OK, even if you’re still in denial, sooner or later you’ll have to face the fact that the holidays are coming at us. Halloween is over and Thanksgiving (for those of us in the U.S.) is just over two weeks away.
No matter which holidays you celebrate, odds are it will mean family get-togethers, maybe including relatives you see only once a year, and holiday parties where people drink too much eggnog and say stupid things.
Whether it’s your brother-in-law yelling across the dinner table to ask how the baby-making’s going, or great aunt Ethel fussing over your cousin’s brood and then turning her questions on you, or Bob from accounting unfolding a wallet full of toe-haired kids and grilling you about your family, the holiday season can be a minefield of awkward questions and inappropriate comments. So what are you going to do?
Granted, one option is to hole up with It’s a Wonderful Life and a box of Kleenex, but I don’t recommend it. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to go out in public and it pays to be prepared.
We’ve often talked about how to deal with those difficult, awkward, or downright rude questions. It all sounds good on paper, but then someone catches us off guard and we end up mumbling an almost apologetic answer and then kicking ourselves later (or venting about it on Whiny Wednesday.) So, let’s get prepared.
Think about all the events you’re going to have to attend this season. Think about who’s going to be there, and how informed they are about your personal situation. (If you see some relatives only once a year, word may not have reached them that you’ve stopped trying, for example.) Think about the questions you might be asked and practice your answers.
This technique is called Mental Rehearsal. Athletes use it to visual scoring points; people use it for job interviews to practice confidently asking questions; even the military use it to prepare troops for what they might face on the battlefield. True, you can never know what you’re going to face on the holiday frontlines, but if you’ve practiced an answer to “So, when are you guys going to have kids?” or “Why don’t you just adopt?” you’ll be prepared, even if someone throws out a variation.
Here’s an article with some suggestions on how to practice this technique. Try it now, before the holiday madness kicks in. Maybe you’ll even get to relax and enjoy the season, instead of dreading the inevitable stupid question.