When one is introverted and shy (as I am) it is often helpful to have a supply of "stock phrases" to use in certain potentially awkward conversations. I don't have a terribly good sense of boundaries, so without the stock phrase in hand, I might just blurt out too much information, which would be uncomfortable for all of us (though, I have to say, if you don't want to know, don't ask).
Certain of these stock phrases are designed to shut down a line of questioning:
"How kind of you to take an interest."
"What an interesting observation."
"I'll certainly think about that."
"Well, bless your heart."
That being said, there are still questions that shock me into direct answers. When people see me now, I typically get this question:
"Have you lost weight?"
Though I am tempted to respond, "Duh!" I do not. Partly because I'm saving my "Duh's" for those rare occasions in which I can follow them with "Winning!" because I think people really want to hear more jokes about Charlie Sheen right now. (But seriously, you guys, I'm starting to think there might be something going on with him.) So, the conversation goes like this:
Person: "Have you lost weight?"
Deb: "Um... yes, I have."
Person: "I knew it, you look great! How much have you lost?"
Deb: "Oh, I've lost a lot, thank you."
Person: "No, really, how much?"
Deb: "About a hundred pounds." (I've been saying this for a while, since around the time I hit the 80 pound mark. It's just easier.)
Person: "Wow. Wow. That's amazing. What are you doing?"
Here's where it gets tricky. Some people ask directly, "Did you have surgery?" and then want to know what kind, when, if I've experienced complications, etc. If they don't ask, I'm reluctant to bring it up, because then they want to know all of those things, or they start talking about how "easy" it must be to lose weight after surgery.
But all of that I can handle.
Here's what I can't handle:
Person: "So, I bet things are pretty hot in the bedroom again, huh?"
I actually don't mind a question like that from someone to whom I feel close; a friend at church asked me something like that (though not in those exact words) and it was fine, though a bit surreal to talk about it in the church library. But people I don't know very well ask me, too. In professional settings. Really. I just can't come up with a stock phrase for this one.
I will take suggestions.
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