met Mr. Right yet. Don’t feel obligated to let him read your emotional diary. Instead, offer a quick reply and then turn it right back at him. “No Mr. Right yet! How are Tammy and the kids? I love all the pictures you posted of your trip last week.”

The right question can go a long way in turning a potentially uncomfortable exchange into a pleasant conversation. Just keep a smile on your face and act genuinely interested when you redirect. 

Talk about the weather

In the eighteenth century, women were often scolded to restrict their remarks to the roads and the weather. As much freedom as we have these days to talk about anything and everything, you’d think conversations would be easier. Yeah, right.

If party conversations get too intense or uncomfortable, there is nothing wrong with dialing it back. Talking about the weather, your favorite sports team, hobbies, etc. is a great way to fill quiet pauses with interesting talk.

Relatives not getting the hint? Don’t be afraid to tell them that you enjoy talking about your relationship status as much as you do global warming. It’s okay to be up front and direct, as long as you’re polite about it.

As much as aunts, uncles, friends and grandparents want to know the scoop in your life, you don’t ever have to feel obligated to respond. At least not in the way that they may want. Give them a taste of what’s new in your life, relationship status not included.

Be proud of who you are

Whether you’re an open book or value your privacy, go into this holiday’s parties prepared. As a single out in the dating world, it’s best to know and prepare for what kind of questions will come your way this winter.

Choose some good anecdotes that you’d like to share and keep the rest to yourself. It is totally possible to get through Christmas dinner without too much awkwardness. Just keep your chin up and your questions ready!

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