A lot of times when people think of the holidays they think of a joyful time spent with family. Relaxing from the everyday hustle and bustle of work, and enjoying quality time with those we love most. This sounds like a great time of year for most, but for some of us it isn't that happy, jolly and joyful. For a lot of us it is a dreaded time of year where we have to face the ones we love and have to answer a barrage of questions that suck all of that holiday cheer right on out of our bodies.
For that single cousin that is pushing 40 and still yet to bring anyone to the family dinner imagine how much of a knife in the chest it is to hear, "So are you dating anyone" "Is there anyone special in your life" or any other form of asking about their dating life. They hear it year after year, at every family function. When someone special makes it in their life they will tell you.
So, when are you going to settle down and have children is a question I could do without hearing ever again. Not only am I still single, but I also have no children, and at my age people start to think something is wrong with you when you haven't accomplished these things. I know lots of married friends and family that would also love to have children, but it just hasn't happened as of yet. Though you might not have caught up on the latest adventures to parenthood with a person or couple, keep in mind that this is a daily struggle they face. You never know who has really been trying, but for some reason just can't conceive or keep their pregnancy. Constantly being asked about something that is meant to be one of the happiest moments in a person's life isn't going to put them back in the holiday spirit.
So, we can't talk about relationships, we can't talk about children, hmmmm.....let's talk about the job. Maybe you are that person who has hopped from job to job aimlessly searching for your purpose in the world. Maybe you are that person who had your dream job and due to budget cuts or other changes, you are now facing a season in life where you are without a job. Maybe you just can't find a job to save your life. Whatever the case may be you don't really feel like answering a bunch of questions about your job, and I get that.
It might have been several weeks, months or even years since you've seen certain family members. You get to the family get together and you can barely recognize them now. They've put on a few pounds, and you casually ask if they've gained a little weight, or hint at how they might want to take it easy when they go for a second helping. Although health is important, I doubt when you inquire about someone's weight they are receiving it from a place a love, especially depending on how this "concern" is being presented to them. This also includes asking a female if she's pregnant when you notice a little extra in the mid section. People could be dealing with serious medical issues leading to weight gain. I know I've been guilty of asking my cousin if she was ok when I noticed she lost a significant amount of weight, and kept trying to feed her to fatten her up, so I know this works both ways.
The best part of the holidays for a college student? Of course, that would have to be the breaks from school! Except, when you come home, and the last thing you want to think about is school, you get bombarded with endless questions about it. How's college life? How are your classes? How are your grades? How's your roommate? Do you know (insert the name of the one person out of thousands on campus that you know)? These questions again come from a good place, but college is a very transitional phase. You're going from dependent to adulthood. You're learning new things about yourself and meeting new people. It's a time when majors change like the wind, people discover certain schools just aren't for them and they want to transfer, and some even want to drop out. You don't want to let your family down, and during the holidays just isn't the time that you want to bring up and talk about those issues.
So What Do We Talk About?
Holiday gatherings are a great time of year to reminisce about your favorite childhood memories, talk about the game that's on TV or play a family friendly game. With all of the above mentioned topics I'm not saying to not bring them up at all. I'm saying have some discernment. People will usually tell you either straight up or with body language that they don't feel like talking about certain things at the time. If you notice that something you want to bring up is getting a negative reaction, be sensitive to that and realize there may be something deeper going on. Your loved one will appreciate you not ruining the holidays with the things they are struggling with. We know you love us, and we love you too. We appreciate your wanting to take an interest in our lives. Just remember there's a time and a place for everything. Here's to us all have a "Joyful" holiday season.