For people who can barely stand their own parents and siblings, a family gathering can be nearly intolerable. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and all your cousins to the nth degree come together during holidays to interrogate, belittle or just annoy you, as well as each other. And all this before the liquor is served. But fear not, for these following tips will allow you to survive a family gathering:
- Say very little. This works for open-ended questions like, “What are you doing now?” and, “Who are you dating?” Just stick to your industry when it comes to careers. Mumble some name when it comes to relationships.
- Keep smiling. Add a sense of distractedness, and you’ll be able to survive comments like, “You got fat.”, “Your cousin is doing well as a surgeon.”, “Why aren’t you adding me to your Facebook?” and, “Better get married soon. You’re not getting any younger.”
- Keep in mind a number of witty retorts. One of the best ways to answer the question, “Are you ever going to get married?” is, “But what about my other women?” And one of the best ways to answer the question, “When are you going to have children?” is, “You mean, “legitimate”?” At best, you’re seen as a suave player; at worst, no more questions will emerge.
- Pretend your cellphone is ringing. Isn’t it amazing when the phone rings just when everybody’s focus is on you, and you have to step out to answer it for as long as you have to? Also, a cellphone is equipped with neat games that will entertain you for minutes.
- Take advantage of family faux pas. Every family has a deadbeat member. Or one who wants to leave college to become a rock star. Or an uncle who’s in trouble with the law. Use social networking to find out which of your relatives has issues that are worse than yours, and you can deflect criticisms all day long.
- Remember to bring a gift. Flowers or dessert sends a message that you appreciate the host’s efforts.
- Don’t flirt with anyone. Everyone in the place is a relative or having a relationship with one. If you want intimacy, wait till the party’s over and visit a bar over at the next city. You don’t want to be the family faux pas.
- Hide in the kitchen. The kitchen is a busy place, and they need all the help they can get with the cooking, serving, and cleaning. This is a great place to duck when the living room is getting too intense. If they’re asking too many pointed questions in the kitchen, ask something about the food and the proper way to serve it, then escape back to the dining table. Repeat.
- Practice drinking. This is when you’re accompanying your significant other to her family gathering, and you need to prove your mettle with all the men. The good news is, the conversation is kept light, and you can deflect questions with hearty laughter.
Family gatherings, as a whole, is a trying affair, but a smart relative can get some fun out of it. If you didn’t get any fun out of it, there’s always the next gathering.