Smart Answers to Stupid Questions You Get Asked When You Visit Home

Visiting home again after being away for half a semester? While this is often a welcome retreat from the stress of the school year, family units can often be overbearing. Good-intentioned though they may be, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles you may get to see this spring break (or later on in the year, like the holidays,) can bombard you with questions, each one thinking they’re the first to ask. It can feel as if sometimes they’re starting to read from a list and take turns interrogating you, as if where and if you’re going to graduate school is the key to unlocking some great mystery they’ve been trying to solve since you left for school in January. I’ve compiled a list here of the most common questions family members tend to ask, and the answers you wish you could snap at them, (as well as the ones you probably should give them.)

“So how’s school?” Or any variation of “what are your grades like,” etc

“I don’t know, Aunt Linda, fine I suppose. How was your divorce?”

It’s not that fun when you’re just trying to chill with your loved ones and they keep bringing up the greatest source of stress in your life at the moment. For them, it has probably been a while since their school days, so the memories have faded. Or perhaps the matriarch you were once close to now feels like you have little in common, and she’s trying to find a way to make conversation. In situations like this, remember your family probably doesn’t intend to stress you out. Try to gently explain you’re on a break right now, and that you’d rather keep your mind off of it. Steer the conversation towards something more productive and relaxing, or maybe suggest something on Netflix you can all enjoy and discuss later.

“Do you have a significant other yet?”

“No. Have you had your overbitten snaggletooth corrected yet? Hm. Guess not.”

This question is especially awkward for closeted queer individuals. It’s hard, especially if you’re afraid your family won’t accept you for who you are. Either you’re single, but never going to have that husband that your grandmother envisioned you with, or you’ve been secretly dating the girl from across the dorm hall for the entire school year and you’re tired of hiding it. Or maybe your sexuality isn’t an issue at all, and instead, you’re stressed because you’re single and the family pressure isn’t helping. Or maybe you’ve been recently broken up with and romance is the last thing on your mind. Whatever your situation, now is the time to tell your slightly-nosy aunt that you’re going with the flow at the moment and your business is your business, then change the subject.

“What are you gonna do with that degree?” or “what are you doing after school?”

“Well, if I am able to find a job in the economy that your generation ruined, I’ll probably use my degree to be happier or make more money than you ever were or did. Would you like some more salad?”

Honestly, I just tell them I’m going for my master’s degree and hope that stops them asking more questions; even if it’s not completely true, they’ll still have an answer that’ll satisfy them until you get your bachelor’s.

“Why not just settle down and get married?”

“Because that’s not what I have my eye on at the moment. Why’d you decide to forgo school and live off your husband your whole life?”

Here at Murray State, a lot of us are from the Bible Belt, and with that comes a lot of traditional viewpoints, like women don’t need school and should just focus on finding a spouse and making grandchildren. (yes, even in 2018.) Here’s one of those situations where I encourage you to let them have it. Maybe not in the same way as the example above, but telling your uncle the hard truth about the way the world works now, and that you’re pursuing your degree to better yourself above all, is extremely satisfying.

Any question that makes you want to pull your hair out and rush into your room like a 14-year-old again.

This could range from basic ignorance to blatant bigotry, or even just your mother slipping into her old job as your warden, with you being the angsty prisoner. There’s a well-known phenomenon of regressing back into your childhood self when you visit home. You’re not well-established as an adult yet, and going home, where the allure of your familiar role may be too strong, opens the door for you to act like a child because you’re not being treated like an adult. The simple remedy to this may be to just learn to let that shit go: don’t pick fights with your family, and be the bigger person if they’re on the bad end. Don’t give them a pass on bad behavior, but don’t enable it either. And if push comes to shove, maybe locking yourself in your room isn’t the worst idea after all...just kidding.

(Thumbnail by Evelyn Paris on Unsplash)