How to Handle Those Awkward Questions Over The Holidays

This is the time of year when most of us get together with friends and family — some whom we haven’t seen er….since last Christmas! Happy Holidays! So, it’s also the time of year when we often get those lovely questions especially from aunties and uncles. So, how do you handle them?

Jacqueline Whitmore is an internationally recognized etiquette expert and author mentions that although the questions can be sometimes uncomfortable, it’s easy to dance your way around them by being prepared. Here is her advice on some of our awkwardly favourite questions…

Are you dating anyone? 

This one is bound to come up if your single. If you don’t want to get into detail, simply say, “I am dating several people right now,” or “No one special at the moment.” If you’re uncomfortable discussing it, you can change the subject or add some humour.

When are you moving back home?

Instead of saying “never”–if that’s the way you feel–answer by listing all the reasons you love the place you’re currently living. Is it the best place for your job market? Does it have a great school system? Help others understand what attracts you to the place you’re at now, instead of listing all the reasons you don’t want to move back. If you think you could move back eventually, simply say, “Well I haven’t decided yet, I’m still working out my plan.”

Are you planning on having kids anytime soon?  

If kids aren’t in the cards yet, simply say, “Nope, not yet.” If you want to have a little fun with grandma on this one, you can say, “We are just busy practicing right now.” It might make your inquisitor blush, but you’re off the hook.

When are you getting a real job? 

You can simply say, “I do have a real job.”  But if you’d rather not be so direct, say, “I am doing what I love, and you know what they say, ‘when you do what you love, the money will follow.’”

 You still don’t eat meat? 

No matter how many times you’ve told your family you are a vegetarian, someone will make sure to ask you why you’re not eating any of the holiday turkey. Simply say, “I am still eating my veggies.”

 So what do you think of that Jian?

The best answer here is, “So what about him? What are your thoughts?”  The idea is to throw the ball back in their court. Of course you’ll have to listen to them rant about their own opinions, but it beats what’s to come if there is a difference of opinion.

Jacqueline Whitmore


Jacqueline Whitmore is the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. She’s also the auther of various etiquette books including Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work and Poised for Success. Jacqueline travels around the world speaking at various conference as well as with media including The New York Times, USA Today, ExtraTV, CNBC, and many others. Thanks for sharing these handy tips for the holidays!


Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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