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The holiday season is here, and despite all the reasons for pure, childlike excitement—peppermint mochas, anyone?—for the single gals among us, the holidays may also bring dread. How should you navigate those awkward dinner conversations, like the one with your overly concerned aunt who is eager to end the Great Boyfriend Drought of 2012 (and maybe also 2011)?

Before allowing the conversation to spiral into dire warnings of your ticking biological clock and stoic wisdom, like “First you think about who you will have; before long you are wondering who will have you!” (an actual quote from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner), we offer these suggestions for navigating the conversation minefield.

  1. Capitalize on their concern. Ask them to set you up with someone eligible. “Who do you know?” works as a quick comeback. 
  2. Choose the lighter path. Laugh and stay cheerful: “Haha, auntie, no one was worthy to bring to your home!” 
  3. Stay confident. “I’m enjoying the break from dating right now!” Enough said. 
  4. Change the subject. “I’m swamped with this fabulous new business idea I’ve been working on! Have you heard about it?” Sometimes auntie has no idea what to talk with you about besides romance. Letting her into your exciting new plans will offer alternative dinner table topics (for now and in the future).
  5. Don’t despair. If you hear yourself saying “There are just no good men out there!” … stop. This will start you down a path of no return and put you in a frame of mind to accept a date with anything that moves. Dangerous. 
  6. Don’t wallow in self-hatred. The phrase “No one will have me” is not only false, but long-term acceptance of these thought patterns has been known to create frown lines—so not your look!

The holidays can be fraught with stresses, but nosy family members shouldn’t be one of them. At the very least, you can tell them to stuff it and go back to enjoying your turkey!

This post originally appeared on the VerilyMag blog.

Katie Hinderer

Katie Hinderer is a freelance writer and social media enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism from Marquette University. Over the years she has transitioned from traditional publishing to online writing. To be honest, she owns too many social media accounts and posts frequently to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. After years of 9-5 writing in New York, Katie transitioned to freelance writing. Desks are too confining. She now contributes to a number of online publications and maintains a style blog at www.ModlyChic.com.