Between juggling work, study, gym, socialising, eating and sleeping there are never many hours left in the day.
So when family gatherings role around it’s often an internal battle to whether to brave the potentially horrific encounter or stay home to catch up on some much needed
sleep Game of Thrones episodes.
Maybe there are some people out there who legitimately never feel the need to tell a white lie to avoid having to attend a family get-together. I don’t actually know anyone, but theoretically they must exist.
But for the rest of us, we mentally write up a list of excuses to avoid hurting our families feelings, a list that is unfortunately short. There are only so many times you “have to work, have a strict deadline, didn’t get the message, are under the weather, out of town or having to help a friend move”.
You distribute these excuses sparingly for occasions like when you’d rather go to a friends party, you predict you’re going to be massively hungover or you really just can’t handle the insane intensity that is your whole family together in a small space.
I love my family but sometimes family get-togethers can leave you feeling like you’ve been king hit. Or like you need to take a shower – to rinse of all the shame, embarrassment and shortcomings. Family.… well people always say love hurts.
1. The Last Minute Invite
Ah the last minute invite. Not only does it leave me feeling like an unwanted party but it feels like a 100% obligation fuelled invite.
I always hear about family events at the last possible minute. Just because I don’t have a mortgage, husband, kids or what is a booming social life (or life in general really) doesn’t mean I spend my days day sitting at home twiddling my thumbs. I need more than a mere few hours notice, if only to prepare myself for the verbal onslaught which is my family.
2. Love Life
How’s your love life? Who’s the lucky man? Are you dating anyone new? Who’s the latest “boy” on the scene? – or any variation of question regarding my dating life… just don’t. Don’t ask. The answer is no.
Dear Great Aunt Agnus, if I did have a significant other you probably would have seen via social media. In particular Facebook, which you now have and use to comment on my posts with alarming and embarrassing frequency.
3. The Food
There is definitely a love/hate relationship when it comes to the food side of a family affair.
It’s kind of like holding a cute baby, you get all clucky and mushy over their cute smiles and laughs but as soon is they begin to cry you hand them back to their mother and you are on your merry way. With family get-togethers you get to indulge in the amazing home cooking- until you’re hearts content and then go back to your grown up life at the end (rather than to clean your room and do your chores). On the outside it’s the perfect arrangement but on the inside – it ends up leaving you uncomfortably full.
I always eat too much and there are never any really healthy choices. The rest of the family always look at me funny when I bring a dish of roast vegetables or a undressed salad to events – “what’s thattt” they ask while poking at it with a fork their nose wrinkled in distaste. Yet by the time I reach my contribution in the buffet line it’s all freaking gone.
What there isn’t is a shortage of is carbs. And of course dessert. It takes a willpower I don’t possess to ignore it all. This means I am conditioned to attend the gym religiously for the next week and a half.
4. Have You Got A Job Yet?
It’s a loaded question.
If the answer is yes it’s all is good, but if the answer is no it’s a verbal slap in the face which leaves a lingering red mark for hours serving as a reminder of how just much we are failing at life.
Dear family, to avoid injecting us with this shame just wait for us to mention it. If we do have a job (and one we aren’t embarrassed of) we will tell you. Trust me.
But especially do not ask this question to someone who already has a job. I’ve been working in hospitality since I started my degree at university. I graduated recently and haven’t gotten a job in my field of study yet, so when someone asks me this question, what they are really asking is when am I getting a real job. Double slap.
Probably never if the economy keeps going this way. Ta for asking.
5. Sooo What Have You Been Doing With Yourself?
Because if you’re not working what are you doing? Once again this question leaves a person riddled with shame, embarrassment and reaching for a third serve of the homemade double chocolate cake.
The fact you’ve been at home in your pyjamas eating fruit loops out of the box (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and surfing the internet for the past week doesn’t seem quite as pro active as you thought, especially when you say it out loud.
But once the probing questions and cheek pinches are done with and you’re all laughing, playing a game of footy before collapsing on the lawn with a belly full of food, laughter and love – you realise family get togethers aren’t so bad. And you don’t really want to go home -at least not quite yet.