How to Deal With Crazy Relatives: A Thanksgiving Guide


If you’re looking for an escape…

1. Volunteer to run errands... Alone. Volunteer to run errands alone. We’re out of milk? I’ll just run to the store and get some. Be right back! After I fill up Dad’s car with gas. And pick up the dry cleaning? Yeah, I’ll do that too. Aren’t I helpful? See y’all in three hours!

2. Study in common areas. As a WashU student, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have assignments over break. So use it to your advantage! Study in the kitchen or family room to show your extended family that you do want to be around them even though you’re SO dedicated to your studies. And busy. Too busy to talk right now.

3. Go to the movies. I don’t know about your dad, but mine’s really excited about Lincoln. If he hadn’t had to work during the midnight premiere, he would have dressed up in a top hat and gone without me. So make your dad happy this Thanksgiving with a family trip to the movies, which means another two hours you don’t have to spend making small talk with your least favorite uncle.


But if you do find yourself struggling for conversation topics…

4. Avoid the topic of politics. Chances are, certain members of your family have opinions on political issues that you don’t necessarily agree with. Instead of trying to change their minds, just avoid the subject entirely. But if you do find your eyes glazing over as your step-grandmother rattles off her favorite selections from Obama’s mother’s biography (True story. Worst brunch EVER), just smile politely and feign interest. She’ll tire out eventually.

5. Don’t talk about boys. For some reason, every relative needs to ask about your love life. “Do you have a boyfriend? NO? Oh, I’m sure you do. You just don’t wanna tell your old grandpa about it!” No, Grandpa, I don’t. I also don’t want to explain the hookup culture. Or the blurry line between being “exclusive,” “dating,” and “boyfriend/girlfriend.” My go-to response? “I have a few prospects,” which roughly translates to: “No, I don’t plan on dying alone. Please calm down.”

6. Play games. It’s hard to drill someone about politics and boys when you’re busy playing cards, isn’t it? Or Just Dance 3? Or Monopoly? You get the point – games are a great distraction. Take advantage of them.