Jonah Crenshaw, Staff Writer
We all know what it's like to be bombarded with awkward questions by family members, especially around the holidays. Whether you're seeing them for the first time since last year or last week, you can count on some not-so-fun questions to come your way. But have no fear, we've got you covered. Whether it's a conversation with Grandma Gertrude, Aunt Cindy, Uncle Herbert or Cousin Todd, this Christmas you will be ready and equipped to respond to these six dreaded inquiries.
1. How is school?
This is very typical and you cannot blame your family for asking. However, you have to be careful with how you answer. If you explain too much, they may connect your answer with a memorable life story of theirs that could last for hours, but if you don't say enough, they will implore for more. Keep it moderate with an answer like, "It's good. I have some really great classes coming up."
2. Are you dating anyone?
If you are still single this Christmas, brace yourself for this question. A good way to avoid making this conversation more painful than it is already is to tell your family that you are "talking to someone." Keep it very general by not giving details about the person. Tell them it is too early to start talking about dating or anything serious, but that you will keep them updated on the situation. This will get them off your back for a while. If, by chance, you happen to slip up and say you aren't dating anyone, get ready for question three.
3. Have you heard of so and so?
This is where things can get interesting. Probably the most uncomfortable conversation you will have this Christmas will be with a family member who is adamant about setting you up with a single friend of theirs. The best thing to do in this situation is to smile and nod. If you are lucky, this arrangement will never amount to anything, but you will have to endure the 20 minute explanation of why you two would be perfect together. Stay strong. You can do it.
4. Where have you been?
The casual, 'long time, no see' comment can quickly turn into a guilt trip from family members who think your only aspiration is to avoid them (and they may be right). When grandma says, "you never come visit anymore," avoid responses like, "I just don't have time" or "I have too much going on." Instead, in order to avoid any disagreements, you may have to suck it up, put on a fake smile and say, "Ah, shucks. You're right, Grammy." Give her a hug and a kiss and she'll forget all about it, and you'll be off the hook.
5. Did you hear about (insert family event story here)?
This question can lead two different directions. You could be on the verge of hearing the funniest, most interesting story or the most irrelevant, drawn out story of all time, like how grandpa Charles developed the worst case of gout anyone had ever seen. Either way, take it in stride and take notes. You'll want to retell the story in full detail to your friends when you get back to school so they can have a good laugh.
6. Are we going to see you at (insert holiday or next family event here)?
We all know this one too well. You're heading out the door and a family member drops this bomb on you. The response is crucial here. Although it is tempting to go with the rash response of "yeah, sure" (because you know if you say "no" they will be expecting an explanation and you're ready to get out of there), it is best to be honest in this response. Let's face it, your family will remember this conversation and hold it against you later. If you say "yes" and don't show up, you're just asking for that awkward phone call about not being at Uncle Tim's 50th birthday party when you promised you would.