Let me break this down for you – you’re at a dinner party and you have to use the restroom so you leave your guy by the bar to mingle. You do your thing and when you’re finished powdering your nose and squishing all your flub back into your fancy dress, you come out to find him talking to a group of people you didn’t come with and you don’t know. No problem. Just walk up, stand by your guy, and introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Natalie Workman – it’s great to meet you.”
They introduce themselves and you all shake hands. Hopefully you dried yours well – no one likes shaking someone’s damp hand. Then there’s a slightly awkward pause and the dreaded words come out.
Is she your daughter?
Oh. No. He. Didn’t.
Yes – yes, he did. Now that it’s out there, you have to address it. If it happens enough times, you and your guy should have this routine memorized as there’s really only a few good ways to respond. We’ve been asked this question 20+ times and it gets easier to answer every time. It just takes some practice.
Your primary goals are:
Not embarrassing the asker
I always give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t believe anyone intentionally asks this question with malicious intent – besides this one time when a woman was clearly trying to embarrass us. But hey, I’m never embarrassed when I act gracefully. So that’s what you must do regardless of the asker’s intent. Most of the time it’s an honest mistake and they feel terrible afterwards – especially if they asked in front of a group of people.
Making light of the situation
You absolutely cannot take yourself too seriously here. If he looks like he could be your dads age, get over the fact that someone asked the obvious. Try to find humor in it and remember a time when you falsely assessed a situation. The best thing you can do is be witty and prepared for it. It is funny, isn’t it?
There are ways to avoid putting everyone in this awkward position and the best defense is always a good offense. So if you’re worried about getting asked, especially if you’re in a new environment, try this out:
Ways to Avoid This Question
Instead of just introducing yourself with your names – add “I’m (insert his name)’s (insert relationship status).” For us, this looks like “Hi, I’m Natalie – Brandon’s fiancé.” This removes all chances that someone will mistake you for his daughter but it also can be a bit aggressive and hey – you’re a strong, independent woman. So if you feel funny about including your relationship status in your introduction, try one of these less overt tricks.
Add Physical Touch
A little PDA never hurt anyone. But let’s not go overboard here. A hand on his shoulder or on his back will do. No kissing, tongue, or caressing. Just a little touch to establish that you’re his significant other.
This is our personal favorite because it comes naturally to us. Brandon and I love to match. We have similar tastes and like coordinating for photos. It also streamlines our packing process because I can pick out my outfits and then he doesn’t have to put much thought into his. When he likes something, he’s quick to ask if they make a women’s version. This applies to just about everything – shoes, jewelry, clothes, and even cars. It’s also an easy, visual way for people to tell that you’re together. If he’s wearing black, pull out your favorite LBD and coordinate.
But let’s say none of this aligns for you – he shows up in stripes and you’re in floral. You introduced yourself with just your name and your hands were full. By the time you’re close enough to a cocktail table to be able to set your drink down and reach for your guy’s shoulder, the dreaded question comes out. Let’s cover how you should respond.
How to Respond When Asked If You Are Your Boyfriend’s Daughter:
You must laugh. Or at least put on a genuine smile. Remember when we talked about not taking yourself too seriously? Now is your time to shine, girl. Give a laugh, look lovingly at your guy, and be the one who responds. Let’s be honest: guys can say some stupid things when they’re uncomfortable in social situations. Don’t leave it up to him. Laughter will initially take the edge out of the conversation because the last thing you want is to come across defensive. Take the lighthearted approach.
Crack A Joke
I have a few jokes up my sleeve for these moments. For those of you who know me, you know I’m the worst joke teller. I forget the punchline or get distracted halfway through but if you get asked this enough, you get comfortable and jokes just come to you in the moment. But you have to read your audience here. If it’s a fun crowd you can be a bit more playful. One time I responded with a laugh and said, “he is certainly old enough to be my dad – but that might make our relationship illegal.” Not so funny but I give myself an A for effort. If the group is on the stodgier side, play it a little safer and skip the jokes. Find what works for you to bring humor into the situation.
Tell Your Story
This is your chance. Tell your story to your new friends. How you met. How long you’ve been together. All the gushy stuff. I’ve found that people are curious creatures and they want to understand how you ended up together. Out of the 7.5 billion people you could have chosen to date or marry, why him? Then ask about their story. I’m not a fan of the cookie cutter dinner party conversations. It’s my goal every time we go out to have at least 1 meaningful interaction with a stranger. Because, why go out if you don’t want to connect? Trashy Reality TV at home, in your bed would be much more enlightening and entertaining way to spend an evening AND doesn’t require 4 inch heals and a face of makeup. Tell your story and break the ice. Learn how to be charming and roll with it.
Alrighty – that’s it for today. We’re off to the Train concert tonight with my parents and some friends. I’ve loved Train since I was a little girl and can’t wait for tonight’s show.
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