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: 170 Comments

  1. When a couple fails to resolve their conflicts the right way, conflicts tend to pile up. And resentment also piles up. In those marriage, couples lose hope that there can ever be peace. But when a couple starts to attack the pile with mutual thoughtfulness, the very fact that progress is being made restores their hope. There’s no time like the present to begin resolving those conflicts in a way that completely eliminates nagging.

  2. For some, they find it really fun and exciting to meddle with other people's business which I really hate! But I always remind myself that it's me who's going to be affected, I make sure not let these "nagging rebuttals" pressure me 🙂

  3. I don't understand why some people find fun, satisfaction and achievement if they are able to "have something to say" about other's life.

    Well, for me, it's just me and my partner's decision. Even if everyone around us are against our decision, but if me and my partner agreed to doing that, then go… If we commit mistakes because of following that decision, then learn from that mistake…

  4. Courtney Watson

    Nagging… I keep wondering why most people find enjoyment in doing this… I’ve observed this: When we (women) are younger, they tend to keep us “away” from boys. But when we’re nearing 30 and no boyfriend yet, they tend to “push” or even set us up on dates. Very funny

  5. Hannah Mayers

    Based on my observation, most people find fun and happiness if they are “into” other people’s personal lives. But we can always ignore them 🙂 LOL

  6. Jen Garcia

    For me, it’s about, “I have a life, you have a life, let’s deal with our own.”

    I have this belief of “I don’t care about other people’s business as long as it doesn’t affect me.” I don’t care because I don’t want them to care about my business as well. I don’t want people to be questioning me about my choices and decisions.

  7. Gabrielle Williams

    I definitely agree! It’s me and my husband’s life and choices. When my ex-boyfriend (who happens to be my husband now 🙂 were not yet married, people are asking, when are you going to get married? Or Are you engaged already? I even heard them say, “You should be engaged by now! You’re not getting any younger.”

    Now, we have a child and people are still asking me questions about my personal life and choices like when are you going to have your next child? And I can still hear them say, “you’re not getting any younger, have a baby now!”

    I used to feel really annoyed for all these questions, but as time passes by, each time I’m asked of some personal married life questions, which to me is more of challenges and rules that I have to follow rather than questions for me to answer, I just smile and say nothing. And it turns out that instead of me being annoyed, I have the person asking be annoyed LOL 😉

  8. Jen Spillane

    I think most of the time these types of questions are well-intended. The people asking want to be involved in your life, and they don't know how to reach a common ground with you, so they ask you these things because these are "the things people ask each other." When I start to feel annoyed by these types of questions, I try to remind myself of this–they mean well and just want to be a part of my life–and try to explain my point-of-view. Who knows? Maybe they'll see things differently afterward, and if not, I know that's a subject to be deflected with that person in the future.

  9. We all know family members may be a little “too” into our personal lives. Although we know they mean the best. These are good tips to get family members off your back for the mean time. I was surprised when my aunt asked me when am I going to have a boyfriend….I’m just like I’m not sure. Growing up family members pushed me away from boyfriends and now they’re embracing it… interesting.

  10. There's always pressure on long term relationships to move on to the next stage in life. Engagement, marriage, own a home, have kids etc. But some people fail to realize with all this comes time. Has anyone been pestered with these type of questions before?

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