A Conversation for How to Survive Family Parties

The whole caboodle....

Post 1


What can you do to help the party go smoothly for whoever's organising it?
You don't have to be actively involved, but there are a few small things you can do:
- stick around for a few minutes at the end and help to clean up.
- if the party dies and the host(ess) is at a loss, but you have an idea, either suggest it to the host(ess) or just do it.
- Don't get toooooo drunk, especially if you get abusive or violent when intoxicated: Nothing ruins a party like someone who can't take their booze but believes wholeheartedly that they can.

What are the best answers to questions like 'Haven't you grown?' or 'Are you courting yet?' that won't cause offence to the well-meaning or inquisitive family-member?
- Tell the truth.... at party do's I've had great uncles asking me if I'm gay (question inspired by my purple suede boots), and the best answer for that is "no", being the truth.
- HOW you tell the truth is important too- judge the character of whoever is asking the question, and give your answer accordingly: Some great aunts or mad uncles might admire you for giving a flippant and sarcastic response and you might even get a pint out of it. Others may be majorly offended and start crossing you out of their will there and then.

A real challenge - topics of conversation that will help you mingle with and entertain all generations!
- Kids are easy: Just play with them, dance with them... if they have a toy, take an interest (easy if, like me, you're still a kid at heart).
- The older generations can be more difficult- they may not appreciate your taste in music or even heard of todays TV programs. To be polite, brief comments about the weather should be satifactory and allow you to make your escape before they plunge into old war stories.

How do you handle issues such as buying rounds for the group, looking after elderly relatives and containing the excitement of over-energetic children?
- Buy rounds with a smile, and don't grimace if someone asks for a triple- brandy- and- vodka (just make sure you order something suitably expensive when it's their round).
- Elderly relatives: some like to be out of the way a little, others like to be in the thick of things, so planet them at a table accordingly (in a quiet corner for the former, in the middle of the room for the latter). Either way, keep them comfortable with plenty of company, food and drinks. Introduce them to people and on't treat them like children. Feel free to wander off, but come back at regular intervals, preferably with some long lost grandchild to keep them included.
- Kids: Children are supposed to be overly energetic, but if you can't control them when someone is making a speech etc, take them outside. Kids tend to become disruptive when they're bored, so make them feel included- introduce them to relatives, and get them used to kissing wrinkly aunts and smelly grannies- it's a skill they will need for teh rest of their life. If they get bored, find something to keep their interest- bring along a colouring book or a favourite toy (as long as it's not too noisy). Also include music (if it's that kind of do) that will get the kids on the dancefloor too.

How do you ensure you have time to speak to the people you really want to catch up with without offending those you wished hadn't turned up in the first place?
- Don't get tied down to a particular group: don't sit down, flit from group to group saying hi to everyone, offer to buy drinks.
- Stay on top of the conversation- don't let them drift into a long a weary monologue about piles or kidney problems. Keep the hi's and bye's short and sweet. Never say "goodbye", but "see you soon", or "I have to go and say hi to great aunty doris, I'll be back in a bit"

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