Surviving The Holidays When Your Family Is Crazy

While the holidays are a time of excitement and warm and fuzzy feelings, sometimes relatives make for hectic and stressful situations. Here are some tips for dealing with the people you always love but don't necessarily like.  

  1. Stick up for yourself! When your relatives ask “So have you decided what you are going to do yet?” or “What are you going to do with that major?”, stand your ground. You don’t have to be confrontational or hostile. A good tip I learned is to always start off your defensive sentences with “I” instead of “you”. Instead of saying “You really don’t understand what this major entails.”, which sounds more confrontational, say “I find this really fascinating and I could see myself having a happy and successful career.”

  2. Avoid politics at all costs. This is usually the source of some heated and emotionally charged debates. If you feel the conversation going down a political path, do your best to guide the conversation in another direction.

  3. Step away if you need to. There is nothing wrong with excusing yourself if you get overwhelmed or upset by the situation.

  4. Find jobs for yourself. Helping with the dishes or setting the table is a good way to be involved with your family while simultaneously staying under the radar.

  5. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. While most teasing is mostly innocent, be careful about your words as they might invite some unwanted teasing back.

  6. Make small talk. You don’t have to get personal but chit-chat is a good way to seem social.

  7. Put your phone down. It’s easy to want to hide behind your screen, but the last thing you want is to come off as rude or baby boomers’ favorite word: “antisocial”.

  8. Prioritize yourself. Holidays are about family, but it is also a time for you to relax and recharge. Make time for yourself, even if it's just some quick yoga or a couple episodes of Netflix. You don’t want to go back to school more stressed than when you left.

  9. Do your homework. If you find yourself needing to get away, say you have to prepare for finals. You’ll sound studious and responsible without seeming like you are trying to escape. Whether or not you actually use the time to study is up to you.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you survive the holidays relatively unscathed!