It’s not you, it’s them.

cat looking over fence
Credit: Jenny Ondioline

But, you don’t know anyone there!

How will you get a job/husband/house?

But, you can’t even pronounce French menu items.

What will you do when your mom gets older?

These questions and comments can cut like a knife.  We’re especially vulnerable to them when we’re still working these issues out with ourselves.  Sometimes it’s genuine curiosity, but often it’s a reflection of their own fears and misconceptions.

If any of these sorts of questions make you sweat, here are a few things you can do about it:

Deflect them with some standard answers. You are not obligated to go into detail, after all, these are actually pretty personal.  My favorites include,

I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I’ll do the same thing I would here…just, there.

I don’t know, but I’m excited to see how that pans out.

That’s something we plan to work out between us.

Have a few of these in your pocket, they work!

If something someone said is still niggling at you at the end of the day sit down for a few minutes (and maybe a pen and paper) and ask yourself, is there any way this was about them and not me? Write down a few possibilities. Sure, you’re making them up and you don’t know if they’re true, but that’s the point. We never really know what someone’s thinking. The point is that we can’t be sure they’re judging or criticizing our plans. If it’s still bothering you, ask yourself, am I bothered because I don’t know the answer and think I should, or because I think their comment is true? Explore that. Is there anything you can do about it now? Is there work to be done here?

I hope this helps. You can’t control what people will say to you, but you can control what you do about it!