Family Holidays and The First 48

Ah yes, the holidays. A wonderful time of the year spent with family and friends; a time to eat oneself into a food coma, and drink enough wine to creatively answer your family’s intrusive questions about your personal life. Over the years I’ve experienced many interrogations from family and friends, and thought I’d share a few techniques on how to keep your cool this holiday season. First off, go into the holidays with a positive and open mind. Acknowledge you’re about to get interrogated, most likely because you haven’t been home since the last Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration. Your family loves you, and misses you; and best believe they’re going to make up for lost time, and cram in as many questions as they can within 48hrs of your arrival.

I call this, the first 48. (*Pure coincidence with the show The First 48 Coincidence *** ? ) Within the first 48hrs, you need to prepare for everything and anything. From discussing politics, gay marriage, #MeToo movement, or the caravan heading for the U.S., you need to be ready. Notice how I used the term ‘discussing’ here, and not questioning. This is not a bombardment of questions, but merely an attempt to find out where your views lie. Do not get heated during a discussion, I repeat, do not get heated. The last thing you want is your cousin (the one who always needs to one-up you), bringing up something that winds you up in front of everyone over turkey dinner. Take away point: Discuss topics thoughtfully, not aggressively. Enjoy your turkey with a side of potatoes, and not an argument.

Towards the halfway point of the first 48, the questions begin. Everyone has now assessed the situation, gathered their evidence, and collected their thoughts – and they’re ready. Now, there’s a few ways to go about the interrogation stage: 1) Wine. Find it fast. A nice Pinot Noir can be relaxing, and bonus, you can stall by taking a sip while you think of a response 2) If you know you’re walking into the lion’s den, set an alarm on your phone to ring after a certain amount of time. This way you can politely excuse yourself, take a breather, and answer your ‘phone call’ 3) Count to three before answering those uber personal questions. I’ve learnt the hard way not to just blurt out whatever comes to mind – be calm, and collected 4) Be light-hearted, and don’t take the statements or questions too serious. Examples:

Them: What’s going on with your hair? You: I wanted to change it up a bit! Instead of getting a neck tattoo, I thought this was a less-permanent solution. (Sarcasm)

Them: Why aren’t you married yet?  You: I’ve really been focusing on bettering myself. I’ve come to appreciate the idea of  “a marriage isn’t about finding someone who completes you, it’s about finding someone who challenges you to be the best version of yourself”. So until I feel like I’m truly content within myself, then maybe I’ll consider it. (Thoughtful)

Them: I hope you’re on birth control. You: Isn’t it interesting that some healthcare providers charge for birth control, but cover Viagra? (Changing the subject – but still on subject. If that makes sense?)

Them: It looks like you’ve put on a little weight. You: Bulking up for the season, gotta keep warm somehow! (Humor)

Them: How’s your ex? You: You know, I’m not sure! But probably still being an asshole.

Ok, the last one may be a tad aggressive. But if you say it lightheartedly enough, it sounds like he’s in the past for a reason, and you’d rather not talk about him.

You’ve now made it to the final stretch of the last 48. First off, congrats. Secondly, it should be smooth sailing from here on out (keyword, should). You’ve established your boundaries with the famjam, you’ve rolled with the punches, and you’ve come out unscathed. However, there may be one or two more questions that have been saved for the end. The ones that if you were to lose it on them, at least they know the trip is over. Those are the heavy hitters. I can’t prepare you for those, except with these last words:

They’re family. We may not like them all the time, but we do love them. Look at these 48hrs with a positive mindset. Your family may not get to see you all the time, or talk to you all the time; so let them have one weekend/week where you’re gracious enough to allow them to interrogate you. Show yourself and your family how much you’ve grown, by being a positive, very patient, part of the family.

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