Ask Amanda: How do I tell people to stop asking me about my life?
posted on January 26, 2018 | by Amanda Holstein
Your blog has been a wonderful resource for me navigating life and so I thought who better to talk to for advice. I’m 26 and applying to medical school for the third time. So far it looks like I’ll have to apply a fourth time, and I have my high and low moments about the whole process.
However, right now I’m at the point where whenever anyone asks about it—(“Have you heard back? Did you do X, Y, and Z? Is it bad you haven’t heard anything?”)—I feel my heart break and nerves get ground down. I know they mean well, but I was wondering, do you have any advice on how to respectfully ask people to not ask about my life/school plans without biting their heads off?
Thanks for writing in! I can’t even imagine how stressful that must be to not only be focused on getting into med school but to also have people on top of you about it constantly. I know they mean well, but that can feel like more pressure and stress when that’s the last thing you need!
I think first it’s important to understand how you’re feeling about this situation. It can be easy to be really hard on yourself when you put in all this work and aren’t getting the results you want. But I hope you’re able to keep your head up and not doubt how smart and capable you are. I hope you have faith that this will all work out in the end, whether that means you go to med school or not. I think if you can truly feel that strength within you and trust that everything will be ok, you won’t feel as stressed out when others ask about the process.
In the meantime, I’d say something like this: “Thank you so much for asking and I’m so appreciative of your support during all this, but to be totally honest, I think I’d rather just update you and everyone on my own time. Is there any way we could just not talk about it unless I bring it up first? That would take a lot of the pressure off of me and make this process a little easier. I hope you can understand that!” Try your best to say it calmly and even with a smile so they know you’re not angry. You can even tell them, “I’m not upset with you at all, I would just love it if I could be the one to bring it up in the future”.
I’d also tell someone who can communicate your message to other people. So whether that’s your mom who can tell the rest of your family or your friend who can tell the rest of your friends, choose a couple people to talk to about this and have them spread the word. You shouldn’t have to respond to every single person with this — that’s a lot. So if you can get a few people to tell others for you, I think that would be ideal.
Photography by Tait Campbell