Real Talk: How To Pretend You Have It All Figured Out

You know when you're just simply walking down the street or scanning shopping items at your part time job and then bam! like an animal stalking its prey, out of no where pops an old family friend (emphasis on the old usually) who likes to talk a lot and know everyone's business.The questions start out easy: "how are you?", "hows the family going?". From there they'll probably take a turn for the awkward: "have you got a boyfriend yet?", "why not?". Just when you thought it wasn't going to get any worse, it does. There is no "see you later, got to run!", the conversation continues and out come the "how are your grades going?" and the "what are you going to do after school is over?" questions. If you are anything like me you don't have answers to those questions, you have no idea how to respond. The second the air changes and you sense the questions coming at you like an attack in the night, you panic. you stutter, your heart beats way too fast and you sweat from places you didn't even know you could sweat. They're looking at you expectantly, eyes burning into your scull, waiting for you to inform them of your entire post-year twelve plan, while you're still racking your brain trying to remember if this is Cheryl from mum's gardening club or Linda from CWA. How are you supposed to put into words that you don't have the slightest clue what you're going to do after year twelve, even though you are already half way through it? This is where I, Elyssa, queen of the awkward silences and poorly formed sentences comes in to save the day and give you my tips on how you can pretend you have it all figured out, so your lack of planning doesn't make an appearance in front of the old lady judges at their next tea and scone party.

Okay, so my first tip is so simple and hopefully you would be doing it anyway, but just in case you need a little reminder (okay so I forget this most of the time). While you are standing there contemplating the question just hurled at you like a live grenade, for the love of this old ladies false teeth, smile. You may not be smiling on the inside, but on the outside you look cool, calm and collected and more importantly like you have it all figured out. This smile is merely a distraction technique, make them think you're extremely happy with the question, like you are thrilled to be interrogated in the middle of aisle three, creating an illusion of happiness. While in that little (big/medium sized) head of yours you are doing some serious working out.

This brings me to my second tip, answer all questions vaguely, be mysterious. While we have no idea what we actually want to do post-high school we do have little dot points that we haven't fully formed into ideas yet- maybe write them down in the notes app of your phone, just in case you forget. Now go back through those dot points of ideas, choose one, probably something that is realistic and can be formed into an actual idea on the spot, that is in less than ten seconds. For example please don't tell this little old lady that your post-high school plan is to become the next crocodile hunter when the closest you have actually got to a crocodile is the plastic tourist attraction that your parents forced you stand in the mouth of and pretend to be being eaten by for your dads facebook page. Simply name the idea that stems from that dot point and leave it at that.

However, we all know that they're going to want more, they don't just want you to say "I'm thinking of studying literature at university." They want to know which university? Why literature? What influenced this? What do your parents think? Do pigs fly backwards? They want the nitty gritty information, they want it all. Its at this point you would not be judged for screaming and making a run for the nearest exit,but hopefully my next tip will prevent you from doing that. Wing it, but wing it with confidence. Be fierce and confident like the Queen Beyonce and make it up as you go along. "Which university?" You're not silly, grab a random one and roll with it, there are so many university out there you must know the name of at least three, if not please get studying up on them right now, (after you've read this post). Questions like "why (insert random subject here)?" and "what influenced this?" can be answered with a well rounded "I've always had a keen interest in (said subject) and could really see myself enjoying a career centered around it." Seriously repeat this sentence, rope learn it, know it off by heart because it is a lifesaver. Not only do you sound intelligent, you are tying the conversation up neatly on your end, its like your concluding statement, all other questions that are currently doing the rounds in this ladies head have just been put to rest, they are at a loss.

The brave little old ladies of the world, the ones that have way too much time on their hands will make a poor attempt at reviving the conversation, but its done, its over, there is no more hope, none what so ever. You exchange goodbyes and watch as she waddles away from you, more support on her walking stick than you are sure is necessary. You have just survived another attack from the need-to-know-everything species of humans, the little old ladies of the world, congratulations.