Some of our family members love us in ways we don’t always see. What I mean is that they give us their suggestions on how we should live our lives. We all have that one family member that tells us what we should eat, what we should wear or where we should live. Through all the nagging, it’s hard to see that they do this because they care about us. It’s definitely tough love. They might spring these attacking suggestions on you without warrant. In order to combat these “loving” attacks, you need to be prepared for what to say in return. Here are some of my favorite responses to these loving people – or at least things I have always wanted to say.
1. “Thank you for caring about me.”
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that they are actually saying this because they want what’s best for you. They want to see you succeed, and their wisdom may help.
2. “I know you are trying to help, but you aren’t helping.”
As college students, we have a lot going on. We are already stressing out about finding a job when we graduate – we don’t need someone else to tell us to do that. If you are overweight, then you probably know you’re overweight. You don’t need someone confirming your insecurities.
3. “I love you, too.”
Everything they are saying is most likely out of love. There is a small chance they are telling you these out of spite, and they really want to point out your flaws, but you say you love them, anyway. It will make them think they’re doing the opposite of what they intended, and they’ll stop pointing out your flaws.
4. “Unfortunately, I am not living my life for you.”
What they think is best for you might not actually be what is best for you. You are an iceberg: the surface is only a small fragment of who you are. Advice is always nice, but you are the only one who knows what you need best.
5. “Right back at you.”
If they think you should lose weight, then tell them they should, too. If they think you should move to a big city and work in a big firm, then tell them they should leave their comfortable life where they live now, too. People often tell you what you should do because it’s what they should be doing.
6. “You are really good at telling other people what they should do.”
If they point out your weaknesses, then point out their strengths. They’re really good at something annoying! That’s great!
7. “In the words of Megan Trainor, ‘No.’”
Adding humor will lighten the mood. It will calm tensions and help you see each other's points. When they laugh, you can make a quick escape before they tell you more things you should do.
8. Ignore them.
If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. If they don’t have someone to converse with, then it will keep them from saying anything else. It takes two to tango.