A Conversation for How to Survive Family Parties
Some assorted suggesstions
Mikey the Humming Mouse - A3938628 Learn More About the Edited Guide! Started conversation Jul 10, 2003
1) Bring a guest who is not a member of the family. This can be someone you're dating, someone you're pretending to date, or just a friend. Ideally, it's someone with whom you are comfortable enough with that the relationship won't be destroyed if the family embarasses you in front of this person. In general, however, most family members tend to behave slightly better in front of "outsiders". At the very least, this gives you someone to giggle and snigger with about how sloshed Aunt Judy is and how luridly dressed Cousin Jane is.
2) Team up with one of the other relatives, some one you can more or less trust -- this will most often be someone of your own generation, generally a sibling or a cousin. Vow to run interference for each other. Ideally, you'll have some sort of secret signal in place in advance. When Grandma Josephine has reached the point of grating on your nerves beyond belief, use the rescue signal, and your partner in crime will swoop in and divert Grandma Jo's attention to a completely different topic, giving you the chance to escape. While this tactic may sometimes involve placing yourself in the line of fire for your partner, it's somewhat like tapping in and out in professional wrestling -- you can handle the pain, but only in time-limited doses.
You and your partner can also "volunteer" for things together -- volunteer to be the ones to run out for drinks, volunteer to wash the dishes together. When one person volunteers on their own to do something, you never know who will insist on joining you and 'helping out'. But when two people are volunteering for something, you can always insist, "No, don't worry, we can handle it -- I don't want you to miss out on any of the fun." Washing the dishes may not sound like fun, but it's often a great way to escape to another room from the rest of the crowd -- plus, the sound of the water can drown out your conversation to those who might try and eavesdrop. And, inevitably, some of the elder relatives will think you are "sweet" for taking on such a task without having been asked. If you do this while still a child or adolescent, it's not uncommon to be rewarded by having an older relative sneak cash into your pockets when your parents aren't looking.
3) If things truly are unbearable at the gathering, there really is no rule that says you must stay every bit as long as everyone else. Stay long enough to attempt to socialize pleasantly with everyone there, conspicuously help with food preparation and/or clean-up, and the world truly won't end if you plead a migraine or stomach upset or work demands after 2 hours and take your leave.
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