What’s YOUR problem?
Recently a well-meaning aunt asked me about my relationship status. Uh-oh…. I immediately thought of a funny insurance company commercial where the actress announced she has an “ant problem”. I knew my family would be curious about my love life and shouldn’t have been surprised that inquiring minds want to know what’s going on. With the holidays coming up, I am sure this will be a problem many other people face during family Zoom calls and small get-togethers.
So… how do you answer the relationship question? Here are three options that might work:
- Pivot/ deflect: If you aren’t comfortable responding to the question or simply think it’s too invasive, you can try to ignore the question completely. Give a look of complete surprise, laugh heartily and say “Oh Aunt Linda, I should have known you would ask that. You are always so sweet to be concerned about me. Life is good. Did I tell you about my new job/ puppy/ cashmere sweater”?
- Tell the truth: Although it might be an uncomfortable conversation, you might recognize that the person asking is genuinely interested in your life and simply wants to keep current with what is new with you. If you are willing to share details you can say something like: “Aunt Linda, I am happy with casual dating but haven’t yet found anyone special. I’ll be sure to let you know if that changes.” If you are not ready to respond to the question, kindly let your relative know that well. Keep it brief and to the point: “Well, Aunt Linda, it’s a complex situation and honestly I would rather not talk about it. I hope you can respect that.” It’s okay to set boundaries… even with family members and close friends.
- Think outside the box: Another option is to help your relative see things from your perspective. Without getting defensive, invite the person asking the question to understand your struggle: “Wow, Aunt Linda, I’ve been dreading that question for a while now. You know I almost cancelled today because I wasn’t sure how I would handle this. I know everyone has been concerned about my personal life. Now I’m caught in a catch 22. I can tell you what you want to hear and be bombarded with lots of follow up questions. Or I can keep quiet which would just fuel more questions about why I don’t talk about it. What would YOU do, Aunt Linda?” Depending on your family, this approach might change the tone in the get-together, or it might shut down relationship conversations for good.
The Jay-Z song says, “I got 99 problems…” What is YOUR problem? Whatever it is, realize that you are definitely not the only one with that issue. Date coaching or relationship coaching might help you find the answers you need. Let’s talk!
Start today by scheduling a session. You might just have just one less problem.