There are only a few times a year (Rosh Hashanah, Break the Fast, Thanksgiving, and Passover) when we feel an obligation to sit at a dining room table full of relatives who we rarely see and who will inevitably interrogate us about our love lives. At these four annual gatherings, American Jews have to defend their current single status while at the same time acting like it doesn’t bother them whatsoever (when of course it does). Despite relatives who mean well, it can be tough to maintain your good manners and answer their questions without losing your cool or being rude.
So, how do you survive the Seder when you’re single?
It’s going to happen, so you might as well be ready when it does. That socially awkward Great Aunt who wears too much perfume will ask you point-blank why you aren’t married yet. Rather than allowing her question to bring you down or open a can of worms, simply practice saying: “I’m waiting for the right person to come along and am auditioning lots of great prospects in the meantime!” Then, change the subject to ask how her mahjong/bridge ladies are doing.
If the distraction technique fails and the investigation continues, you can tug at the heart strings by replying: “You know, dating is really hard and talking about it puts a damper on my mood. We should be celebrating yet another instance of the Jewish people’s survival! Can I fill your wine glass for you (again)?”
Ask your hosts if you can bring a friend or two with who don’t have anywhere else to go. Our Jewish moral compass will not allow us to say no to adding a couple chairs for fellow Members of the Tribe who are looking for a place to observe a Jewish holiday. Make sure your friends are sitting with you to help deflect the onslaught of questions. You will all have to answer the inquiries into your love lives, but at least you’ll have friends with which to commiserate.
Give your guests the 411 about what to expect from which relatives, and be there for one another whenever questioning gets out of hand. As their connection to those gathering around the Seder table, it will be up to you to make sure none of the inquisitions go too far. Save your friends from your Bubbie the way Moses saved the Jewish people from King Pharoah.
Of course, you can always find another Seder to attend with friends where there won’t be elder relatives to poke and prod into your love life. But if you’re given the opportunity to spend some time with the previous generation while they are still around, it’s a good idea to do so. After all, it’s only four times a year (not counting brit milahs/baby-namings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings and funerals) and asking about their early lives is a win-win: you get to distract them from delving into your love life (or lack thereof) and you get to learn more about your family’s history.
You may also be interested in 6 Reasons To Get Excited About Passover This Year