As a general rule I suggest you don’t lie, simply be diplomatic with the truth. For instance, if your mother asks if she’s lost weight don’t tell her no, tell her it’s difficult to tell with the outfit she’s wearing. Try deflecting the conversation in another direction in avoidance of saying anything that will lead to an argument. Here are a number of tactics to subtly deflect conversations.
1. Help: When you don’t want to answer a particular question a great way is to enlist the help of another person. For example, your mother asks you about her weight, you immediately defer to a third person by asking them what they think?
2. Nature Calls: Immediately and without hesitation excuse yourself by heading to the restroom. Make certain you are gone long enough for the question to have been forgotten. Bring your smartphone along for some momentary diversion.
3. Deflection: This method works by rephrasing the question so your mother has to answer. Your mom asks; “do I look thinner”, your response should be; “what’s important is how you feel, not what I think.” Make sure to quickly restate the question back to her by asking; “do you feel thinner?”
4. Flattery: Complimenting or praising someone in place of a specific answer works extremely well. The recipient (in this case of your mother) will hear; you look great without ever realizing you didn’t specifically answer her question.
5. Word Association: Link or associate the question to something similar, even if only a loose association. Your mom asks; do I look thinner, and your reply, you know my friend Anna just started on a diet, but you’re doing much better than her.
6. Question Turning: Turn the question back on the questioner by saying; that reminds me, I was meaning to ask you how much weight have you lost? That will probably end the conversation dead in its tracks.
7. Ignore the Question: Simply ignore the question or explain; Mom, you just asked me the same question a week ago. Ask me again in a few weeks.
8. Turn the Table: Immediately reverse the question by asking the questioner if the same question. I was meaning to ask you Mom; do I look like I’ve lost any weight?
9. Words: You can say what you want without coming off as mean or insensitive. When you’re preparing to state an opinion, ask yourself if the words you’re about to use are hurtful, patronizing, or just wrong. Then, find the right words that will help further your position without being offensive.
10. Be Positive: If no other way out and you have to give negative feedback, always frame it in a way that makes the person most receptive. This doesn’t mean you should lie, but that you should start off with something positive so the person sees that you care about them. Mom, you look great, but I can’t see any weight loss.