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Holiday season is great. You’ve got some time off, there’s good food, and more often than not, you’ll have family visiting. As with every household, your extended family is, of course, full of loud, vibrant people that you see once or twice a year, usually during summer or Diwali vacations.  

And after spending two days with them, you realize why. Your little cousins probably spend Diwali latched onto you, setting off chakris at your feet just to watch you shriek. Meanwhile, your adult relatives bemoan your appearance and dire lack of marriage prospects.

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Family members can be difficult. Of course, there is always that one favorite uncle or aunt, but most of them…ugh. Here are some tips on how to make it easier.

Clean your room really well

If there is a spare room that they’re staying in, that’s great, but guests often end up in your bedroom, and you’re shunted out onto the living room sofa. Be graceful about it. Tidy your room, give them space for their suitcases, and for the love of God, change your bedsheets. Your guests don’t need to see tell-tale stains, do they?

A lot of the time, your relatives will feel no qualms about rooting through your belongings. They may be just curious with realising they’re being nosy. To prevent them from triumphantly presenting your stash of condoms at the dinner table, take your discreet belongings away from where they can be found,  lock them up, and keep the keys on you at all times.

Provide enough alternatives AKA be hospitable

There isn’t much you can do about having to share a bathroom, for example, but if you’re squeamish about sharing your towel with random hairy uncles, there are ways to get around it. Offer your guests their own towels, and don’t leave yours in the bathroom. Also, stock up on bodywash instead of soap, and get yourself a new loofah.

Maintain some decency

For the short while that your relatives are home, you’ll have to accept that your slob behavior must go. Gentlemen, if you are in the habit of roaming around in your boxers, please put some pants on. Ladies, you cannot wear your month-old sweatpants, and you’ll have to keep the bra on. Spruce up, at least till they’re gone.

Don’t take the bait

It’s a given that visiting relatives will demand to know what you’re going to do with your life and why you haven’t done it already. They will give you unsolicited advice on college courses, career, and how to make yourself more attractive by bathing in milk or sacrificing virgins. Take it in your stride, and tolerate their advice. Don’t let yourself be dragged into re-hashings of family arguments. Your job is to try and keep the peace.

Having your family over is hard to avoid and you shouldn’t be trying to in the first place. Some of your relatives may be obnoxious and overbearing, but come on — they’re family and possibly quite well-meaning at heart (most of them, anyway).

When it gets too much, you can fantasize about clocking them with a saucepan the next time they mention how ‘healthy’ you are; but until they leave, just grin and bear it.

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