How to answer your family’s uncomfortable questions over the holidays


Family is fun! Going home for the winter break and potentially having to participate in a family gathering can be a bit daunting. They talk so much. Worse: they ask questions. One of the worst university experiences that you will ever have is being forced to answer the pointed, and often rude, questions of your extended family when you go home for the holidays. Here are some (slightly sarcastic) answers you can use when your brain blanks on you.

“How is school going?”
I changed my major again and now all of my credits only count as electives. I’ll definitely be taking a fifth year.
I only forgot about one major paper this semester! And I only slept through one exam.
I haven’t slept since reading week, but my grades are perfect.

“What are your plans for after graduation?”
I’m moving home and eating kraft dinner for an entire year.
Grad school. That’s not hard to get into, right?
Does continuing to work at my summer job count as a plan?

“Where is your boyfriend/girlfriend?”
“What do you mean? He’s right here.” Point to an empty seat and widen your eyes like the person you’re speaking to has lost their mind.
“She/he is on a top secret mission with NASA to destroy an asteroid heading straight for earth, but she should be back in time for New Year’s Eve.”
“I don’t have one, but don’t worry, I don’t define myself based on my relationship status.”

“That Trump guy really knows what he’s doing, doesn’t he?”
“If what he’s doing is an extended piece of performance art, then yes, he’s really on top of his game!”
“No, Aunt Sharon, he does not know what he’s doing.”
“If you mean dismantling the US and all it stands for while simultaneously performing acts of moral turpitude… then sure”

All joking aside, when it comes to family gatherings it’s sometimes best to stick to small talk. If you’re looking to avoid confrontation don’t bring up politics, or hockey, or anything else that gets your family riled up. Some people are going to make horrible, inappropriate comments, but for the most part they probably mean well. Talking to people you’re supposed to know but actually don’t talk to very much is difficult for everyone, so if you’re feeling awkward your family members are probably feeling awkward too. And if they’re really that bad remember that January is not that far away. Before you know it you’ll be back in class, wishing you could have another argument about net neutrality with your Uncle Bob.

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