The People You Meet at Family Reunions

Family reunions. No two words in the English language inspire equal amounts of excitement and dread. It isn’t a family reunion if there isn’t an abundance of food (cause for excitement) and if someone’s feelings aren’t hurt (cause for dread); they’re the emotional equivalent of being stabbed to death with a shank made out of candy floss.

Sometimes the hardest part of family reunions is trying not to cut someone down for the glaring deficit in their intelligence, curiosity, and tolerance; but isn’t it odd to think that the only thing keeping you from getting into a debate about gender parity are the select DNA traits you share with them (And maybe the possibility of needing their kidney someday)? Don’t even get me started on the additional level of politicking and pussyfooting that takes place in Indonesian families, what with filial piety and that pesky “respect your elders” thing.

But I digress. Here’s a truncated list of personality tropes you’re bound to encounter at your next family reunion:

The aunt who keeps asking when you plan on getting married.
A regular fixture on the family reunion circuit, this aunt will tag-team your mom with The Question. She doesn’t care that you’re still single or in no position to get hitched, because she already has several well-heeled prospects lined up in the horizon. She also has figured out where the wedding will take place, what flowers will line the aisles, and what ghastly shade of pink the bridesmaids will wear (either coral or blush, depending on the season).

The creepy uncle.
Whether a blood relative or someone who married into the family, there’s always a greasy man whose handshake lingers for too long and comments on “how much you’ve grown,” even though you are 28 years old and/or last ran into each other two weeks ago at the mall. You will also catch him from the corner of your eye just staring at you from across the room. You pretend it doesn’t bother you, but don’t kid yourself, friend. That guy’s a fucking weirdo.

The hot distant relative.
NO. Just…no.

The cousin who works abroad.
She’s gregarious, intelligent, volunteers to teach the homeless on the weekends, makes hella more money than you, and just returned from an AMAZING backpacking trip across Europe with her Doctor’s Without Borders fiancé. You’ve never met someone you wanted to strangle and fangirl at the same time. Oh, and of course she’s beautiful. Of course. You ask her what foundation she uses, and she tells you, “Oh I’m not wearing any makeup!” Of course she isn’t wearing any makeup but still looks like Cindy Crawford in that Pepsi commercial. Of course. Bitch.

The alcoholic older relative.
As a kid you used to find them dark and intimidating, but now that you’re an alcoholic too, you think they’re actually ok.

Someone who remembered when you were THIS small.
They know the position of the stars on the day you were born, the first word you uttered, and all the times you you shat your pants in public. But you have no idea who they are, and it’s way too late in the conversation for you to ask their name, so you just stand there and smile like a dumbass hoping your alcoholic relative will come to the rescue in a few minutes.

Did I miss any major ones? Hit me up in the comments with the personality tropes that you try to avoid at family reunions. We’ll commiserate in the corner over a beer.



Add yours →

  1. Im definitely fall under the ‘ONE who remembered you were THIS small’ – and probably the hot distant cousin.

    the best answer for when an aunty asked when are u getting married:
    ‘tomorrow, and you’re not invited!’


  2. Enjoyed this post way too much! Where have you been, by the way?!

    Definitely can count one alcoholic older relative in the family. I’d like to think I’m the cousin working abroad, but lacking everything except the foreign address. :/


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