You can’t choose your family. At least that’s what they tell me. So what happens when you don’t feel like hearing Aunt Sally that don’t ever have her own crap together come questioning you on your life at the Thanksgiving dinner get together? Simply know what you want to respond to. Some things don’t always need a response. However if you are quick on your feet you can send a clear message that gets the job done and keep your sanity.
- Know your family: you know who in your family is messy. Keep the conversations to a minimal. No need to defend yourself against a person who likes to keep the foolery going because they think they can. It will only annoy you. Learn to pick and choose your battles wisely.
- Stay calm-others will attempt all they can to be “themselves” and inherently working on your nerves. Don’t let them see you sweat.
- Bring a game or activity. Nothing says distraction like a game and thus Aunt Sally can worry as to why her husband is sitting with cousin Shana and not with her and everyone is whispering about her.
- If you know alcohol isn’t a good idea for some then attempt to limit the amount that is brought into the picture. Some folks will leave as soon as the liquor is gone anyway. That is called doing yourself a favor.
- Ignore all that you can and learn to walk away. Unless they are at your home for the holiday dinner, you can get up and leave. You don’t have a set time to be around your family. Leave and come back or just leave altogether.
- Phone. I know we frown upon family having to be so close to their phones because it takes away from true interaction, but the reality is that some phones are saving the lives of raggedy family members all around the world.
- Make sure some topics of your personal life are off limit. One Thanksgiving I had a family member ask me if I was still dating an ex. That’s normal banter. However when I gave him/her the response they attempted to ask me a few more times. I looked at him/her and asked them to leave the situation alone and worry about him/herself and didn’t have to hear from that family member on that topic again.
The bottom line even in the best of families folks are folks. You aren’t going to be able to get people to act like they have sense. Common sense isn’t common. Some folks think that their titles means that they have exclusive rights to your life and your life choices. That’s simply not true. You can let in or keep whomever you want at bay. Keep in mind you came to enjoy your family, eat a great meal. and depart. This isn’t World War II so if you drop your anxiety a little before you go in often times you can have a level head and upper hand. One thing at the end of the day remember that you’re an adult. Adults can speak to one another and move along. I know in most families we want to look at folks like they are still 12 but as long as none of your family members are paying your rent then you don’t have to answer to no one. Keep it pushing and enjoy the Turkey and egg nog without going to blows…
If all else fails then at least make sure you don’t start a fight and go home and have a glass to celebrate that you didn’t have to smack anyone. For the families who love each other and its all good than I say, enjoy. However since we live in a messed up world, this advice will be spot on. Families fight and fuss but at the end of the day most are willing to be there for one another when it counts. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy.