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The hunger games

The guide to avoiding your relatives during the holidays
The hunger games

We all have those annoying relatives that just put us on edge.

However, the holidays are a time for family so it’s hard to avoid them.  Here are a few ways to endure annoying relatives and enjoy the holiday season. 

1: Lower your expectations

Often, family members will not change, and thinking that they might change will only disappoint you. If you lower your expectations for when you see those annoying relatives, you won’t be as disappointed when you see them and they’re the same as when you saw them last year. 

2:  Keep a “less-is-more” mindset

Instead of trying to change those annoying relatives, because that usually never gets you anywhere. If you don’t interact with them then they can’t annoy you, try keeping your interactions at the bare minimum. For example, only speaking when spoken to and giving very short answers.

3: Make an exit strategy

Making an exit strategy can mean actually leaving the function, or even finding a way out of a room that you are both in together. Usually, you won’t need to leave the function unless that family member is at the worst end of the spectrum, but if you think that family member is there, have a plan B. Ask a friend or family member nearby if you could stay at their house for a night or two if something happens. You may not need a plan B though, you might end up having fun.

4: Tune them out

Tuning out is one of my favorite strategies. Sometimes, we can’t keep the interactions to the minimum or leave the room. So instead, just try to tune them out. When they’re talking to you, try to focus on another conversation that is going on. Only respond with the odd “Oh yeah” or “Really?” 

5: Fly under the radar

Think about flying in a video game: If you go too low you’ll hit the mountains, but if you fly too high you’ll go out of control. Stay in the middle, and be average. If you talk too much, people remember, but if you don’t say enough, people will also remember. Talk enough that you’re able to have small talk, but the second the conversation is over, the person doesn’t remember a thing you just said. Staying away from gossip will keep you away from that one family that no one, including you, likes.

6: Avoid certain topics

Some topics will almost always lead to an argument. For every controversial conversation, there is one loud family member who will shout their unprompted opinion. Avoiding topics that can lead to an argument will make talking to that annoying relative less likely. If the topic is brought up at the dinner table, try to shut the conversation down, switch the topic, or leave the conversation. 

7: Try to stay calm

This can be very hard to do because as stated many times before, we are dealing with the most annoying of family members. Don’t let the little things bother you. Chances are it probably won’t be relevant tomorrow anyway. When they are annoying you, they’re usually trying to get a reaction out of everyone. Staying calm is the opposite of what they want, so they will be less likely to bother you when they don’t see the reaction they want.

8: Busy yourself with something else

This can help with things other than avoiding that annoying relative, like doing your homework, washing all the dishes piled up in the sink, or watching your little brother who doesn’t need to be babysat. Instead of trying to talk to that one person, do something to get your mind off them. Help with the cooking, talk to someone else, do one of the many activities there are for the kids, read, pretend like you’re doing homework, or do it. If you do something besides worry about that one person talking to you, you’ll forget they’re there.

9: Come prepared

You know they’re going to be there. So, why do we still arrive and think we will leave less annoyed and frustrated than when we walked in? We may never know, but it’s always good to come up with a game plan so we can leave as annoyed as when we arrived. The best way to survive Thanksgiving and Christmas is to bring a charged phone, earbuds, a charger, and a somewhat good attitude and arrive knowing that the one person you despise is going to be there.

10: Accept it

I know it. You know it. That one aunt who remembers you, but you don’t remember her, she knows it. They aren’t going to change, and we need to accept it whether we like it or not. Honestly, we aren’t here to try and change them, we are here to have fun and eat and it’s rude to assume that they want or need to be changed, no matter how much we don’t like them.

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About the Contributor
Makayla Forest, Howler Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Makayla Forest and I’m a freshman at Santa Fe. I love many types of music (not country). My favorite superhero is Miles Morales Spider-Man and I love all the Barbie movies.

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