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To ensure you aren't blindsided this holiday season, we've enlisted Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute to suggest some polite comebacks, and Kathy Griffin, who recently published her memoir, Official Book Club Selection, to provide some zingers we wish we could say.
Inappropriate Comment: "It must be really hard still being unemployed."
I Should Say: "Tell it like it is," says Post. "You can say, 'Yes, it is.' Although what I'd love to say is 'Not as hard as talking to you.'"
I Wish I Could Say: "Actually it's great being unemployed. Now I NEVER miss Jerry Springer."
Inappropriate Comment: "You're better off without [insert ex-husband's name]; we never really liked him."
I Should Say: "Onward and upward."
I Wish I Could Say: "Yeah! To hell with him. Now I can finally date Hugh Jackman."
Inappropriate Comment: "We would never have let our kids talk to us that way."
I Should Say: "I'll be talking to him privately."
I Wish I Could Say: "Luckily my kids can talk however they want once they are in prison."
Inappropriate Comment: "So your son graduated in May and still hasn't found a job?"
I Should Say: "In this economy, he's certainly in good company."
I Wish I Could Say: "It's okay, we live on hugs."
Inappropriate Comment: "The house looks great, how much did you pay for it?"
I Should Say: "Just like with any house, an arm and a leg."
I Wish I Could Say: "It's one of those kits. I ordered it from a catalog for $149.99."
Originally published on LHJ.com, December 2009.