‘Tis the season for Christmas parties, family gatherings … and pesky (but well-meaning) friends and relatives asking you when you’re going to get married. Yep. While we enjoy the anticipation of Advent and look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ, for many young adults this is also a season of waiting — with more than a bit of dread — for the family inquisition into your love life.
Maybe it’s just an innocent comment from your great-aunt: “So, dear, any special someones in your life?” Or perhaps your family is more direct, with relatives tsk-tsking about how “you’re not getting any younger” when you say that “the one” hasn’t materialized since last Christmas.
Or perhaps your family is more like mine and goes straight for the jugular: My grandmother — a wonderful woman who always spoke her mind — politely listened to the news of my Ph.D. and then grabbed my left hand, made a dismissing little sniff noise, dropped my hand, and looked at me and said “That’s all fine and good, but where’s the ring?”
Later marriage has it’s benefits: You’ve got more time to pursue your educational and career dreams, to climb the ranks, to run that marathon, to have fun with your friends. But it also means a lot of questions from well-intentioned relatives, colleagues and friends — especially around the holidays.
Like my grandmother, most of them sincerely want you to be happy. And they know you would like to meet someone to share your life with — so they are trying to be supportive, but often it comes out all wrong.
“Did you meet anyone interesting last night?” asks your Mom after your work holiday party.
“Are you seeing anyone special?” asks your aunt at Christmas dinner, after glancing at your left hand.
“You work so hard, do you even have time for a relationship?” asks your nosy coworker after a bit too much punch.
“You guys have been dating for a while. Is he the one?” asks your married friend at her swank New Year’s soirée.
If you’re single this holiday season, here’s a bit of advice: Prepare yourself for the questions — and learn a few stock answers that will help you deal with those nosy (but loving) family members and friends.
If you’re not single this holiday season, glance at the below list of questions, too — and make sure you don’t fall into the trap of making your single friends feel awkward during a time of love and celebration.
The Curious Mom
She asks: “Did you meet anyone interesting last night?”
Strategy: Purposely misinterpret. This is a silly (but common) question.
You say: “Yes! I met this fascinating entrepreneur. She’s starting a women-only business in town…”
The Christmas Interrogator
They ask: “Are you seeing anyone special?”
Strategy: Keep it light. This isn’t the time to be snarky; you just want to get through this and eat your mashed potatoes.
You say: “There are a few possibilities, but don’t worry, nothing too serious. You know I’d let you get a good look at them first to make sure they were good enough for me! Could you please pass the cranberry sauce?”
The Well-Meaning Relative
They ask: “Did you meet anyone interesting last night? I just worry because you’re not so young anymore…”
Strategy: Attack this head-on. There’s been a generational shift.
You say: “Did you know that the average age of marriage for a woman like me is 30? That’s the average, so there are plenty of men/women getting married a lot older than that, too. And I’m more likely to get married because of my career and educational background. It’s really good news…”
The Married Friend
They ask: “You guys have been dating for a while. Is s/he the one?”
Strategy: Be honest, but kind. She’s only asking because she cares about you, and she doesn’t realize that’s she’s subtly pressing you.
You say: “We’re still getting to know each other. And, it’s interesting, my family keeps asking me that question, too. I know that they don’t want me to make a bad decision because I felt pressured, but I do feel like everyone is trying to marry us off. I’m trying not to rush things.”
The Nosy Coworker at The Holiday Party
They ask: “You’re always at the office! Do you even have time for a relationship?”
Strategy: Make a joke. Keep work and personal life separate when at all possible.
You say: “Oh, it’s OK. I keep him/her in a closet. He’s very patient.”
One more tip
One more quick tip if you’re a smart, single woman this holiday season: My new book, “Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love” goes on sale January 1. If your New Year’s resolution is to date smarter and find that special someone in 2009, check out my website http://www.readmarrysmart.com.
Any holiday war stories to share with other BustedHalo readers? If you’ve got a great holiday singles tale (good, bad or ugly) post it in the comments section below and send it to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send a free autographed copy of my new book “Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love” to the best three stories I receive. Post your comments and advice below. Merry Christmas!