Lorelai and Rory Gilmore can totally relate. They're basically the champions of family dinner table talk. After all, they do family dinners once every week. Always entertaining and usually somewhat painful, Friday Night Dinners are a Gilmore Girls legend.
Because the holidays are all about being thoughtful and giving, I'm giving you the best Friday Night Dinner lessons endured by Lorelai and Rory to help you get through that dreaded dinner. You got this.
1. Politely listen to everyone's stories.
Just when you thought Grandma's story about her high school friend's brother's wife's uncle couldn't get any more painful, the conversation could take a turn for the interesting.
2. Answer questions with other questions.
When Aunt Sue asks you why you still don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, change the subject to her. Works like a charm.
3. Come up with an exit strategy in case of emergencies.
Between "checking the food" and "needing to find mom," your excuse arsenal should be reliable.
4. Sometimes silence isn't so bad.
Awkward, yes, but less painful than trying to explain to Aunt Sue that you're only 20 and you have plenty of time to find your other half.
5. Pick a sidekick.
Find a family member who will make jokes with you about your other family members because they're dreading this as much as you are. Don't lose sight of this person, and if you do, chase them down.
6. Sometimes procrastination is okay.
If Cousin Joe has a habit of ranting about the liberals every holiday, hit him (figuratively, not literally) with this line.
7. Find the humor in things.
To avoid losing your mind before the day is over, find your sibs and laugh about your third cousin's bad wig, the dog stealing dinner rolls, and Grandma yelling "what?" every five minutes because she's hard of hearing.
8. Smile and keep pushing through.
When your 13-year-old cousin tells you that he just farted on you, smile through gritted teeth and refrain from pulling your hair (or his) out.
9. Choose your conversations wisely.
Avoid politics at all costs. Period.
10. Keep it real if you need to.
If the fam starts to grill you a little too hard, it's okay to stick up for yourself and set boundaries.
11. Sometimes it's best to keep quiet.
Grandpa and Third Cousin Tim may not appreciate your story about the epic bar crawl that you did two weeks ago. Keep that one to yourself when they ask you what you've been up to at college.
12. When in doubt, change the subject.
When the debate between Aunt Sheila and Cousin Nate about whether Starbucks' Red Cups are anti-Christmas gets too heated, jump in there with a new topic.
13. Food saves everything.
Think about it: a mouth full of food saves you from having to say anything, dinner being announced cuts off the painful conversation you were having with Cousin Jessica, and hors d'oeuvres in the dining room means an escape. Food's got yo back.
14. Caffeinated beverages are essential.
You're going to need as much energy as you can get your hands on.
15. Think before you speak.
No matter how much you feel like you're going to explode because Uncle Steve won't quit talking about how great he thinks Mike Pence is, hold back salty comments at all costs. If it just bursts out of you, make a quick save like Lorelai would.
16. Wine makes everything better.
When Mom suggests that you drink a glass of water after your third glass of wine, stay strong and drink on. It'll make the day much more entertaining.
17. Take deep breaths and remain calm.
If 20 questions with all 14 members of your family is stressing you out, take a deep breath and excuse yourself to the restroom. Then hide in there for a good 15 minutes. No shame.
18. Have a list of small talk topics.
Conversation can be hard to make with the relatives you don't know that well and only see once a year. Make a list of neutral topics that will help the convo stay away from basically anything that happened in 2016.
19. Regardless of all else, family is family.
No matter how frustrating, annoying, or painful family members can be, at the end of the day, they are your family, and you've all come together to celebrate that.