10 Nosy Questions Everyone in a Relationship Gets—and How to Respond
Whether you're dating or married your friends and family are sure to ask some crazy personal questions. Here's how to gently respond to even the nosiest of loved ones.
When are you getting engaged/married?
While it's unbelievably annoying (and nosy) when your Aunt Jean asks when you're getting married—practically days after you announced your engagement—take heart: It's quite possible that she's either trying her best to connect or she's just conversationally challenged. "Sometimes a big smile and a laugh helps here," says Andrea Bonior, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and speaker in Washington, DC, and author of The Friendship Fix. "Just say. 'Don't worry you'll be the first to know!' And make sure you cross these items off your newly engaged couple checklist.
When are you having kids?
Whether you simply don't want them or have been trying for years with no luck, this nosy question can sting. "With all the awareness of what a touchy subject this could be you would think people wouldn't ask this but they do," Dr. Bonior says. "This is personal enough that you should wait a beat, let your eyes get wide and say 'wow now there's a question.' That's intrusive enough that you have to send a signal that they've crossed the line." On the fence? Here are the questions you need to ask before having kids.
You're not going to have just one kid, right?
As soon as you have one kid, start bracing yourself for this question. In this case, it's good to have a comeback. Dr. Bonoir suggests replying with humor and saying something along the lines of, "'Actually we are. Why mess with perfection." Find out what else parents of young children wish you knew.
Is your partner the same religion?
"An immediate response could be 'Oh wow, I'm surprised to be asked that.' This puts the nosy comment back on them," shares Dr. Bonior. But it depends on the context. "If your religious grandmother would be devastated if you date someone who isn't of your religious background, that's a longer conversation to have. If it's someone who is just curious, it's time to turn it on them with a mere 'why do you ask?'" she says.
How long have you even known each other?
Two weeks, six months, five years...why does it matter? "If you feel there's judgment there, try a snappy comment, like, 'It feels long enough for me,'" shares Dr. Bonior. "Another thing you could do is to reflect it right back to them. For example: If someone asks, 'you're moving in together so soon?' You could say 'Does it?' That usually is enough to get the subject changed." Here are the questions you should ask before shacking up.
Is your long-distance relationship the real deal?
"People ask this and they're basically judging the fact that a long-distance relationship isn't real until you live in the same town," Dr. Bonior says. "They'll say, 'Wow you aren't even living in the same city. When are you going to be in the same place?' Answer that quickly as follows: 'You'll be the first to know.' That short sentence shows that person that they've intruded." And brush up on these tips for helping your long-distance relationship go the distance.
Is your partner ever going to get a real job?
This happens if, say, a woman in law school is dating a guy who works as a bartender. Someone might say 'Is he going to be a bartender forever?' Or, if your partner is unemployed someone might say 'When is he going to get a job.' Your reply depends on how snarky you want to be, says Dr. Bonior. "One of my favorites is 'I'll let him know you're concerned,'" she shares.
Why are you guys still renting? Aren't you ever going to buy a home?
Whether you're happy having a landlord or are scrupulously saving, it's no one's business. "It's really hard to answer this nosy question without losing your cool," Dr. Bonior says. She suggests saying something along the lines of, "We can sit down with our budget spreadsheets next time we see you," "I'm not going to sit here and talk about my finances," or "We're happy where we are right now.'" Speaking of, find out the surprising costs every first-time home buyer needs to know about.
Your partner seems to spend a lot of time golfing.
"The mild response would be 'I love how he/she has his/her own interests' or 'He's really into it and I like how much he likes it.'" says Dr. Bonior. Other options: "We both enjoy the time we have to ourselves" or "I like when he's out getting exercise rather than being on Facebook."
Why doesn't your partner ever come to family gatherings?
"The question is probably coming from a place of 'I'm judging your partner' or 'I feel like your partner is judging us.' In this case, you have to put on the kid gloves," says Dr. Bonior. "Say something like, 'He really would like to be here but it's hard to make the schedules work.' Try this phrase to stop gossip in its tracks, next time you're speaking to a nosy Nelly.