Family and friends dining at home celebrating christmas eve with traditional food and decoration, women talking together happy and casual

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NEW YORK — The holidays are typically when families and friends come together — and ask each other embarrassing questions, a new survey reveals. In fact, one in three adults are dreading the awkward conversations that inevitably start during family gatherings.

When it comes to what distant relatives love to ask about, the poll of 2,000 British people finds nosing into everyone’s relationships is likely at the top of your family’s mind. Some of the top eye-rolling questions respondents get include, “When are you going to have a baby?” “Have you found yourself a nice partner yet?” and “Why aren’t you married?”

Making things worse, 57 percent of respondents add that their relatives ask them these same questions every single year!

The survey, commissioned by Samsung KX and conducted by OnePoll, looked at all the topics that drive people crazy during holiday parties. Overall, a quarter of the poll don’t enjoy small talk in general and 41 percent feel “awkward” and “embarrassed” when relatives ask about their love life.

I’ll skip this conversation

Four in 10 people say sex is the topic of conversation they most want to avoid during the holidays. Discussing their own love life (31%), politics (29%), and money (28%) are also on the list of taboo topics. Another 15 percent don’t want to discuss their career with family and friends.

With the pandemic invading its second holiday season, COVID-19 is a topic one in five people also want their relatives to leave at the door.

It might be best to simply walk away from relatives talking about these subjects, with nearly half the poll (49%) saying these particular conversations often end up turning into arguments.

So, what’s the best way to dodge Christmas confrontations? One in four people say going for a walk helps them cope with annoying conversations during the holidays. Another 21 percent simply head for the drinks table and grab an alcoholic beverage.

Uh-oh, here come the in-laws

As many might expect, respondents feel their in-laws are the most annoying to be around during the holidays. In fact, more people named their in-laws as the biggest party poopers than their mothers or their siblings.

While some may think they can find a “safe” conversation by chatting up their friends, the survey reveals that even these exchanges can be a turn-off during the holidays. One in five people (19%) say they dread talking about politics with old friends at parties, while another 18 percent cringe at sex conversations and 16 percent hate talking money with their pals.

Other awkward moments during Christmas parties include having to pretend to like a bad Christmas present (28%), watching a family argument break out (18%), and someone telling a really bad joke (16%). Despite all these embarrassing moments many people deal with each holiday season, 48 percent of adults say they’re still looking forward to the holidays this year more than in 2020.


  1. Have you put on weight?
  2. What’s happening in your love life?
  3. Have you found a partner/boyfriend/girlfriend yet?
  4. When are you going to have a baby?
  5. Why are you still single?
  6. Why aren’t you married yet?
  7. When are you going to get married?
  8. Do you still see/hear from your ex?
  9. When are you going to get a proper job?
  10. When are you going to buy a house?
  11. Would you like children one day?
  12. When are we going to meet your new boyfriend/girlfriend?
  13. Why did you do that to your hair?
  14. What happened to that nice person you were dating?
  15. When are you going to move out?

This article was originally published on December 25, 2022.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Emory Kendrick says:

    My standard answer for nosy questions….no matter who ask them is ‘ Why is that important to you?”. If they persist…”It’s none of your business>”

  2. Emory Kendrick says:

    My simple answer to the 15 questions has always been…”It’s none of your business”. It ends the nosy questions right away. If you are too timid for that response, ask “Why is that important to you?”