This week so many of us will be sitting down to holiday tables with friends, relatives, in-laws, friends of friends, and likely some people you’ve never met before, all who want to know the details about how your planning process is going! Here are some tips on how to navigate the questions gracefully without ruining your favorite side dish (#teammashedpototes!).
- Set yourself up for a positive experience by reminding yourself that all these questions come from a place of excitement and love. This takes some work on your part (if only it also burned calories!), because after the tenth time you’ve answered the same question your patience will naturally start to wear thin. Try a little mantra you repeat in your head when you feel your blood pressure start to rise or your patience dip low. Some of my favorites: ‘all with love’, ‘I’m grateful for this support’...and if all else fails ‘honeymoons and kitchenaids’. (joking! but use it if you have to!)
- You are in control of how much information you share. You by no means have to be an open book about the highs and lows of planning. Nor do you have to share every detail of your plan for the day. A great response for pressing questions is, “we have some surprise elements planned for everyone, and can’t wait until you can see them.” Share the details you are comfortable with and don’t for one second feel badly about keeping your mouth shut for the rest.
- The art of the graceful sidestep. There will always be a handful of questions that you’re just not ready to answer in that moment. Either you just legitimately don’t have an answer for them yet, or it’s an area you’re struggling with still. Those are the questions that hit you like tiny little daggers twisting around in your stomach. When you start to feel flustered, perfect these steps: 1) Big warm smile on your face, 2) Politely give the world's most vague response and 3) Shift the conversation with an action that involves going to get, or passing you food or drinks. Here’s how it goes down: “That is a great question. Who knew there were just so many things to think about with this?! Have you had pie yet? I think we could use some pie right now”
Be warm, polite and firm and you’ll maintain your boundaries and your composure. Then go back and re-read #2 and remember it’s absolutely none of their business if you don’t want to share it! Pass the mashed potatoes!