No matter how much you love your family, gathering together for Thanksgiving can be a stressful experience — particularly if you’re single and don’t feel like talking about your personal life over dinner.
“I would just say to your family ‘Thank you for caring,’” says Sonia Choquette, a life coach and the author of “Walking Home: A Pilgrimage From Humbled to Healed.” “Don’t get defensive. Just say, ‘I’m so grateful that you care about me. Being single is a choice that I am making because it’s good for me right now.’”
Choquette offers these pointers for having an emotionally healthy holiday with your fam.
Think the best of their intentions: “With families, generally we do love each other,” she says. “Your family isn’t going to set you up to fail.” It might be a good idea to call your parents before Thanksgiving and tell them that. “What you want to do is say, ‘I am in a difficult period right now, but I’m really looking forward to coming home.’”
Change the subject: “You play a role in how your family treats you,” says Choquette. “Be the person who asks lots of questions. Everyone is the star of their own world, so you can turn the situation around.”
Say things out loud: “Before you go, acknowledge your fears,” advises Choquette. “Say ‘My fear is that I am being left behind,’ [for example]. I have found that if you acknowledge them out loud and empty the garbage of your fears, things will be better. This is just a temporary experience.”
Be kind to yourself: Remember not to assume that everyone is judging you, says Choquette. “It’s really important to recognize that those thoughts are fears, not facts,” she adds. “We have this phony idealism that ‘When I meet the one, everything is going to be perfect,’ but that’s not true.” Choquette suggests taking a realistic look around you. “Relationships, you have to remember — whether they are friends or a couple or family — are just two complicated people trying to find common ground,” she notes.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.