What You Tell Your Parents Vs. What You Mean


Whether you’re home for the holidays, a long weekend, or you’ve moved back to your childhood home for the foreseeable future, you’re forced to interact with actual adults. Your parents and their friends are curious about what you’re up to, and why wouldn’t they be? To them, you have your whole life ahead of you— you’re young, attractive (more attractive than old people, anyway), and don’t have kids tying you down. To yourself, options are limited.

Because your parent’s friends have known you since you were little, they feel they have the right to interrogate you about your personal life. While the adults in your life are just being friendly, you’re less than enthusiastic about sharing the gory details of your own personal postgrad problems. In college, their routine questioning was completely fine. When they asked if you liked school, you could confidently respond that it was amazing, the best four years of your life. When they asked if you were seeing anyone, it was perfectly acceptable to smirk, thinking of all of the guilt-free hookups you were having. Now your parents and their friends want to talk to you like you’re an actual adult, even if you’re nowhere near ready to grow up. Here’s what you say versus what you wish you could tell them.

“Are you eating enough?”

What You Say: “Of course! I’ve got some great recipes I found on the internet.”
What You Mean: I fluctuate between not eating anything at all because the stress of spending so many dollars on groceries is getting to me and vegging out on pizza bagels, which I hear is unacceptable behavior for someone who’s not a 12-year-old boy.

“Are you seeing anyone?”

What You Say: “I’m just dating around.”
What You Mean: This question always makes me seriously consider either faking a coming out party or going into detail about my sex life, because I think that would make everyone squirm, and not in the good way. If I was seeing someone special you would know, as my parents would immediately tell you in their excitement that I was finally curtailing my (almost) out of control drinking habits.

“How’s the job going?”

What You Say: “It’s good.”
What You Mean: Almost unbearable. My boss is an unreasonable asshole who doubles as a despot. He contacts me 24/7 in a way that makes me think he has absolutely no life and possibly is interested in me in a romantic way. I’m under so much stress that I may be developing an ulcer, although I’m still unclear on what exactly an ulcer is. If I have to work a job I hate until retirement, I will either develop a drinking problem that makes the one I have now look like child’s play, or become a bum who moves to a beach because I’m unable to deal with adult life. While stripping used to seem sad, I don’t think I would mind someone throwing dollar bills at me now if it only involved getting naked, since I’ve already lost so much of my dignity. Alternately, I may move home and make you baby me for the rest of my existence because I’m unable to exist in the real world. Is becoming an adult baby, minus the enormous diaper, a viable option? Asking for myself. I’m sure my parents will keep you posted, but in their efforts to make you think they have a well-adjusted child they’ll continue to keep you updated almost entirely with lies.

“Do you love your apartment?”

What You Say: “It’s great! I really love being independent.”
What You Mean: I love the fact that I can walk around naked whenever I want, make a hot mess on a regular basis, and have a refrigerator that’s only constant is a bottle of vodka, but I do miss having parents to cook and clean for me, as I seem unable to take care of myself. I need parental supervision.

“Are you planning on staying in the same place for the rest of your life?”

What You Say: “I’m not sure. I love it, but might want a change.”
What You Mean: I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know what my plans are until my next paycheck, let alone the next ten years. I don’t question your Mossad style, so stop asking me all these questions because I’m not a fortuneteller, although I’d like to be. I haven’t heard from Miss Cleo in a while, maybe that’s a possible job opportunity for me.

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