September 29, 2020

By ASHLEY WELFORD-COSTELLOE

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the stresses of exams, last-minute shopping and trying to figure out how much money to spend on gifts. Then there are the family get-togethers. Sure, sometimes they can be fun. You get to catch up with family you haven’t seen in a while. But there’s always that relative who puts a damper on all the fun. Whether it’s the drunken uncle, the gossiping grandma or the drama queen cousin, almost everybody has relatives they’d rather not see over the holidays or at any other time for that matter.

It’s never an enjoyable experience when you have relatives who can’t get along for some reason and you end up being a witness to their many arguments. David Grisback is a student in the respiratory therapy program. He knows this all too well.

“My aunts always fight,” said Grisback. “They have very opposing personalities and they get on each other’s nerves.”

Then there’s the individual who nobody in the family can stand. This is usually due to his or her attitude toward the rest of the family.

“I have one aunt that nobody particularly likes,” said Mark Raftis, a second-year student in police foundations. “She’s kind of snotty and mean to everyone. We have to see her every year so we kind of have to power through it.”

Nothing says fun like a long lost relative suddenly showing up. Such is the case for Jaclyn Lowes, who works behind the front desk at Conestoga Residence. One year her long lost cousin who had been disowned from the family decided to make an appearance. What was even more shocking than her sudden appearance was that she had a child. An awkward moment for everyone. But not the only one.

Lowes also told the story of when her father decided to invite his brother over for Christmas without telling the family. He thought it would be a pleasant surprise. It was a surprise all right, but pleasant it was not. It turned out her mother did not get along with her father’s family. They had not been kind to her in the past, so she cancelled Christmas.

Unfortunately, most of us can’t avoid our obnoxious relatives. So we just have to deal with them. According to an article on www.associatedcontent.com, here are a few tips on how to cope with such family members.

When you arrive at the get- together, acknowledge your family members accordingly. Some will get hugs and a kiss on the cheek while others get a smile and a nod. No need to go out of your way and make yourself uncomfortable.

Be sure to have a game plan in mind should you get cornered. Try to come up with some very good excuses as to why you can’t speak to them. Also, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to simply walk away from certain people. If they have any sense at all, they will eventually figure out why you’re avoiding them in the first place.

Remember, you’re not alone in this matter. Chances are this relative has offended other family members as well. You will have allies.

Seek out family members who you truly cherish and spend some quality time with them. Keep yourself engrossed in those conversations and do not make any eye contact with the annoying relative.
Politely make other family members aware of how uncomfortable you are with that person and ask them to help you keep an eye out, or save you should you get cornered.

Finally, arrange it so that at dinner tables you do not sit across from or next to them. Sit with family members you’re comfortable with.

Follow these tips and your holiday get-togethers will be less awkward for you.

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