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4 Annoying Love Life Questions & How to Answer Them


As the semester comes to a close, you can’t help but count down the days until you get to go home. Thanksgiving and winter break mean your mom’s home-cooked meals, relaxing after a long semester and seeing all your family and friends whom you haven’t seen in a couple months. Catching up with people you haven’t seen in a while will be fun… until someone asks about your love life, of course.

While you might not mind discussing your classes, activities or friends, as soon as someone brings up your relationship status, you don’t really want to chat. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or rocking the single life, questions about your love life can be annoying and just plain awkward. We came up with the most common love life questions you’ll receive as well as tips for how to answer them in a polite (and not awkward) way.

Preparing to face these questions

One of the main reasons we hate getting love life questions is because they seem to come out of nowhere. You can be casually talking to your cousin about science class when all of a sudden your uncle cracks a joke about having chemistry with your lab partner and now everyone wants to know when you’re getting married. Talk about things escalating quickly.

Family and friends you haven’t seen in a while are naturally going to ask you questions because they care about you. Since you’re aware of this, being prepared ahead of time to answer all their questions will help counter that awkward moment when someone randomly brings up your relationship status.

“Awareness will make it easier for you to be [controlled] in your response versus reacting [in an] overly emotional way you might regret later,” says Jasbina Ahluwalia, relationship expert and founder of Intersections Match by Jasbina. “In other words, by minimizing the surprise element, you can prepare responses.”

An easy way to start preparing yourself for others’ curiosity is thinking of an answer to the question, “What’s new?” Usually when you haven’t seen someone in a while, he or she wants to know generally how you’re doing before diving into personal topics like your love life. 

According to Jodi RR Smith, etiquette consultant and president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, if you provide real information during small talk, it will give you and the other person more to discuss besides your love life. “Your family [and friends] want to know things because they love you,” Smith says. “Give them details about your classes and roommates. If you got a great grade or landed an internship, brag about it. Give them something else to ask questions about before they ask about your relationships.”

By having some other conversation topics prepared, you can ease yourself into the relationship talk (if you want to!) or know that you always have backup conversation starters just in case things get awkward.

1. “You’ve been dating for a while… is he ‘the one’?”

Considering all of Aunt Susan’s Facebook likes on pictures of you and your SO, you know she’ll inevitably want all the details when you see her. Even if you expect it, getting asked about your future wedding or your apparent soul mate can be startling.

There’s a good chance that you may not know if your current SO is the one, so a good technique is to acknowledge the question without actually answering it. Then, right afterwards, deflect the question back to your family member.

“You can say something like, ‘I couldn’t even imagine him proposing right now! The last thing I want to think about is being tied down,’” Smith suggests. “And then immediately ask them about how they met their spouse or how old they were when they got married. Turn the conversation back towards them.” That way, your family gets some sort of response, but you get out of a lengthy conversation about future wedding dresses.

Another way to combat this question is through humor. “Handle these awkward questions [with] humor and point out the awkwardness,” suggests Dr. Seth Meyers, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve. “When asked about [the future wedding], for example, say, ‘Oh, please tell me this isn’t the time for awkward questions! I have to plead the fifth.’”

Sometimes calling your family out on an awkward question can stop the conversation in its tracks. Paired with humor, it keeps the mood lighthearted.

If you do feel comfortable enough sharing more about your relationship with your family, you can answer this question more honestly while keeping it brief. “I always respond with, ‘I hope so, but we have a lot to learn about one another in the next few years with graduation, finding jobs and finding places to live,’” says Laura Bauman, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. “It pretty much sums up the rest of the questions to follow, like, ‘Are you moving in together after graduation?’”

Whether you plan on marrying your current SO or not, you can gracefully answer the soul-mate question in a way that leaves your family satisfied and you in control of the conversation.

2. “So, are you seeing anyone?”

On the flip side, you might be single and absolutely dreading the when-are-you-going-to-meet-someone question. It might come in the form of grandma reminding you that you only have so much time to give her great-grandchildren or your friend consistently encouraging you to find someone new when you go out. You’re confident about your single status, but this question can make you wonder if you should hurry up and settle down.

The key to navigating this conversation is confidence. You should never feel ashamed of being single, so reaffirm the reasons why you’re choosing to be single, and that will help you answer this question confidently.

“Re-commit yourself to the ‘why’ [you’re choosing] to be single,” Ahluwalia says. “[For example], you want to do your own thing before coupling up, or it’s an act of self-love after a breakup. Re-committing to your big ‘why’ will fuel you with self-assurance to say something like, ‘I’ve decided to be on my own for a while at this time, and I’m confident that’s the right thing for me right now.’”

Furthermore, instead of just mumbling, “I’m single” and letting the conversation die, give some examples of how you’re spending your time (which you’ve already thought of during small talk!).

“As I’ve gotten older, more and more people ask about my single status,” says Haley Cahill, a senior at Appalachian State University. “Instead of telling them, ‘No, I’m single,’ I give them a more powerful response like, ‘Actually, I’m so focused on all my classes, extracurriculars and landing a killer job after graduation that I don’t have time to worry about a significant other!’ I think this makes me look focused and driven.” Again, this can turn the conversation back to a topic you’re more comfortable with while giving you a boost of confidence.

Remember, you should never be embarrassed because you’re single, and your family members and friends are asking with the best intensions. Remind yourself of all the reasons you’re flying solo, be confident in them and rock your single status whenever someone questions it!

3. “How are you and [insert your ex’s name here]?”

You just stopped listening to sad Adele songs when your sorority sister wants to know if you and your SO want to double date. Or your uncle, who hit it off with your ex-boyfriend last year, wants to know why there’s not an extra seat your family’s dinner table. No matter how long ago you and your SO broke up, getting a question about him or her can be uncomfortable.

Despite how your relationship ended, it’s important to stay calm and collected when answering questions about your ex. Again, preparing an answer to this question ahead of time will help you feel less awkward when it comes up.

“Whether your family [or friends] knew your SO or just knew you had an SO, they’re going to ask,” Smith says. “This means you need to be prepared. Have a brief statement you can always say when asked. [For example], ‘We just broke up a few weeks ago, it’s not easy, but I’m doing fine. Thank you so much for asking.’”

While your friends or family might want to know the details of the breakup, there’s a good chance you’re not going to want to get into it. After briefly responding that you and your SO broke up, Smith suggests you change the topic of conversation immediately. So if someone says, “I heard you broke up; I really liked [name],” you can say, “Thanks; I really liked [name] too. You know what else I like? Your sweater. Where did you get it?” Or, if someone asks why you broke up with him or her, you can always use some humor like, “You know, it just wasn’t working, but it does make my holiday shopping easier! What’s on your wish list this year?”

It doesn’t matter if it’s been a week or a year—talking about your ex can be uncomfortable. By politely and briefly answering a question about him or her, your family and friends can be up-to-date on your relationship status, and then you can steer the conversation in a different direction.

4. “Would you like me to set you up?”

This usually comes from family and follows the “Have you met someone yet” question. Even though your first instinct might be to immediately deny a date with your aunt’s coworker’s son, try being open to your family’s attempt at matchmaking.

“People sometimes go unwillingly on blind dates and end up really liking them,” Smith says. “Unless you’re going through a dramatic breakup, it wouldn’t hurt going on a coffee date!”

If you’re in a place where you’re not emotionally ready or comfortable meeting someone new (e.g., you’re going through a breakup, you really want to do your own thing), politely reiterate all the reasons you’re choosing to be single and then change the subject. You shouldn’t go on a set-up date just to please your family; you should only go if you feel comfortable. Saying something like, “I really appreciate the offer, but I’m just trying to focus on myself right now. I’ll be sure to let you know if I change my mind!” is lighthearted but also gets you out of a blind date you might not be ready for.

On the other hand, if you do find yourself ready to date or meet new people, take your family member up on his or her offer. You never know how it might turn out!  

“Even if they’re not the right person for you, they might be great for your friend or you might really like their roommate,” Smith adds. “Going out on a set-up coffee date gives you practice with future dates and networking. Plus, you’re never going to find someone in your dorm room. Get out and meet people!”

Who knows, maybe you’ll hit it off with your cousin’s friend-of-a-friend and you can look back later and laugh about how it all started. Or you might not connect with him or her at all and come out with a funny story to tell your family later. However you decide to answer the setting-up question, make sure you’re comfortable and confident, and you can’t go wrong.

At one point or another, you’re going to get a question about your love life. Just remember that people are only asking because they care about you, not because they’re trying to make you feel uncomfortable. No matter if you’re single or in a serious relationship, stay cool and confident, and you’ll be able to answer any relationship question your family or friends throw at you!

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