Having fun with family was a piece of cake when I was younger. Maybe it was because I lived with them. I knew them. We had the same sense of humor and a lot of the same memories to laugh at & look back on. Now that I’m married I still really enjoy time with my family, but then there’s the in-laws.
I am so different from them it’s crazy. We have different senses of humor, we communicate differently and we just don’t really have any of the same interests.
Have you ever seen FRIENDS? I’m Monica. I’d like to think I’m super easy going, laid back Rachel, but I’m totally Monica. I love to cook, I am weird about germs & the way I like to clean, and I am BEYOND COMPETITIVE. My whole family’s pretty competitive though and so is my husband. So when we get together with them we’re always playing games & it’s just super active & fun. My in-laws, however, are not this way. They are not competitive at all. And it’s fine, but we can only talk about the same thing so many times before it gets repetitive and boring. So how do you make it more fun?
- If you’ve seen issues arise at past family gatherings expect them to happen again & plan a way to prevent them. My in-laws love to debate & discuss controversial issues. Just agree to avoid those topics all together. Or if you always play the same board game & it results in arguing, just agree to play a different game this time.
- Nothing kills a party like a Negative Nancy. Be positive. Avoid complaining. And if you see someone else start on a negative rant, keep turning it around to the positive and they will eventually get the hint & quit being so negative.
- Everything’s better with food! I don’t know about you, but I get more irritable when I’m hungry. It’s sad but true. So if I’m hosting or helping to organize an event, I always make sure to include snacks in the game plan!
- Not everyone likes the same things. Some people prefer to just sit and chat or play board games, while others (like me) like to be more active, maybe play some Badminton or Cornhole. Be sure to have a variety of games out in plain sight. This way if you want to move a get together from being sedentary to more active, it is easier to do so. People will see the games set out & it immediately sets the tone for the rest of the night.
- A lot hurt feelings come by way of feeling unappreciated. Be sure to thank everyone for coming & for anything specific they contributed, whether it be food, drinks, etc.
- Typically you only remember either really good things or really bad things that happen. Be sure to take pictures of people laughing & having a good time so that they remember the fun times and forget that you burnt the cookies or forgot to pick up the pizza, etc. Plus it’ll make everyone more excited for the next get together. When people come excited & more ready to enjoy each other’s company, rather than dreading the visit, the more fun it becomes.
TIP: Use a polaroid camera! My sister-in-law brought one at a family get together and it was just so fun to have a picture that was instantly printed, tangible, and had no filter/photoshop customizations available.
Honestly, there’s no way to guarantee you will have a good time with family. You’re hanging out with people will all sorts of different personalities after all! But do your best to make the most of it, come happy, be prepared to diffuse/avoid tense situations, and enjoy yourself!