It first started your senior year of high school. Suddenly that Thanksgiving, your entire family had an opinion on whether or not you should go to college and if you went, where you should be going. Then they had opinions on what majors and minors you should take.
You thought once you picked a school and went off to start your college journey, it would end there... but then Freshman year Thanksgiving came around and all your Aunts want to know how your grades are, if you're single, and has the freshman 15 hit you or missed you. As a senior gearing up to graduate this December, I am slightly fearful for the impending holidays. I love my family to pieces, but answering the "So what are you doing once you graduate?" question 20+ plus times is actually beginning to make me cringe.
The truth is, I am not one of the lucky ones who has a full-time position I will be walking into the minute I walk off the stage with my diploma. I am recently single, now out of the relationship myself and most my family thought was "the one." This holiday season my family will have questions, and I'm not sure I'll be able to answer them all... at least without yelling "I DON'T KNOW." I know that I am not alone in this! So, I have come up with some clever ways to combat these (what can be) frustrating questions.
1. Actually Answer The Questions
Buckle up, brave one! If you're a calm, collected, and not easily irritated person, you can just answer the question! I usually am good at this to an extent, but I have a large family. By the time I've made my rounds, I've had the "So are you dating anyone?" and the "So what's next after graduation' question asked a minimum of 15 times. If you are someone who can keep their cool and repeat themselves multiple times, then I bid you luck on this quest of answering those pesky questions!
If you're amongst the hors d'oeuvres, minding your own business, and your Aunt comes up to you asking if you've had any internships and if not, how do you plan to get them, just start to scream. While it may startle the question asker as well as the rest of your family, you can't answer the annoying questions if you're screaming!
3. Always Have Food In Your Mouth
Much like the screaming, you simply can't answer the stressful questions if you're constantly caught with food in your mouth. Make sure you have a small plate around at all times so you can carry this plan out. Grab whatever you can- crackers, cheese cubes, cresent rolls... whatever it may be. If you have a mouthful of stuffing you can't answer anything!
4. Turn Every Question Into a Question
Instead of responding to the classic "what are you doing with your life" questions, start asking questions yourself. For example, if your cousin comes up to you asking if you're over your ex yet, smile and say "are you over yours?" Once that shoe is on the other foot, they will not want to ask you any more questions.
5. Carry a Portable Speaker And Turn Up The Music
You know how you're at a concert and you can't hear what people are saying? You're trying to communicate to your neighbor and it's just not working out so you give up? That is the goal of carrying a portable speaker! You can go old school and carry a boombox, or ~modern day~ and carry around a Boze. Whatever works for you! Just be sure that baby gets to a nice volume. Anytime someone comes up to ask you a question, just turn the music up! Once you keep shouting "WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" they'll eventually give up and stop asking!
6. Cough Uncontrollably
If you are asked a question you don't want to answer, just start coughing. If you're coughing, you can't answer anything! "Are you over your ex?" *cough cough cough* It's that time of year for sickness, so most likely the question asker will scurry away in the fear they'll catch whatever you have that has you coughing.
7. Pretend You Can't Hear Anything
If your family start to ask you about your life choices post-graduation, just say "I'm sorry?" over and over again. "What was that?" "So sorry can't hear you!" If you keep up the facade that you can't hear, the questions will stop comin'!
8. Tell Them To Write Their Questions Down
One of the best things about guest speakers in class is when they say "unfortunately we are out of time for questions, so if you have one write it down and I'll get back to you!" Pretend you are a guest speaker at your next family holiday gathering and say you simply don't have time to answer questions, but if they email them to you you'll get back them.
9. Pretend You Have Laryngitis
This one will take some work on the days leading up to the gathering, so be sure you put your best acting foot forward. Start to fake sick a few days prior and slowly make your voice sound raspier and raspier. By the day-of, you suddenly can't speak! Write down on a whiteboard "I have Laryngitis :/" This will free you from any conversations you don't wish to be a part of.
10. Laugh At Everything You Are Asked
They say laughter is the best medicine, and laughter will be the best response to the age-old questions. Once your Uncle starts to suggest internships for you to take up, just begin chuckling without stopping. They will become annoyed by your giggling and cease to grill you.
11. Tell Them The Plot To a Movie As If It's Your Life Plan
Try picking a novel or movie your family hasn't seen and tell them that the plot to that movie is your post-graduation plans. You can pick a plot that is simple, or very elaborate! They will be impressed and think you have your life together! In the meantime, you can actually work towards that but without the pressure of your family wondering who, what, where, when, and why.
12. Don't Brush Your Teeth So You Have Smelly Breath
This one will be painful, but skip brushing your teeth before you show. After one or two people come to ask you about your life, they'll spread the word that your breath smells and avoid you for the rest of the day. Problem solved!
13. Don't Show Up!
What's one year without a family gathering? You'll have the house to yourself! Kick back, relax, and wait for your mom to bring you home a plateful of leftovers. You can have a year off while you figure out your life and next year you'll have answers to those guaranteed questions.
Good luck out there folks! 'Tis The Season!