Families just love an excuse to meet up and torture you, don’t they?
The drinks are flowing, and you’ve been cornered by Aunty Mary, who is asking you where your other half is – as if you need reminding that you’ve attended the function alone.
So you play a one-man drinking game. Take a sip every time someone asks you an intrusive question.
Take a sip every time you’re asked to keep an eye on children who absolutely do not belong to you.
Take a sip every time somebody walks into the house who you definitely do not want to kiss hello.
Before you know it, you’re a bottle of wine in, telling Aunty Mary you’re moving to Nepal to be a goat herder, teaching the children how to forge a note to get out of class and are vaguely aware of your mum shepherding you out of the door and into a taxi.
Some of you might be happy with this scenario. It does, after all, add a bit of excitement to an otherwise God-awful encounter revolving around small talk and carrot sticks with hummus.
BUT, you’ve got a lot of family functions ahead of you. So if you want to make it through the gathering alive without the hangover symptoms, here’s how:
1. Get backup
Seek out allies in your cousins or siblings, because there’s a good chance they might be desperately avoiding questions about unemployment and babies, too.
If you happen to be the only one in your family on the brink of an existential crisis, bring backup in the form of a friend or partner. All you really need is someone to roll your eyes into the back of your head with.
2. Smile and nod
Remember, engaging in conversation only encourages conversation. And we don’t want that. People love any excuse to talk about themselves, so smiling and nodding gives them ample opportunity, and keeping your mouth closed means less potential to eff up.
3. Seek out the pet
Dogs don’t talk about politics. They’re fluffy, they love unconditionally and they won’t tell you you’ve passed your peak childbearing time. Sitting on the floor with a dog is always a step up from lying on the floor in the foetal position.
4. Steer the conversation
If you’re feeling up for it, speak up. There’s absolutely no reason why you should exclude yourself from the conversation, and if you’re talking about something you’re interested in and passionate about, you might even find you’re enjoying yourself.
5. Have a light at the end of the tunnel
Sometimes, you just have to grin and bear it. Yes, Aunty Mary is insufferable and Uncle John is offensive. But you can’t choose your family, and your mum is desperate for you to be there.
So for those times, just simply give yourself something to look forward to when you’re home. A bubble bath, a catch up with your friend, or simply three hours of your favourite Netflix show and a tub of ice cream.
It’s officially time to put back that hip flask and face your family head-on with your new number one survival guide.
Go forth, and good luck.