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Annoying Relatives: If You Can’t Beat Them, Make Fun of Them

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m multi-talented: I can talk and piss you off at the same time. ~T-shirt

Holidays are a fun time to spend with family members and friends.  Except when the crazy, boring and/or cranky ones show up . . . the ones that nag you about being too fat, too thin, too single or the passive-aggressive jerks who generously lavish you and everyone else with backhanded compliments. They are not fun.  Yet there they are at all the big family gatherings co-mingled among the peeps you do like. They’re like those big Brazil nuts (that NO ONE likes) in the cocktail nut bowl mixed in with the yummy cashews, almonds and pecans, only you can’t pick them out and leave them on the end table and hope the dog comes by and makes them disappear.

They’re there and you brace yourself for their annoyingness.  I believe you should avoid annoying relatives the vast majority of the time, but there are times when you choose to tolerate them.  On these occasions, it’s helpful to turn family drama into fun with your family.  But how? My teacher, Martha Beck, came up with a brilliant solution, she calls it Dysfunctional Family Bingo.

Heres how you play: first you will need additional players. Conspire with a few of your friends who are also dreading certain Brazil nut type relatives and friends during the holidays.  Each player creates a 5×5 card and fills in the squares with scenarios and situations that make them cringe and that they expect from the relatives in question. For example, you know your sister-in-law will come into the kitchen every half hour to ask what’s taking so long to get the meal ready, and, without offering any help, she will remind you of the starving masses waiting on your self in the other room for you to feed them . . .your cousin will dredge up the summer you were fourteen and got caught, repeatedly, making out with that boy who was always up to no good and get your mom all worked up about it again. . .Your brother’s science fiction obsessed twins will get stuck in the laundry chute and destroy your blow dryer while attempting to access the fourth dimension . . .These anticipated scenarios earn a place on the card.  Every time a family member does the expected thing that makes you want to fashion a noose just for them, check it off on your card.  Keep your phone handy and text your friends when each event occurs or simply wait until you can claim Bingo! Whatever cracks you up the most.

Now instead of dreading these people and events, you kind of look forward to them because you agree with your friends that whoever gets Bingo first (or has the most spots filled in) gets treated to a lunch by the others. Let the games and craziness begin.