Photo by Athena Pajer
Photo by Athena Pajer

How to Survive the Different Types of Family Members during the Holidays

December 7, 2021

No family is perfect right? I can assure you that mine isn’t. No matter what, it seems every family comes with their own baggage, drama, and dramatic relatives.

Now normally, we can stick to our immediate families and everything is okay. However, there comes a time every year where there is a family reunion after a family reunion: the holidays. How do you survive the holidays when you don’t get along with all of your family? Don’t worry, I am here to help.

To help you, and myself, navigate the holidays and the ample family togetherness that comes with it, I am going to break down every (well most) types of family members you will encounter over the next few months and how to handle those interactions. I come from a huge family so honestly I will probably encounter all of these.

The Karens: The Karens aren’t always toooo bad. You just have to know how to handle them. Let them lead the conversation, whether that’s their latest pyramid scheme, their favorite Amazons find, etc. However, abort the mission the second they bring up their favorite controversial conversation topic.

The Besties: We all have our family besties: your siblings, those cool cousins, or that cool aunt or uncle. Your besties are the most important group on this list. Cling to your besties. Honestly, when it comes to any of these family member types, your besties can be the best way to handle them. 

The Creepy Uncle/Grandpa/Insert Your Relative Here: Avoid at all costs. Let a bestie know that you want to avoid them for back up. If you must interact, be direct and short, don’t let them drag on conversation, don’t entertain them at all. Remember even if they are family, you don’t have to give them the time of day.

The One Who Wears Too Much Perfume and Tries to Suffocate You With Hugs: Try to talk to them when you’re on your way to do something, like getting food or going to the bathroom. This will show them that you may not have time for a full-blown conversation, but you still made an effort to say hi to them. If you are forced into a hug: hold your breath and pray the smell doesn’t stick with you all night.

The Family Member You Know You Should Know But You Don’t Know: The best thing you can do here is nod your head and pretend you remember the memory they brought up from 10 years that you have no recollection of. Be polite and cordial, it’s not their fault that you have no idea who they are.

The One Family Member You Despise: Don’t interact if you don’t have to. Remember it’s the holidays and for your sake and theirs avoid the dramatics. Be the bigger person and don’t instigate. 

The Clingy Younger Cousin: Be nice to your younger cousins. They probably look up to you and want to be like you. This doesn’t mean you have to entertain them the entire day, but don’t act annoyed or frustrated when they want to hang out around you or do what you are doing. You were probably a clingy younger cousin at some point too.

I am only partially joking here. I understand that you’re not going to get along with everyone, I know I don’t. But try to keep a positive attitude and don’t let anyone else ruin your holiday. When in doubt, cling to your besties. 

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