It’s summer, which means it’s family-reunion time. These gatherings are a time of celebration, but between the family politics and the overeating you’re bound to do, they can be downright exhausting. Before you put on your custom-made T-shirt and head to the park to meet your long-lost relatives, remember to keep these tips in mind.
1. Avoid your conspiracy-theorist uncle.
Everyone has the uncle who fully embraces a conspiracy theory for every major event within the last century. Among them: Man never made it to the moon, the government is always watching (which, admittedly, has some truth to it) and we’ll never know who really shot Malcolm X. It is very likely that this uncle is the father of your “contrarian cousin”—you know, the one whose “just playing devil’s advocate” positions make most of his commentary downright offensive.
2. Leave Obama out of it.
President Obama is like the man-who-must-not-be-named of black family reunions. Whether your relatives are griping about Republican obstructionism, ferreting out racism in politics or grumbling about what the president should be doing “for the black community,” the conversation will drag on for ages and will be split into two camps. It’s in these conversations especially that the two characters mentioned above will really show their true colors, turning a relaxing day into an outdoor cable-news debate.
3. Unless you’re getting married, keep the details of who you’re dating from that nosy aunt.
Just as your relationship “ain’t none of your friends’ business,” it’s not your aunt’s, either. That doesn’t mean she won’t ask. Repeatedly. But no one—especially someone who survives on gossip with a healthy side of passing judgment and giving unsolicited advice—really needs to know if you’re single, dating or anything in between.