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Tell Me About It: Shut down nosy, inappropriate questions

By Carolyn Hax, Washington Post

Shut down nosy, inappropriate questions

Q: My wife and her sister gave birth two days apart. Six months later, my wifeís sister and her husband were killed in a car accident, and we adopted their son and have raised the two boys as "twin brothers" even though biologically theyíre cousins.

My wifeís sisterís husband was a different race than us, so itís obvious from looking at the two boys that theyíre biologically not twins. The boys never seem to give it any thought, until adults ask nosy questions like, "Why do you boys say youíre brothers when youíre not?" Our family hasnít come up with the right answer to that question and Iím wondering if you could help us. Thanks.


A: What a beautiful way to deal with a terrible loss.

I can see kids being nosy about it, but adults? Really, people.

I suggest you settle on one or two non-answer answers that mark the end of the discussion (adapt as needed for your responses or the boysí):

"Because it works for us."

"Who says we arenít brothers?"

"Weíre not hung up on biology."

"Biology shmiology."

(beat) "Sorry, it always throws me that people still ask this."

"Itís always the adults who ask."

"Is it important?"

"Is it important to you?"

"Iím touched that you care."

"The boys never seem to give it any thought/We donít even think about it."

"Oh, you noticed."

"Thank you for the teaching moment."

Seriously ó deflect all you want, as you want, in as few syllables as you want. Itís nobodyís business, at all. Any follow-ups by the particularly clueless can be shut down more explicitly.