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Old 12-31-2009, 11:56 AM
 
195 posts, read 53,404 times
Reputation: 108
Default Conversation drags with boring relatives at Christmas (can I call them to task for not trying?)

My brother and I got together with my Grandma, Aunt and Cousins and their spouses during the Christmas Weekend. As usual, the conversation just dragged. We used every trick in the book to attempt to energize the conversation. I even re read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" before the event. Nothing worked!

There were long periods of silence where everyone just stared at each other. I think my Aunt and her family like to play games with us seeing how the long awkward silences unnerve us. They are always looking at their watches trying to figure out if the two hour obligation has ended yet.

My cousins have a bad habit of walking away in the middle of the conversation and going to another room and just sitting there alone. Nearly everyone has an irritated look on their face. The spouses are just mute.

Why do we put up with this? Well it is for Grandma- who likes to see everyone together. She is slipping and has not really carried on her end of the conversation for years anyway. But she seems happy to see us all together.

My brother and I who are quite talkative and told me have good conversational skills have tried bringing up every possible topic of conversation but have been met by one word answers, stares or complete silence.

What do you think should be done to improve the conversation? Should I write a letter to the relatives and call them to task for not trying very hard to make conversation? How about meet with them outside of Grandma's house and discuss our communications problem? It is obvious that no one likes each other and they hate being there. But maybe it can be handled in a heart to heart conversation.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:58 AM
 
Location: The Mango Tree
2,117 posts, read 2,914,867 times
Reputation: 2573
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranded and Lonely View Post
My brother and I got together with my Grandma, Aunt and Cousins and their spouses during the Christmas Weekend. As usual, the conversation just dragged. We used every trick in the book to attempt to energize the conversation. I even re read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" before the event. Nothing worked,

There were long periods of silence where everyone just stared at each other. I think my Aunt and her family like to play games with us seeing how the long awkward silences unnerve us. They are always looking at their watches trying to figure out if the two hour obligation has ended yet.

My cousins have a bad habit of walking away in the middle of the conversation and going to another room and just sitting there alone. Nearly everyone has an irritated look on their face.

Why do we put up with this? Well it is for Grandma who likes to see everyone together. She is slipping and has not really carried on her end of the conversation for years anyway. But she seems happy to see us all together.

What do you think should be done to energise the conversation? Should I write a letter to the relatives and call them to task for not trying very hard to make conversation? How about meet with them outside of Grandma's house and discuss our communications problem?
Oh god, I am so sorry, but I found this to be HILARIOUS (in that awkward way). Hahahahahahahaha oh gosh.

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Old 12-31-2009, 01:17 PM
 
Location: California
440 posts, read 571,009 times
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Have you tried bring alcohol to these get togethers? I find that this is a great way to loosen everyone up and really get to know one another haha. Really...try it! Its like this at my Dads, so I decided to bring a couple bottles of wine during Christmas, and sitting in the same room as my nut job step mother seemed great! LOL

From the sounds of it everyone needs a drink, I mean that in the most caring way!! Just seems like there is a lot of tension, have a couple drinks with them and break out a good game of Cranium!! Now that is a good time!
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
12,966 posts, read 10,266,246 times
Reputation: 19891
It may be corny, but boardgames and card games are a good way to get everyone active and talking.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:20 PM
 
2,376 posts, read 2,343,879 times
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Are you sure it's that people hate each other? If no one talks, how do you know? It could just be that they're painfully shy or suffer from social anxiety. I would consider these things before jumping to the conclusion that everyone hates everyone else, unless you have proof of that.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:21 PM
 
2,376 posts, read 2,343,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetiebelle View Post
It may be corny, but boardgames and card games are a good way to get everyone active and talking.
I mean, yeah, a project of ANY kind could be great. To the OP, all of your family clearly loves your grandmother enough to put up with the awkwardness, so maybe you all could pitch in and make something for her from all of you. I'm sure she would LOVE that to pieces!
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:22 PM
 
Location: California
440 posts, read 571,009 times
Reputation: 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetiebelle View Post
It may be corny, but boardgames and card games are a good way to get everyone active and talking.
I'm with you! Have you played Cranium? WOW talk about a great time! haha
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
12,966 posts, read 10,266,246 times
Reputation: 19891
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violett View Post
I mean, yeah, a project of ANY kind could be great.
Do a puzzle, decorate cookies, go through photo albums, watch home movies--anything other than sitting around staring at each other.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Bon Temps
1,743 posts, read 2,533,037 times
Reputation: 1740
Do like my in-laws.... sleep.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:49 PM
 
Location: California
25,301 posts, read 16,236,300 times
Reputation: 17684
My family has taken up playing board games and I highly recommend it. Scattagories, Apples to Apples, etc. After Christmas dinner this year nobody knew what to do with themselves so we just started reading movie trivia questions off cards without actually playing any formal game. Sometimes the questions would spark a convo that lasted quite awhile before we got around to reading another one.

I'll have to try Cranium next.
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