The Joys of the Holidays: How to Avoid Awkward Family Situations


We all know the holidays can be a stressful time as it is. For starters, you have to worry about getting time off of work to spend time with your family while ensuring you are working enough to afford the costs that are associated with the holidays.

On top of that stress you have to find ways to boost your mood in light of the lack of light that plagues the winter months. This can take a toll on you, and when you add in the stress of hosting your family for the holidays the entire experience can be overwhelming.

Perhaps the biggest problem that can arise when family is over for the holidays is the awkward situations. There’s nothing worse than being cornered by your aunt who wants to talk about your life choices. Or having a heated debate start over politics while the stuffing is being passed around.

Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly

Here’s how to handle things when those sensitive topics and awkward situations inevitably arise.

Avoid Politics

With the recent election on everyone’s mind, avoid talking about politics at all costs! It is very easy to get caught up in one of these conversations, and they can really take a toll on you and your family.

Very few people have similar political beliefs, and people always think their beliefs are the right beliefs. This will stir up a massive amount of tension in the family gathering and can often lead to walk-outs.

Side Step Relationship Questions

These are always the worst questions to receive. It starts with a simple “Are you seeing anyone” and turns into a matchmaking service that your aunt is providing you.

When asked a relationship question always try to step around them. “No I’m not seeing anyone currently, busy with work. How’s work for you?”

You have now sidestepped the awkward and have jumped into a new topic. Take your leave after this change.


Take it from me, this sucks! If you are fortunate enough to have a significant other, and you have invited them to a family gathering, NEVER LEAVE THEIR SIDE.

You are either going to put them in an awkward situation of conversing with people they may not even know, or you are setting yourself up for embarrassment. Those great uncles and aunts you only see once a year have some hilarious stories about you that they are dying to share.


Be Proactive (Engage)

Avoiding your family all together will never work. If you try to keep out of all conversations, then you will be seen as anti-social and that is also not good.

This will spark more uncomfortable conversations about why you are so quiet. It is better to be proactive and spark up some conversations.

This way you are not seen as anti-social and you have control of the conversation topic.

Take Breaks

Take little breaks every once in a while to recharge. Ask if anyone needs their drink refilled and offer to go down to the basement to grab some refills.

Take this time to relax, breathe and compose yourself before heading back into the zoo. If your favorite cousin is going for a smoke break, go with them.

Chat with them, laugh with them, and get some air while you recharge. Trust me, by the end of the night you will be glad you had those brief moments of peace.