Family - they say you can't live with them, can't sell them as slaves. So how does the average person survive them? There are three keys to maintain your family ties and your sanity. All of these are interrelated, no singular one can survive without the others. They are deception, fake smiling and alibis.
Deception is the key to family events, celebrations or reunions. We all know the horror of your least favourite relatives asking the usual sly questions. Most of these questions are situated so that once you answer your relatives can say the dreaded words, "I told you so". When attending an occasion I suggest you go equipped with a variety of different answers which contain no possible way for the expected response (of the feared words) to occur.
An ideal way to reply to those Nosy Nelly's is to divert the question so that you can instead tell of a recent accomplishment. The essential part of this trick is that you brag without seeming like you are. For instance you should steer the conversation towards your work life and just when they think they will get to ask how happy you are in your profession tell them of your new promotion. They will be forced to shower you in compliments instead of being able to humiliate you.
In case you are lousy at work another way to divert the question from shaming to endearing is by telling of your current love life. If they are
leaning the talk towards discussion of your most recent conclusion of another disappointing relationship the easiest way to cut them off is to tell them of your fantastic new affiliation. If you don't have one - lie and make one up. They'll never know the truth.
An flawless way of avoiding discussion of tender issues is to answer their question with your own questions. For example if they are being persistent about your new relationship (or in the case of any readers of this article your faux relationship) turn the question around and ask if their marriage problems are sorted out.
'Tell them of your new promotion. They will be forced to shower you in compliments'
Remember though this tool won't work, (It will fail much like the mysterious power Saw your Dad once brought for half price at the hardware store), without using the other tools. In this case you have to remember that what ever you're saying HAS to be stated whilst wearing the biggest smile you can muster. Without smiling your prying relatives may catch on to your ruses, no matter how convincing they may be.
Whilst smiling the conversations also maintain their civility, the penetrating comments and spiteful views remain hidden under layers of compliments and nice words. When the smiles fade however the slander becomes as transparent as your Brother's girlfriend's sparkly boob-tube.
The third aspect is perhaps the easiest to do but there is a limit on the amounts of times you can do it. Think of it as your Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card. Using alibis is a perfect way to get out of any event if you do not have time to prepare deception or have the will to fake happiness. It is as simple as saying I have too much paperwork or I promised to go meet my new/fake boyfriend. As an added bonus using excuses like these also gives you a chance to brag about your careers or relationship.
Whilst writing this my mind drifts back to a quote I once heard by Dodie Smith. 'The family, that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our innermost hearts never quite wish to'. I start to wonder, deep down am I really using my disdain for my family as a cover for how I really feel about them. Are all the jests at them really a mask for the fact that I really appreciate their interest in my life but am disappointed that they don't have something to be more proud of. What about the past? Looking back it is easy to say that they were always there to support me before. Will they continue to support me? Probably, but I know that I will never admit it to myself.
Speaking of past I do have one tip for the day in the words of Jay Trachman, Those who cannot remember the past will spend a lot of time looking for their cars in mall parking lot.