I love my family, but sometimes I just don’t want to talk to them.
I’d apologize for sounding like a horrible person – but I know you’ve been there too.
I know you’ve experienced some form of family drama, dealt with conversations that get too personal, or been bored by the conversations that go on and on about your second cousin’s wife’s sister who you’ve never met. And if you’re an introvert you don’t need another reason to avoid conversations altogether.
I also know that just because you don’t want to talk doesn’t mean you don’t want to be around them. If it’s easier not to talk to your family, or limit your interactions, then try these ways to communicate and connect.
4 Ways to Not Talk to Family During the Holidays
- Observe. Communication takes many different forms. You don’t have to be the person driving the conversation. Hang back and observe the room. Use your body language to convey you’re actively listening and if pressed on why you’re not talking more say something like, “I’m just taking it all in and observing the room.” Or “There are a lot of conversations to follow, I’m trying to keep up with all of them.”
- Interview. Disclaimer:Interview does not mean interrogate. It means asking questions that you’re curious about and that give someone else a chance to connect and respond. Think of yourself as a journalist doing a feature story on someone in the room and prepare questions ahead of time. The best journalists don’t wing it. When you plan ahead and identify interesting questions (Grandma, what was the first movie you remember seeing in the movie theater? Dad what was your biggest disaster in trying to cook a turkey?) you put yourself in the driver’s seat and lessen the pressure for you to engage in more lengthy conversations.
- Help. Pick a task or a chore that needs to be done and do it. Like the dishes, setting the table, all those things you were (probably) taught to do as a kid. Do them. Having a task provides some structure around your day and helps break interactions into more manageable chunks of time. (If you really don’t want to talk to anyone pick the task that requires using a knife. No one will want to distract you.)
- Organize an activity. Set up a puzzle, pull out the board games or watch sports and place silly wagers on what’s happening. For example, bet a piece of candy the next fan shown in the stands is wearing glasses, or wager a penny on which commercial gets shown next. You don’t have to be a sports fan to use sports as a distraction, outlet and even a family bonding opportunity.
Don’t distance yourself from people who love and care about you because you don’t know what to say or don’t want to say anything. Use these strategies to reduce the amount of time you spend talking to family while still finding ways to connect.
Jen Mueller is a badass at business communication and the author of three business communication books. In addition, she talks for a living as the Seattle Seahawks radio sideline reporter and as a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT Sports. Jen’s approach to business communication is based on nearly 20 years inside sports locker rooms. It leads to practical strategies and entertaining presentations. Hire Jen for your next conference or event – Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com