To help you better survive family meals with nosy relatives, the Central Florida Future asked Rosen College instructor Kate Wilson how to best handle some common awkward questions.
Going home for the holidays might mean eating home-cooked meals, spending time with family and opening presents, but there's a chance it might also mean dealing with uncomfortable questions from relatives.
To help you better survive family meals with nosy relatives throwing questions like fastballs, the Central Florida Future asked Rosen College instructor Kate Wilson how to best handle some common awkward questions and situations during the holiday season.
Central Florida Future: How should you respond when someone asks if you're dating someone?
Wilson: When we go home, it's never our parents who ask us, it always the aunt or the uncle. When the aunt or the uncle asks the questions of "Are you seeing anyone?" [the answer] should always be "You know, I have a lot of friends in school. So what's going on at home? Are you still playing bridge? Did you get a new car?" Turn it around and make the question about them.
CFF: What should you say when someone mentions that you have put on some weight?
Wilson: The response is "You know, you're right, Aunt Judy. I did gain the freshman 15, how about those UCF Knights and their football season?" or "Yeah, I did gain 15 pounds, don't I look good?"
It has to always be the positive and you may feel like you don't look good or feel good, but you have to expect they'll say something, so when you go home and they do say something, then the feelings won't be hurt. Yes, the aunt you haven't seen in eight years will be the one who says something or your dad will jokingly say "Hey, you put on a couple of pounds, didn't you?" and then you can say "Yeah dad, you did too, didn't you?"
CFF: How should you respond when someone asks why you don't have a job lined up for after college yet?
Wilson: Parents often expect their children to immediately have a job as soon as college is done. It's not going to happen sometimes. It's not going to happen for everyone. We have to realize that that perfect job may not be the perfect job immediately after school.
Sometimes we have to find that perfect fit. Sometimes we have to go through three or four jobs before we find that perfect fit or that perfect fit finds us.
I didn't become a college professor right out of school. I was an English major, then I was in accounting, then I was a mom and then I was a chef, and now I teach hospitality. It may take a lifetime to be what you're going to be, but parents often expect more from their children than their children expect from themselves immediately. Kids are young when they graduate college, and you're allowed to be young.
CFF: What's the best way to respond when you get compared to a more successful sibling or family member?
Wilson: People are different, and so sometimes when you go home for a holiday you get that question, "Why aren't you doing as much? Why haven't you done or when will you do?" and the answer is "I'm not so-and-so and I have different goals and I'm taking my time and I have a plan that's much different than [my sibling's] and I will get there in my time."