11 Annoying Questions Every 20-Something Has Had to Answer

“So, what do you do?”

Photo by Christopher Ferguson

Finding your passion—and turning it into money—is tricky for anyone, but especially for women. The persistent gender wage gap, the lack of top female executives, and the dearth of mentorship present unique challenges. Luckily, our friends at Levo League give young women the tools and resources they need to navigate the workplace and to feel empowered and challenged in their careers. Check out their site for tips, tricks, and generally pretty wonderful advice about how to get the job you deserve.

A lot of things happen in your 20s. Or rather, I should say, a lot of things could happen in your 20s. You could land your dream job. Meet a really hot guy or girl. Date him or her and get married. Or break up with him or her and date a really hot guy or girl who is secretly just as nerdy as you are. You could travel around the world. You could learn how to do a headstand during yoga (and if you do that, please call me. I’m hopeless). Given all of this excitement, other people looove to crack open your situation and inspect it like the inside of a fancy gift bag. You know what happens next: Your blood boils, your throat shrinks down to an inch, and you just want to find the nearest exit. But here’s the cold, hard truth: Responding with a snarky comment just makes it that much more obvious that you’re annoyed by the question. Respond like a pile of cucumbers at the spa, and all anyone can do is think you’re happy with your decisions (because you are, you just don’t need everyone getting all up in your biznaz). Alas, here are a few of the most common questions you’re bound to face if you haven’t already—with helpful, no-fail scripts:

1. “What are you doing after graduation?”

Welcome to your 20s, sister. Consider this question a rite of passage. You’ve now joined a not-so-elite club of people who are also in their 20s, who must now have their plans for life’s biggest milestones—career, marriage, family—ready to lay out for every inquisitive grandma, barista, and networking event overachiever. Your action plan for this gem exists here (plus other scripts if you’re still in school).

READ MORE: Your Ultimate Guide to Networking in Grad School

2. “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

The level of annoying in this case is entirely dependent on the person, er, the bride (you have to call her “the bride” now). When your best friend dating back to Beanie Babies gets engaged, you’ll basically go out and buy a pantsuit (maybe to convey your enthusiasm for wearing monochromatic outfits?) and campaign to be her maid of honor. But she’s your BAE, your Day One, and so, “Obviously…!!!” But when it’s your freshman year roommate whom you haven’t talked to since your last round of HBD Facebook posts, it’s within your rights to say, “Wow, what an incredible honor. I can’t wait to be there on your special day, but I just don’t think I could do the job justice.”

3. “So, what do you do?”

In other words, this is the super-boring #basic question people like to pull out at parties (we’re all guilty of it). A simple formula that’ll get things going: “I work in [insert field] at a company called [insert company].” (Or, “I’m currently looking for a job in [insert field],” if you’re unemployed.) From there, you can just not say anything, add what you do as a side hustle if your job is currently soul-crushing, or you can throw it back and say, “What about you?”  

4. “How’s it going living together?”

Yes, moving in together is a big milestone, and while I would love to sit here and unpack my relationship, “It’s pretty much the same as it was before—we make dinner, order pizza when we’re lazy, and eat it in front of the TV—except now we have cuter pillows and real drinking glasses!”

READ MORE: The Ultimate Way to Stand Out When Job Hunting

5. “Did you see my post on Facebook?”

No, Aunt Debby, I didn’t. :-/

6. “When are you getting engaged?”

Ah, the Holy Grail. Whether you met each other six months ago, two years ago, and definitely if you’ve been dating a second over three years, you will be asked this question a hundred, zillion, billion times. Older people—especially older people at weddings—just think this is such a cute question! Here is how I think we should all be allowed to answer it in 2015: “When one of us decides to ask the other person, and the other person decides to say yes.”

7. “When are you going to have kids?”

If you’re already hitched, this quickly replaces No. 6 as the Holy Grail. (I can’t say for sure because I’m not married; I’m just taking a wild guess here.) “Maybe after we’ve grown up!” should make people laugh along with you because you are ONLY IN YOUR 20s.

READ MORE: 8 Women’s Conferences You Should Have on Your Radar This Fall

8. “What size are you?” 

Pause. Breathe. Cucumbers at the spa. There you go. “Depends on the month!” And if it’s gift-related: “You’re so sweet to think of me—a gift card would actually be much appreciated.”

9. “Why do you want to work here?”

Of the many, many interview questions you’ll be asked when you’re job hunting, this one can be tough. Even when you do really, really want to work there, you don’t want to come across like a pathetic stalker who spent the previous night memorizing every executive team member’s Twitter, LinkedIn, and personal webpage. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a script on this one, but write out a few lines in advance, and you’ll be golden.

READ MORE: The Power of Giving Positive Feedback

10. [From a guy you went on two dates with and that was enough—and/or an ex-boyfriend] “Hey, do you want to [insert very elaborate plans for a date that would take up an entire afternoon and possibly evening] on Saturday?”

No…just…no! Don’t answer.

11. “Can I pay you back later?”

You’re poor. I’m poor. Everyone is poor. “Oh, are you on Venmo?” is an easy way to squash this bug. If you’re confronting one of those retro flip-phone users and the monetary amount in question is under $20, say yes and remind ’em in a week.

What annoying questions did I miss? Tweet us @levoleague and let us know—plus how you’d answer it!