Dodging Grandma's Questions

Thanksgiving isn’t all about the turkey and Christmas isn’t all about the presents. The holiday season also involves spending a lot of time with your family. Of course this is a good thing, but sometimes this brings with it a berating of a million questions that no college age student wants to hear. Some of these typical questions we’ve all probably experienced are, who you’re dating, how you’re doing in school, and if you have a job lined up for after graduation. So if you’re looking to enjoy the holidays instead of answering question after question, Life Hacker lists some of the best ways to avoid them.

The number one way to save yourself from intrusive questions is to either turn the question around or answer the question with a question. If you’re asked something that is really awkward or intrusive, ask the person how they would feel about answering that question. On the other hand, if you’re asked about a post-graduation job, say something like, “I have a friend that actually waited a month before starting a career, isn’t that a good idea?” This then shifts the subject away from you without being too obvious. By using this technique, you don’t have to answer those questions, and it also discourages family members from asking more.

Another great way is to distract them and rid their mind of whatever uncomfortable questions they’ve been dying to ask you is you can ask everyone if they need a drink or anything else while you’re getting up, and then take your time doing so. Then hopefully when you return, you’ll have nothing to answer because they would have forgotten the question. If you don’t have the chance to escape, you can always turn things around and make them be the center of attention. If you’re asked a question, simply say something like, “I’d much rather hear about how you’ve been! How’s your job going, did you get that promotion yet?”

Senior communication student A.J. DeAnni has a great way to avoid your family prodding you. He said, “I like to have a planned list of achievements from the semester to give them. It gives the impression that I have it all together, even if I don’t.” So maybe you’re not dating anyone or haven’t found an internship yet, but you can brag about all the A’s you received and all The Outlook articles you’ve written!

Similar to DeAnni, senior communication student Kayla Cardona mentioned other things she has lined up, or she’ll flat out change the subject. “I’ll comment on how good the food is or other plans I have lined up,” she said. So the next time you’re asked about your love life, rant about how delicious the food is or how gorgeous the Christmas tree looks, and that should give your family the hint to stop with the questions.

One final worst-comes-to-worst method you can always use when trying to escape an awkward unwanted conversation is to pretend you have a phone call. The second grandma asks why you’re still single at 22, you can reach into your purse and step into the hall to take that “important call from work.” Not only did you dodge the question, but now you seem like a hard working employee.

Although these questions are things we dread, lecturer in Communications Shannon Hokanson shared an alternate view. “Even though it can be difficult, it may help to remember that those incessant questions about your progress come from a place of love. However, that doesn’t mean you need to break boundaries. You can express sincere gratitude to your family members for their love and concern, and then gently note that you are finding your own way right now and you’ll keep everyone in the loop if anything new develops,” she said.