writing

The Thanksgiving Survival Guide

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Just the one post this week.  Sorry about missing Fun Fact Friday last week, I had a monster of a cold that had me down for the count.

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection.  Appreciating the world around you and the gifts you’ve been given.  Despite the many hurdles I’ve had to jump in my life, I am a very fortunate person for many reasons, not the least of which being that I have been raised by people who love me for me.

Thanksgiving is also a bit of an obstacle course for me, and others like me similarly afflicted with social anxiety.  I don’t do crowds.  And yet, I also have no problem with them.  Things like Theater Bizarre and the Renaissance Festival hold no stress for me because I am surrounded by strangers who have no expectations of me.  Thanksgiving is a war zone of relatives and family friends who want to know how you’ve been, what you’re up to, are you dating anyone, how’s the job, and a myriad of other probing questions that have the ability  to make me break out into a cold sweat.

For the first time years, I am actually looking forward to this year’s turkey massacre.  Firstly, because I will get to see my sister Laura, who I haven’t seen for almost a year.  This is particularly upsetting to me because I have a sister complex and plan on spending every waking moment that she’s home with her.  Oh wait…work.  Ok, every day after work and all weekend, thanksgiving, and black friday.  The other reason is because my family and I are going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit!  I try to catch it every year on TV but I imagine it’s so much more fun when you’re actually there.

For people who are not blessed with as many reasons to look forward to Thanksgiving, here are a few method’s I’ve tried in the past.

  • Come up with a list of commonly asked questions and their corresponding answers that you can whip out at a moments notice
  • Offer to help out.  Keeping busy will not just ingratiate you with your host, it will save you from sitting awkwardly on the couch in silence while everyone talks around you
  • Identify a safe zone.  Scope out the place where you will be spending the day and figure out where you can sneak off to get some breathing room.  Offering to make a trip to the store is another way to temporarily escape if there are no safe zones in the house.
  • Come up with a safe word.  Tell someone close to you your safe word and then, if you need to use it, you have an ally who can help you come up with a credible excuse to step away for a moment.
  • Remember that, for all their faults, they are people in your life who are of at least some importance and oftentimes they ask those probing questions because they care about you.

It’s only one day.  You can survive it and, if you are very careful, you might even enjoy it!

Bye for now!

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