This Runner's Trials

Relatively speaking: How to deal with annoying family questions this holiday season

Posted by runnerstrials

Talk about a case of the Mondays. I did not have a good day.

  • I stayed up way too late last night watching my team lose to a disgusting opponent.
  • My work internet connection would not work.
  • I had to cancel a date with a friend to check out a new cupcake store because I learned they had no dairy-free options :(
  • I had to back out of running and yoga plans with myself because my back is really sore from my trip down the stairs the other day.

Don’t worry about me. I showed Monday who’s boss by downing an entire batch of Diana’s spectacular dough balls in fewer than 24 hours. No lie.

Since I’m cranky and in a carb coma, you’re not going to get the holly jolly “what I’m thankful for” post I had scheduled. Instead, you’re getting this ;)

How to handle intrusive family members

Let’s face it: the holidays can be packed with just as much angst as cheer. Unfortunately, November and December are not just about gingerbread lattes, snowflakes, and glitter. There’s plenty of over-spending, travel headaches, and unwelcome questions from family members, too.

Now in my case, this is not completely the fault of said family members. I live far away from my family so I only get to see a lot of them once a year. And I don’t talk to many of them more often than that one time each year. I doubt these questions are meant to be rude. People are just at a loss for what to talk about.

You can answer these questions in a few ways:

  • Be honest. Then go complain to your significant other about the rude question.
  • Be vague or outright lie. Then go complain to your significant other about the rude question.
  • Turn it around so the questioner feels awkward. Then go brag to your significant other about how awesome you are.

I’m sure you all know which one is my favorite ;)

Here’s how I handle my most favorite intrusive questions about marriage, infertility, and running:

Q: Still enjoying married life?

A: “No uncle Jim, and I’m so glad you asked me. I’ve been meaning to talk to someone about it. Our sex life has just gotten so stale. Any advice?”

Ok, so I’ve never really said this. I usually answer:

“It’s ok. He’ll do for now until someone better comes along.” Then hang your head and walk away. Time how long it takes for your mom to ask you about your marital problems.

Q: Any human children in the near future? I get “human” because I always refer to my dog as my child.

A:I’d like them, but how does one go about getting them?”

The questioner usually throws her head back (it’s always a her), laughs, and follows up with “are you two trying?”

This is my least favorite question. Respond with something similar to “yes, I have sex with my husband. Do you have sex with yours?” This really throws them for a loop because the questioner thinks it’s inappropriate to talk about sex over turkey dinner. But somehow discussing baby-making is perfectly fine.

Q: Oh, I heard about your infertility. (there will be a sad face, a whiny tone of voice, and you may be touched). I know someone who suffered from the same thing. And guess what? As soon as they stopped “trying”, they got pregnant!

A: So maybe this is actually my most hated question. And it only warrants one response. “Ohmygosh, no way. Thank you for the awesome medical advice! All we have to do is stop trying?! Hey (insert husband’s name), aunt Carol says all we have to do to get pregnant is stop having sex!”

Q: Are you still running? (usually said with an disapproving look)

A: “Umm yeah, are you still sitting on the couch/drinking too much alcohol/ not helping your siblings care for your aging parent?” Or a simple looking the person up and down and responding “yeah, are you still not running?” works, too.

Q: I heard you did a marathon. How long was this one?

A:26.2 miles, like all the rest of them.” They often don’t detect the sarcasm in your voice because you lost them as soon as you said “26.2”.

The, the may follow up with “26.2 miles!? 26.2 miles? I don’t even like to drive 26.2 miles! I couldn’t imagine doing that.” Respond with “there was a time I couldn’t imagine doing that either, uncle Jim. It took a lot of time and determination to get to where I am today. And there’s no reason- unless a doctor says otherwise- that you couldn’t one day be a marathon finisher.” Plug the couch-2-5k program and maybe even offer to run a 5k with uncle Jim in the next few months. Being snarky is fun, but sharing your passion for your sport and recruiting another runner is much more fulfilling :)

What’s your favorite intrusive question? How do you answer it? Happy Thanksgiving!


Filed under: Uncategorized 45 Comments