Are you attending your boyfriend’s parents’ holiday gathering for the first time? Do you anguish over the questions that are almost intrinsic to holiday gatherings? (How’s school? How’s your job? Where do you see yourself in a few years? Why don’t you have any kids yet? Why aren’t you married yet? Etc. Etc.)
I know I do! All I want is to eat my pie in peace! I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.
It seems that I’m far from the only one concerned with these conundrums. Here are some great and funny articles I found about how to make the most of the holidays and seeing yourself out of unpleasant situations on Buzzfeed, Eventbrite, and Styleblueprint.com.
I decided to weigh in on these issues as well and here’s how I suggest you deal with these very common and annoying awkward holiday situations:
Attending an S.O.’s family’s gathering for the first time
Not only are you meeting new members of the family and seeing the whole clan together for the first time, it will take place in a holiday themed setting so stakes are higher. I’ve been there and survived this scenario once or twice.
Whatever you do don’t ask intrusive questions, criticise or embarrass your S.O., or bring up politics or religion. That goes for every gathering!
Do dress up and do your best to look your best. That means no old sneakers or two day old greasy hair. Shower, choose an attractive outfit, and highlight your best features.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to gift your host or hostess with some wine or a nice box of candy everyone can share.
Smile and be courteous and if asked an intrusive question, shake it off with a vague answer. For example, if asked “When are you getting married?” you can say, “When the time is right.”, “I don’t feel equipped to answer that quite yet.”, etc. That takes the pressure off you and your S.O. and provides no real time reference.
The aunt or uncle who won’t stop asking you about your job, getting married, having kids, etc.
Just as I mentioned above, provide a vague answer such as “When the time is right”. Also, gently see yourself out of the conversation or guide it to general topics. For example, ask the person about him or herself. Another option is to remark how lovely the food is and to switch the conversation over to food and/or ask for a recipe. Remember, you don’t have to answer any questions or even feel obligated to attend a gathering where you feel pressured, anxious, and on an emotional rollercoaster.
If you do go, remember, pay attention to your feelings and take care of yourself. Avoid arguments at all costs. Take a deep breath and be the bigger person should a touchy subject arise.
Avoiding party guests who monopolize your time and/or talk too much
This might be the only time during a holiday gathering to break out a little white lie. I’ve been the sounding board for some seemingly never ending monologues. I won’t call them conversations as that requires two people. Clingy party guests who don’t know when to shut up have apparently not learned this as they won’t let you get a word in edgewise.
Here’s when to say, “I forgot something (charger, present, anything!) in my car! Be right back!”, or if that doesn’t work say you have to excuse yourself to the bathroom or have a terrible headache and make a break for it.
When a fight ensues.
Whatever you do, do not fuel the fire! Tensions are already high and expectations have already been blown. The last thing you want is to sever family ties with certain people forever.
Try defusing the fight by reminding everyone about why you’re gathered to begin with. If all else fails, leave before you get involved.
When you receive a gift you honestly do not like or a regift
Regardless of whether or not you like the gift, thank the person. The thought really does count. Avoid making any promises about using or wearing the gift of you aren’t actually planning to. Instead make a vague remark such as, “How thoughtful!” which conveys your gratefulness without making any claim to liking the gift.
That concludes my suggestions on how to deal with awkward holiday situations! If you have any suggestions of your own or any funny awkward family stories, please comment below.
Thanks for reading and I hope your holiday gatherings at straight out of a Hallmark movie! (I mean that in a good way)