Our tips for answering the heavy questions asked at the time of the turkey


The pretty tablecloth is out, strewn with little stars, the table runner is overflowing with food, and everyone sits down to start tasting the famous granny butter snails. By an unfortunate coincidence of the seating plan, you find yourself next to your aunt Martine, not seen since a pre-Covid communion. Eight months away from retirement, she couldn’t find a better way to start the conversation than « So, love affairs, how are you? » Did you bring us nobody? »Sigh. Pile on the question you didn’t want to hear. Fortunately, 20 Minutes the right tips is there. We give you our best tips (with the help of our readers) to dodge the heavy questions at the time of the turkey.

Beyond the question that smells like the Scorpio gift box, the Christmas questioning can lead to introspection, which is never a pleasant exercise when you are forced to, explains Robert Zuili. Despite the awkwardness of the question, Martine can « sincerely take an interest in you », notes our clinical psychologist specializing in emotions in chief. Still, you can « live it badly » because auntie has « a lot of time to catch up ». For the exercise, let’s be indulgent and try to respond well to Martine.

Remove doubt or throw in a cold

« If we receive the question badly, it is because we have a doubt » on the intention of the questioner, believes Robert Zuili. To get by, the psychologist advises to « reverse the question, asking the other what he would like to hear » in order to understand his intention. All ambiguity cleared, it then becomes easier to respond frankly to Aunt Martine than not, we came alone because our last partner was sleeping with someone else and the epidemic limits the possibilities of meeting. « If the quality of the relationship is good, you don’t need to portray yourself as successful, » insists the psychologist.

But there you have it, there are also dysfunctional families. Of those where everything is only appearances. Of those who are nostalgic for Jacques Chirac when you supported Sandrine Rousseau. Because at Christmas, “there is both a collective and personal issue, we invite you to perpetuate a reference to the family structure”, stable and reassuring. Consequently, it is possible that « the weight of the convention becomes greater than the pleasure of the tradition », slips Robert Zuili. And that we no longer want to answer Aunt Martine at all. Proof of this is with Julie, 35 years old. Our reader, who answered our call for testimonies, confides that she can no longer endure the famous question: « So, when is the baby due? » As a family feast, celebrating the nativity (spoiler alert: the birth of Jesus), childbirth takes on a collective dimension at Christmas, points out Robert Zuili. And to add: “Not having children calls into question the sustainability of the group. The question can therefore be experienced as very intrusive. At the end of the day, Julie opted for a « very, very cash » I’m at the third miscarriage this year, otherwise are you okay?  » », Just to put everyone at ease when distributing the gifts.

Throwing in a cold or « breaking the mood », maybe this is the secret to leaving you alone for the next five Christmases. To answer the question « What about you? » « , Nathalie chose the » frank of the necklace « option and a story based on moving to the mountains and » my lover followed me « . With the flap closed abruptly, diners usually move on to another topic. And if that’s not enough, several Internet users offer equally embarrassing questions to retort, such as « by the way, where is your cirrhosis? » To your famous alcoholic uncle.

Diversion, procrastination and the big lie

For those who would like to play it less passive-aggressive, it is still possible to create a diversion by focusing on the debate that will plague the discussion. « Hidden behind my mask, I would direct the conversation towards Covid-19 or climate change, » warns Christine. Unless we delay, like our reader dac51 who explains: “In my family, New Years Eve is the pleasure of meeting around a good meal. Embarrassing questions arise at other times and on a one-to-one basis. « 

Of course, not everyone is equal when it comes to awkward questions. “The happier we are in what we do, the more we want to share it,” recalls Robert Zuili. Basically, maybe we don’t even like to answer this question because Mathieu, our cousin still number one, will eclipse us with the announcement of his engagement and that of his promotion. So, as the dining room can quickly turn into a theater stage at Christmas, there remains the radical solution of our Internet user, Sébastien: « I do as most, I tell it to myself … »

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