Yesterday we posted this picture on Facebook, making the past 13 weeks officially official in a social media sort of way…
I am delighted to be out of the dead-tired, secret of secrets zone – because, for one thing, I’m not the best at trying to fake it till I make it. And then there existed the belly that seemed to pop out at six, seven weeks along, warranting questions and stares and awkward pauses from friends and strangers alike. So, whether pregnant or not, what do you do when unwanted questions arise? Here are 10 helpful and very, very wise and perhaps a little humorous suggestions for combatting those sticky inquiries…
1. Laugh it off. Laughter, in finest form, communicates to the nosy interloper that her words are humorous, and more importantly, that she indeed is hilarious. Consider continuing to laugh and/or stifle a giggle in case your friend doesn’t quite see the humor in her extremely amusing joke.
2. Change the subject. Divert the conversation to a new direction by telling a whole new story altogether. Keep a pocketful of entertaining and lengthy stories for this very purpose, so that 15 minutes into hearing about the time your chains flew off your tires in a torrential snowstorm and you thought you were going to die (exclamation point!), she’ll have forgotten her highly inappropriate question in the first place.
3. Exhibit perplexed curiosity. The point of this rhetorical response is to leave your acquaintance more confused than before she started obtrusively staring at your stomach. Consider using such phrases as, “That’s a very interesting question,” or “Well, whatever do you mean?” while gazing in intense wonder at the clouds, pondering over her musings.
4. Get mad – get very, very mad. If you’ve taken Acting 101, this is a particularly strong tactic you can employ, especially if you are in a highly social setting. Out for lunch? Throw your glass of water at her and storm out of the restaurant, huffing and puffing, cursing and fuming all the way to your car. Note: this may not be the best tactic unless she is an A-list friend who can later handle the truth and an apology in another five weeks.
5. Show off your quoting skills. Do you have only five or six memorized lines that you tend to pull out whenever Different Strokes strikes your fancy? Have no fear! That’s enough to counter unwanted questions. Make it into a game: quote enough television shows or movies so that your friend will begin to play along with you. Think about starting with the following: “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?” (Different Strokes), “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” (Dumb and Dumber), and “You want to know the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” (A Few Good Men). Your turn!
6. Ask her a question. I mean, let’s face it: what prying playmate doesn’t want to talk about herself? Proceed to ask her about her life, her current job, and her hell-raising (see also: angelic) children. This is deflection at its finest.
7. Return to the 3rd grade playground. Remember when the school bully would walk up to you during recess in an effort to break you? Well, eight-year-old comebacks are not easily forgotten, so feel free to bust out the lines of your childhood. Helpful examples include (but are certainly not limited to), “I know you are, but what am I?” “Your mom!” and “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
8. Play therapist. Gaze intensely into your friend’s eyes and ask her to tell you more about this question she just asked. Nod understandingly and utter “mmm hmm, mmm hmm” after every other word. It helps to have a pen and paper handy for notes, and follow up with further questions about her childhood and her feelings in general.
9. Ask her a highly inappropriate question. Anything is fair game now, right? Put on your old lady hat, and think of all those questions and comments Great Aunt Mary asked over the Thanksgiving dinner table to various members of the family. What questions elicited a change in subject, a purposefully overstuffed mouthful of food, or a new statement altogether by your sensitive soul of a grandfather?
10. Blame it on a bad connection. If you find yourself confronted with her inquiry while on the phone, be sure to practice your static skills before picking up your cell. “What, what? Tschhhhhhhh. Hello, hello? I can’t hear you. Tschhhhhhhh – I think we’re breaking up. Bad connection.” Note: this may not work out quite so well in person, but you can give it a try nonetheless.
Because here’s my honest answer: your lil’ secret is your business. Your pregnancy is your business and your dating life is your business, just as your political views are your business and your family drama is your business. Although you can answer your friend’s question in earnest truth, as the Belle of Amherst herself wrote, we must tell it slant anyhow. So why not have a little fun in the meantime?
Good luck, friends! (And, pun-lease, let me know if you end up using one of these rebuttals!)
xo, c. (And Little Caramels #1 and #2).
What about you? What awkward questions have you been asked, no matter the situation, and how then did you respond? Which response from above would you MOST like to master?0