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How to survive an awkward holiday dinner with the fam

Thanksgiving is next week (!!) and that means you will probably have to endure some awkward family dinners with folks you haven’t seen in a while. We’ve all been there (it's normal, promise) and luckily there are ways to survive these grueling dinners and even make them fun. 

Make it a game.
Your aunt from out of town hasn’t seen you in years and she’s going to want to play 20 questions when she sees you at dinner. How’s school? How are your grades? Do you know what college you’re going too? 

You’ll get these same questions throughout the night so just go with it. You can keep a tally in your phone of how many times you get asked these questions and if you have siblings you can even make it a competition.

Have a laugh.
Your parents might embarrass you. Your cousins may do inappropriate things. Your aunts and uncles will gossip and they may even bicker but don’t let these things bother you. Instead, treat dinner as a comedy show. Everyone in your family has their own act. Sit back and just have good laugh. Who knows? You might even join in on the shenanigans by the end of the night.

Find your niche.
Everyone has a niche within their family where they best fit in so find yours. You may enjoy being in the kitchen so volunteer to help with food prep. If you’re into football, stick with your cousins and watch the game. Try your best to find something to do to keep you interacting positively and avoid hiding out in your room because it’s just rude.

Excuse yourself.
Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from awkward or uncomfortable situations. Sometimes family members can insult you or make you feel weird without even knowing it. Prepare some exit strategies to get you out of those unsavory moments as quickly as possible. You can say something like “Oh excuse me Aunt Sandra I really have to use the bathroom” and then walk away.

Enjoy yourself.
The most important thing is to try to enjoy your dinner. If you go in thinking "Omg I hate these people," you’re probably not going to have a great night. Try to embrace the fact that these people are your family, get to know them, show some interest in their lives. You might find that they’re not so bad and you might actually fun with them. 

What kind of awkward encounters do you have at family dinners? How do you deal?

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by Lauren McMillan | 11/13/2017
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