How To Deal With Your Family Around Christmas

Red Christmas Baubles in Christmas Tree
I'm very lucky to have a small family so that I've never experienced the horrors of distant aunts and uncles putting me down at every big family celebration. But I can surely imagine how off-putting and annoying it must be. Personally, I'm not good in any social context so I know I´d probably be too baffled or too nice to say something to my relatives. However, days later I´d come up with the perfect answer - polite but yet shutting them down - to that stupid question. Here I am thinking ahead for anyone who has to deal with their relatives around Christmas and coming up a few easy things you could say to the most annoying questions your relatives might ask.

General Tips

Before we get into the nitty-gritty there are definitely some ground rules to dealing with your family. While it might be super fun to put them in their spot or to say something nasty they are your family after all! You don't want to be the cause of any feud during the holidays.

Be Nice: You might want to throw something at your relatives from time to time but that might not have the effect you want. In general, I stand by the rule to always be nice and treat people with respect because you never know what they might have gone through. That also goes for relatives. Plus, being nice often infuriates people more if they want to anger you but can't.

Red Christmas Baubles in Christmas Tree

Keep Smiling: Your smile is your best feature at any family event. Firstly, you're kind of tricking your brain into thinking that you're having a better time than you're actually having. Secondly, any insult won't be taken as harmful as it was meant if it´s said with a smile (not that I encourage insulting your relatives!).

Avoid When Possible: If you really don't want to talk to a certain relative try to avoid them as best as you can. It´s better to be seen as a loner than to talk to someone that will infuriate you and therefore make you break points 1 and 2.

Get Some Smalltalk Topics Ready: Smalltalk is not everyone's favourite thing - it certainly isn't mine. But at a big family event it´s very much unlikely to get into a deep conversation without starting a controversy which would be less than ideal. Instead get some smalltalk topics ready beforehand that you can break out whenever necessary. They are also very useful for a change of topic after any of the annoying questions you might be asked.

Handmade Decoration in Christmas Tree

Answering Annoying Questions

Since I can´t gather these questions from experience I've scoured the internet for some of the most annoying questions your relatives might be asking you over the holidays. On all websites that I've looked at there were some awesome answers but they were really more "fun" or "challenging" which was amusing to read but it´s not really what anyone would actually say. I think the perfect answer to any of these questions acknowledges that you've thought about it but also quickly and politely shuts the discussion down.

There are a few ways in which you could deal with these questions in general:
- gather all your confidence and go with a "challenging/fun" answer to shut the whole conversation down
- Drop one of my answers with a smile and elegantly switch to one of the smalltalk topics you've got prepared
- Go into the offensive and ask them a different annoying questions

Red Bow in Christmas Tree

When will we meet a significant other? Why aren't you married yet?
You'll meet him/her as soon as I've met him/her.
There's really not time for dating/wedding planning right now.
I'm still working on that. I/We don't want anything to feel rushed.

What happened with your ex?
Sadly, it just didn't work out for us.
I don't think that's the best story for right now.
It´s hard to explain but I'm doing okay.

Are you still [insert sexuality]?
Yes, and I'm very happy because of it.
Yes, and very glad that everyone has been so supportive.
Of course, everything else would be boring.

When will you have kids?
We've talked about it and have decided that we're currently not in the right place to focus on kids.
We´ll see when the time comes.
We're not actively planning on having them in the near future but you never know what life might throw at you.

Christmas Baubles in Christmas Tree

Have you finally gotten a "real" job/promoted?
No, but I'm very happy in my current position.
I´d call it a real job as I've been living comfortably off the money I get for it.
I've got my fingers crossed for the near future. My boss really liked [insert recent achievement].

Why are still in college/school? What do you want to do afterwards?
I want to be really prepared for [insert possible future job] so I'm learning everything I possibly can.
I'm not really sure what I want to do yet as [insert possible career options] all sound so great!
I'm still trying to decide between so many different options.

Why don't you eat [insert lifestyle choice]?
My stomach just doesn't handle it well.
I just don't enjoy the taste very much.
Luckily, everyone can choose what they eat. Personally, I don't think it´s ethical to eat [insert lifestyle choice].

Did you gain/lose weight?
I actually don't know. It hasn't really affected my life recently.
Yes, I found about this amazing recipe for [insert recipe].
Thank you for noticing.

Christmas Bauble Bell in Christmas Tree

Can you help me with [insert technological function]?
Of course, but I think [other relative] knows more about that than I do.
Sure, but I think its not polite to do that right now. [then avoid them for the rest of the time]
I don't use [insert technological function], so I'm not sure I´d be of help. Why don't you ask [other relative].

Why is your generation the way it is?
I wish I knew!
I don't think we're that bad. Actually we did [insert recent accomplishment that won't offend anyone].
I don't mind my generation much. I actually think we're great.

Do you need money/anything else?
No, but thank you for the offer!
Thank you, but I couldn't possibly accept it.
Thanks, but I'm actually okay right now.

Holidays are a stressful time as is and relatives can definitely make them even more stressful. But in their defence it´s often not because they dislike you or want to offend you. More often it´s because they genuinely want to talk to you but don't know how to start a conversation or they just don't know what has been going on in your life. So take everything they're saying with a grain of salt and stay positive! That's also why preparing a few smalltalk topics can be great - if they genuinely want to talk to you you're fulfilling that wish and keeping it to a topic you feel comfortable talking about. Family is a great thing and therefore you should work to protect the bond that you have!

How is your family during the holidays? Do you come from a big or a small family?

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