15 Day Challenge

How To Navigate Awkward Family Questions at Thanksgiving

You all know what I’m talking about when I say Thanksgiving is awkward.

You get a bunch of your closest and not-so-close family members together in one room, and suddenly everyone wants to know what’s going on in your life.

And if you’re like any millennial out there today, you DO NOT want to answer these questions under any circumstances.

I’m not sure if it’s the idea that we are forced to evaluate our lives, or if it’s the possibility of judgment from our relatives, but it’s no fun. Like, I’d rather run sprints than answer some of these questions.

Fortunately for you, I’ve got some fool-proof answers for your most awkward family Thanksgiving Day questions! Give them a try and let me know how it goes!

How’s school going?

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First off, Brenda, DON’T ASK. Just kidding, don’t say that!

You could respond in one of two ways.

One, tell the truth. “It’s not going so well, most days I skip class and message the entire class for notes because I’m THAT person.”

Two, you could say, “I’m taking economics and biology, and I’m learning more than I ever thought I would!”

Because let’s face it, you’re probably learning more than you’d think even if you’re staying out every night and sleeping ’til 2 p.m. every day.

Are you dating anyone?

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All you have to do to shut this one down is say “no” and don’t elaborate. You can cut the air with a knife after that!

However, if you are dating someone, there are lots of ways you can answer this.

But tread carefully, you don’t want to open yourself up to more questions! I would recommend saying, “I am, he’s a really nice guy, but I’m not sure where we’re at right now. I’ll keep you updated if things get more serious.”

Leave with that promise that you do (or don’t) intend to keep, and you’ll be golden.

How’s work going?

Sure, Aunt Cheryl just wants to know how it’s going.

But doesn’t she know it’s a touchy subject?! Sometimes we hate our jobs, and sometimes we can’t imagine our lives without our amazing coworkers.

Just keep it simple and positive. “I really love my coworkers. It’s always great to walk into work and see them. As far as the job goes, we have some great holiday parties.”

They get it. Work is work.

When are you getting married?

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If you’re seriously dating someone, you KNOW you’ll get this question. Maybe you’re waiting until you’re both ready, or maybe marriage isn’t in the plans for you.

Whatever the case, just say, “We’ll know when the time is right. And you’ll be the first to know about it when we get engaged!”

Flattery goes a long way, my friends.

When are you having kids?

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This one. Not only is it awkward, but it can be painful if you’ve ever experienced infertility.

If you want kids, but maybe not right now, just say, “Kids are definitely part of the plan, but we’re not sure when that’s going to happen for us.” The key is to be considerate, but also firm in your unwillingness to elaborate.

If you don’t want kids, you can be bold and just say so, or you could say, “Kids probably won’t be part of our plan.” Ultimately, it’s your business, and you can choose to share as much as you’d like.

I see you’re not having dessert. When will you be done with this “diet”?

Major eye roll. This one is annoying simply because it’s unsupportive in tone. You expect your family members to support your healthier habits, but sometimes they just won’t.

My suggestion is to say, “I know I’ve done diets in the past, but I’ve committed to making healthier choices in every part of my life. I feel better and more confident, so I will be passing up on some things now and again.” Make sure to let them know you’re happy and confident in your choices. Own it, girl!

Are you sure you’re eating enough? That doesn’t look like very much.

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Yes, Barbara. If only they knew that you actually eat MORE when you’re eating for your health!

Just tell her you’ve never eaten more broccoli and protein in your life! Tell her it’s about fueling your body with lots of the right foods, instead of a little bit of lesser-quality foods.

You can’t argue with that. (If you want to give her a guide to what you’re eating and how to eat good, healthy foods, just show her my free meal plans!)


I know these seem like stressful questions (I got a little anxious just typing them!) but don’t let them get to you.

You’re supposed to enjoy time with your family, so focus on the positive! If you do feel like you could use some more supportive people in your life, join our Facebook community!

Even if it’s not fitness-related, these women have your back.

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Alyson McDonald

Alyson McDonald

Writer and expert

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