How to Handle Nagging

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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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 ( 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: 89 Comments

  1. Christina Barela

    This is quite interesting. To solve this problem basically, we should become charismatic and charming yet deceiving to make ourselves heard.

  2. Kristi Hyde

    Nagging feels so annoying thank you for these graceful ways of rebuttals. I never thought of answering like this. Thanks again.

  3. Aeryn Graziani

    Nagging, when you have been so positive and tried your hardest to teach with positive reinforcement but nothing has worked. You can waste a lot of energy trying to educate the wrong person. At some point walking away has to become an option or you become part of the problem.

  4. Sally Dye

    People who nag typically fail to see their own flaws and how they are vulnerable to others. I liked all the answers and I will try to use these when someone will nag me next time.

  5. Elora Rousseau

    An interesting take on the subject of nagging, Very interesting and it does make you stop and reconsider when another starts to nag you.

  6. Andrea Kratochvil

    we are always been asked “when will you have kids?” since we got married and I am like what the hell is your problem we will have kids when we are ready its none of your business. And you should be the least to be concerned about our babies.

  7. Jane Robinette

    Nagging is typically just a less aggressive form of bullying and verbal abuse. It is less about the desire to help others as it is about the desire to control others. I hate when people try to interfere in my personal matter and all I do is ignore talking to these kinds of people.

  8. Doll Post

    Nagging someone is one of the most toxic things you can do for a person’s self-esteem, along with bullying. Don’t do it and thank you for these graceful rebuttals.

  9. To be honest it’s irritating when someone you know asked you about personal things. What the heck guys, don’t give comments about my personal life because I don’t give comments about yours!

  10. I’m at my late-20’s and some of my relatives keep on asking when will I get married. These articles help me get out from an awkward conversation.

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