Womens Issues

Getting Nagged? 5 Graceful Rebuttals

Here’s how to deal with those uncomfortable questions this holiday season.


Don’t panic. Unlike your grandmother at Christmas dinner, we’re not here to probe into your romantic life with a dozen intrusive relationship questions like the ones below. We’re here to help you manage these invasive queries without letting them spiral into a long and frustrating conversation.

Getting Nagged? 5 Graceful Rebuttals

Holiday dinners with family are notorious for fielding nagging questions

The trouble with relationship questions is that, in most cases, there’s no simple answer. They come loaded with pressure for you to take action on the subject. Meddlesome as it may appear, these questions are often delivered by close friends and family members with good intentions. The thing to keep in mind is that their idea of the ‘right’ choices for you is not necessarily what will actually make you happy.

The common denominator for responses to these questions is that they usually don’t give the asker the reply that they want to hear. Why? Because they  asked the question mostly to validate their choices, not yours. If you want to articulate your thoughts about the subject, fine. But remember, you’re not responding to affirm their choices. You’re responding to assert your choices.

Here are some of the most common intrusive relationship questions, along with their responses that will get you out of the hot seat:

Getting Nagged? 5 Graceful Rebuttals

Just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean you need to feel pressured

Question #1: “When are you getting engaged/married?”

Translation: You’ve been together long enough. You should get married already.

So you’ve been cohabiting with your boyfriend for about years. Things are working out just fine and you’re both enjoying the setup. Then your glib sister comes for a visit and drops the bomb asks your bf this question. Actually, you’re thinking about it too, but you’re waiting for him to propose — of his own will… Awkward!

Instead of interjecting a sigh or a hasty “no plans yet”, try to answer the question with a witty retort: “Awww, it’s sweet that you want us to be happy. I’m sure he’ll ask when he’s ready.”

If you want to sound a little wiser, you can explicate by saying something like, “Marriage is a very important decision. We want to think it through.” Not only will the asker shut up to contemplate the question herself, she will see you as a sensible person.


Getting Nagged? 5 Graceful Rebuttals

For some, a fur-baby is enough

Question #2: “When will you have children?”

Translation: You should have children already so you can become a “happy” family.

Whether you and your husband can’t decide on having dogs instead of babies or you’re trying really hard to conceive, getting asked about the absence of a child in your married life is vexing. Society always looks at childless couples as incomplete. And for this reason, most people are excited for you to have a baby in order to become a “real” family.

If you’re trying to conceive, say “We’re trying”. If you are planning on having kids but not at the immediate future, just say “We need more time as a couple. We want to be ready when we have babies”. If you want to have a more stable life before having children, respond something like “Not until I get my degree” or “Not until John gets a promotion”. If you don’t feel like discussing things, just smile and answer “If you stop asking, you’ll be the first person to know”.

If you and your partner plan on not having kids at all, better tell them directly. This way, they’ll stop asking and they won’t be given false hope (especially if the “they” are your parents.) If you need more reasons not to have kids, check out 8 reasons not to have kids.

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Avatar of Sarah Woodstock

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging (InsiderDiva.com) and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 170 Comments

  1. Avatar of Candice Barnes

    Candice Barnes

    These are the perfect answers for people who like to poke around people’s lives.

  2. Avatar of Alice Grant

    Alice Grant

    I’m single and all I hear is marriage. Come on fam, I can’t even get a decent boyfriend and you want me to get married already? Let’s be realistic, okay?

  3. Avatar of Johanna Tyler

    Johanna Tyler

    I’m a big believer of YOU DO YOU. Opinions are meant to be shared, but it’s up to you which one’s you’ll follow. Unless that person truly insists that you do what they’re telling you, that’s completely out of hand and very annoying, but yes, you do you! You don’t always have to listen to people. Just let them say their piece and say yours if you want to. We’re all entitled to share our thoughts just like what they’re also doing. I don’t think it’s rude to answer this way.

  4. Avatar of Nora Santos

    Nora Santos

    I could never handle these situations properly until I’ve read this. I guess nothing better closes an argument by saying something smart.?

  5. Avatar of Nicolas Lloyd

    Nicolas Lloyd

    My dad nags a lot. It’s getting worse as he gets older. And there’s nothing I can do about it, he’s my dad.

  6. Avatar of Rochelle Becker

    Rochelle Becker

    I get annoyed when people I’m not close to are asking me stuff like this. They know nothing about who I am or how certain decisions in my life lead to this, so they shouldn’t bother asking.?

  7. Avatar of Arlene Pearson

    Arlene Pearson

    After reading this, I feel like I could win any argument with people who do this in social gatherings. Look, don’t mind my life, mind yours!

  8. Avatar of Louise Briggs

    Louise Briggs

    Perfect timing because parties are just around the corner and as much as my anti-social personality doesn’t like stuff like this, I can’t help it. It’s like part of our adult lives to socialize and to find the right answers to everyone’s questions — down to the most awkward and privacy shattering queries. I feel like adulting is basically trying to figure out how to not piss people off when you’re trying to piss them off all at the same time. It’s an irony and can be very confusing, but life is like that.

  9. Avatar of Rosalind Upchurch

    Rosalind Upchurch

    I’m so tired of people asking stuff like this during gatherings, especially family gatherings. It’s a very toxic topic and it makes people feel awkward when they don’t get the answers that they want. Also, it turns into a huge debate that goes on for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours….! It’s crazy how people can’t just keep their opinions to themselves, especially when it’s about redirecting someone in a direction that the other party doesn’t even want.

  10. Avatar of Suzanne Rodgers

    Suzanne Rodgers

    I guess I’m starting to get fed up with people like them who don’t understand boundaries.?

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