Ah, the holidays. While the are good parts (food, wine, reconnecting with family members), there are also not-so-good parts (to much food, too much wine, reconnecting with family members who have had too much aforementioned wine). Here, a cheat sheet on how to handle sticky situations, from nosy neighbors to bitter siblings.
Uncomfortable situation: The drunk uncle asks how long it will take for you to find a decent man to take care of you.
You respond with: “Well, Uncle Tim, I’ve been focusing on setting my life up so that I can take care of myself. I don’t want to throw my career away on a guy who, in the end, might lose sight of what’s important and not be able to provide for me.” (Get it, Uncle Tim?)
Uncomfortable situation: The nosy neighbor asks when you’re finally going to get a ring on that finger. In front of your boyfriend.
You respond with: “We’re not in any hurry. We’d rather take our time and enjoy these years as a couple before rushing into anything. Right, honey?” (Turn to boyfriend and lovingly smile.)
Uncomfortable situation: The uptight mother-in-law asks how you have time for work and managing the household, implying that one of them is suffering (namely, the household and her dear son).
You respond with: You know, Mom, it is difficult. Fortunately, you taught your son to be a team player when it comes to the house. He’s just as good with a toilet brush as I am!”
Uncomfortable situation: The inquisitive 12-year-old niece tells you that you look kind of old and asks why you’re not married, and if you play Old Maid with your friends.
You respond with: “Well, Chelsea, I bet I look old compared to you and your friends, but really, almost all of my friends that are my age are single. And we’re also very important at work, which is just as important for women today. Don’t worry, you’ll understand someday.” (Pat her condescendingly on the head.)
Uncomfortable situation: The perpetually bitter sister (saddled with four kids) asks if being single is the reason you’ve “put on some weight.”
You respond with: “Thanks for keeping such a close eye on me, but it’s rather the opposite: I’ve been having so much fun as a single person, I’d forgotten what it’s like to worry about every single pound. It’s kind of liberating!”
Lesson: Kill them with kindness. Any bitterness or socially inappropriate behavior will soon be deflected by your smart, mature replies. Good luck!
This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.