As Christmas comes closer, we’re all in the whirlwind of school performances, lunches, and parties. We’ll be seeing a good bit of people and family that we only see but once a year. We’ll all make small talk about how our kids are, how is work, how the weather is, etc. etc. For the most part, it’s basic small talk.
But every few conversations, I get questions that really make me pause and think. Life goals, relationship status, my mental health, my children’s behavior or academics, my family’s reproduction (or lack there of) to name a few. Clearly some people don’t realize there are boundaries. I don’t need to have lengthy discussions or debates with people unless I choose to. These topics are reserved for discussion with my closest friends and family only, not my great aunt’s sister on my mother’s side who is just being nosy.
So I’ve master a great reply for discussions I don’t want to have. When a person crosses the line from small talk to personal items I don’t wish to discuss with them or digging into my life for gossip or judgement I simply say…
Why do you ask?
It’s a very easy question that when stated confidently will bounce the conversation ball right back to them. They’ll either back off because they’ve realize they were being nosey or they’ll come up with a reason they need to know. Nine out of ten times people take the clue that they’ve crossed my personal boundary of what I’m willing to share. Then it is my choice to indulge their question or steer the conversation to other topics.
So as you venture out into your extended family parties, school parties or even to your mom’s house … just remember that not having a conversation and not providing details about every aspect of your life is ok.