Be your best self.

9 Christmas Day Conversation Topics That Don’t Totally Alienate Your Single Family Members

A few weeks ago I asked my Facebook crew what their biggest stress is at Christmas time. I was expecting most of the answers to be about money and travel but I got three almost identical answers relating to something I’d almost totally forgotten about. These questions came from single people who are sick to death of hearing the question ‘So have you met anyone special?‘ every few days over the course of the Christmas season.

a pair of shoes on a wooden floor

I can totally relate to this.

Even though I’ve been with Mr Smaggle for over a decade, before him I was very, very single. He was the first boyfriend that my extended family met so I had a good couple of awkward Christmases where I was the single one and inevitably I would be asked many times throughout the day how my love life was going. I felt a bit shit about being single because my cousins always had boyfriends and it seemed like I was disappointing everyone by not having a significant other that they could torture on Christmas day. It wasn’t just Christmas day though, it was any time I saw people I hadn’t seen in a while and it was always ‘Have you got yourself a man? Seeing anyone? What happened to that guy you were seeing last time we spoke?’. I really hated it and I’m noticing that things haven’t changed much since I was single. For example, there’s always this odd sense of relief among my peers when one of my single friends hooks up with someone in a serious way. It’s almost like we can tick them off the list and stop worrying about them. It’s stupid, particularly because no relationships are permanent and there’s actually not anything interesting about whether or not someone is in a relationship. It rarely has any impact on anyone else’s life.

I’ve certainly been guilty of thoughtlessly enquiring about a single persons’ love life in the past and a few years ago I decided to start talking about other things instead. If you want to try this too, here are a few suggestions for conversation if you’re stuck for topics.

1. What’s happening with work?

2. Have you been watching That Amazing TV Show?

3. Hey, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

4. Tell me about that awesome roller derby team/crocheting club/ukulele band you’re part of?

5. How was your trip to That Awesome Place?

6. Did you hear about That Awesome Thing That Happened?

7. If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?

8. If you could have dinner with three famous people, who would they be?

9. I listened to a great podcast the other day and I learnt this Really Cool Thing. What do you think about this Really Cool Thing?

Of course, if anyone wants to talk about how they hate being single, how they’re thinking of getting divorced, how much they love living alone or want to tell me about their hot new Italian lover they are more than welcome to. In fact, if you pour me a glass of red you can talk about relationships all night… but I will not be starting the conversation because there are way important things in the lives of single people than the fact that they aren’t dating anyone.

Are you guilty of putting singles on the grill? Or are you a grilled single?

P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.


  1. KezUnprepared 7 years ago

    I love this. If someone brings up a new relationship or their single status, I will listen and talk with them until the cows come home, but I don’t think that should be a go-to topic as small talk!! That person is complete and awesome single or not – there are so many other topics which are really fascinating!
    I also feel this way about people who only want to know what you do to earn money. Subject change, please! It’s not that I am not willing to talk about it (some of what I do makes me really happy and passionate), it’s just a topic that requires no imagination!!
    Don’t even get me started on people who ask when you’re going to have kids/another kid. It’s not just annoying, but can be really hurtful to some people!
    I always want to know WHO someone is. Not what they do or who they’re attached to!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      I totally agree! I’ve got a few single mates it’s never fun around Christmas time for them with all the relos going to town asking them about their relationships. I don’t mind people talking about work as long as it’s interesting and not a rant about how much they hate their boss that I’ve never met. 🙂

  2. April 7 years ago

    This is the first year I’ll be bringing a boyfriend to Christmas with me. I’m only 27 but still, for years my family has grilled me about boys, even wondered whether I’m a lesbian. I just wanted to have some fun on my own while I was still young! I feel like now they will start grilling my younger sister instead.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh totally – half of my family thought I was a lesbian for years. Why does single = gay?

  3. Harlow 7 years ago

    My biggest trigger question is the what’s happening with work one! Two reasons – I don’t want to be reminded of work on the holiest of days where I am stuffing myself with cheese and wine. But also because in the past where I had been in between jobs at the time I hated getting a grilling from relatives who felt the need to remind me how shit, lazy and useless my generation is and that back in their day they were home owners at my age. I also avoid asking it because I know this question is also likely to bring on a tirade about how much someone hates their boss/how they totally aren’t getting the pay check that *they* think they should be and general negativity.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Yes! Why get reminded of work? My family isn’t too bad – there’s the occasional rant about something weird but most of the time it’s pretty good. My grandparents are pretty good too – Mr Smags and I live in sin unmarried and without children and we rarely hear a word about it!

  4. Missy D 7 years ago

    I was a grilled single for a long time, but I generally never ask about love lives at all unless the other person brings it up. My sister is recently single and was dreading going home for Christmas for this reason, so I just ran interference for her and switched topics onto the other person. People love to talk about themselves. 😉

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      That’s the best – people DO love to talk about themselves. It’s my best secret weapon. 🙂

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