I am a typical hockey Mom who spends most of her weekends and a couple of nights a week sitting in chilly hockey rinks, trying to warm up, while sipping on coffee and making small talk with other hockey parents.
I have two children in hockey. My eldest is 13, and has been playing since he was five. One could say I'm a veteran Hockey Mom. This season, my nine-year-old daughter has also joined hockey. Through the years I have encountered all kinds of hockey parents: the Dad that coaches from the stands, the Mom that has a few too many drinks at tournaments, and the parents who are always asking you to pick up their child for practice.
I can handle all of them. This year brought on a new challenge: the nosy hockey Mom. She wants to know everything about me: my age, how much I make, and the last straw came during the holiday tournament when she asked me if I had Botox. Really, she plainly said: "Wow, you look great, even at two in the morning. Did you get Botox?" I couldn't believe it! Yes, she may have had a bit too much wine, but please, a little discretion. I simply said: "Thank you," then trying to hide my shocked look, I excused myself to the bathroom and ignored her until it was time to say "good night." How can I restore my private bubble and answer her future nosy questions?
Wow! That is a pretty personal question and you did very well. You acknowledged the compliment and excused yourself. That is a safe and effective option to maintain your privacy and a better option than being rude and saying: "None of your business."
With the holidays just gone by, I am certain that many readers have experienced similar Sticky Situations when they met with their family members. Many of them, usually aunties, don't seem to have personal boundaries. Their justification for asking these personal questions is that they've known you since you were a baby and may have changed your diaper once or twice. That is why I call these questions the "auntie questions." I say that with love for my aunties, especially my godmother, while remembering that I am also an auntie now.
When being asked nosy questions by family members, community members, colleagues, and complete strangers, you do have options. Foremost, if you are comfortable, you can answer truthfully. When you are feeling that your privacy is invaded, you can answer with humour or you can ask a question in return. You can state your boundaries or you can change the subject. As well you can always give vague responses or excuse yourself, as you successfully did.
Here are a couple of classic nosy questions and possible answers:
Q: "How old are you?"
A: "Today I feel like I'm 20!"
Q: "How come a great woman like you isn't married?"
A: "Well, I guess I just forgot to download the new prince charming app on my iPhone."
Question in return
Q:"How much do you make?"
A: "I make enough to provide well for my family but not quite as much as I would like. Do you have any tips auntie Jane?"
Stating your privacy boundaries
Q: "You two lovebirds are so cute! When are you gonna have kids?"
A: "That's a pretty personal decision. We would rather discuss that privately."
Changing the subject
Q: "How much did you pay for this house?"
A: "A lot less than Celine's new Vegas home and we are very happy here. Can I offer you a beverage?"
Q:"Love your purse! How much did it cost?"
A: "Probably more than what I should have paid for it, but I really like it too. It goes with everything."
Q:"Is that a real diamond?"
A: "Please excuse me I need to check in with my son. He is home alone."
In my experience these encounters with "nosy aunties" usually involve redundant questions based on one's current situation. My recommendation is to formulate your responses ahead of time. Prepare a couple of safe responses for most "auntie questions."
I have two favourites: "I'm a pretty private person and I would rather keep that information to myself," or "You are making me blush; I'd like to take the fifth on this one please."
And last, you can always say: "Why do you ask?" That will surely stop the snooping around and will definitely redefine your personal bubble.
One very last thing, whether you had Botox or not, enjoy looking great, even at two in the morning!
Have a Sticky Situation of you own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will reply promptly.
Follow Julie Blais Comeau on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EtiquetteJulie