Home For The Holidays? Here’s Our Guide To Avoiding Every Inevitable Awkward Run-In
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Home For The Holidays? Here’s Our Guide To Avoiding Every Inevitable Awkward Run-In

If you believe the movies, going home for the holidays is a magical experience. It’s rife with reconnections, jovial family dinners where everyone is chuckling and reminiscing, and of course, a meet-cute with the nerd from high school who’s now a major babe (and a millionaire) ready to sweep you off your feet.

Ha! A classic case of expectation versus reality. What really happens? You bump into your ex’s mother while Black Friday shopping and receive a look that could kill. Then you happen to get in line for coffee behind your high school arch nemesis who is definitely going to gossip about your outfit no matter how cute it is. Plus, plenty of other cringe-worthy encounters with the folks you’ve long forgotten about.

After a few days in your hometown, it might start to feel like you can’t step out of your house without running into a ghost from the past. While we wish we could give you a guidebook for avoiding these awkward, home for the holiday run-ins, the best plan of action is to prep you for who you might see so it’s not such a shock when it inevitably happens.

Without further ado, here are the people you want to avoid most but probably won’t…

The ex-boyfriend who ripped your heart into a million little pieces.

The jerk never bought you flowers, anyway. Flash him a confident grin that says you’ve moved on to bigger and better things (whether or not that’s true) and avoid small-talk at all possible costs.

Your high school BFF who actually wasn’t your BFF.

Let’s not stir up old feelings of resentment by revisiting this foe. Hooking up with your prom date was a pretty unforgivable move, especially provided that she never apologized. Pull the classic ‘who are you?’ face and keep it moving.

Your relative who gets too political.

This one is so common we have a full story dedicated to it. Decipher just how toxic the situation is and plan on using one of these techniques to deal with difficult relatives.

Your ex-boyfriend’s mom who caught you making out once and thinks you’re the devil incarnate.

OK, so she caught you one time and you’re forever branded a bad influence in her eyes. Wish her happy holidays and try to keep any other catching up to a minimum. Besides, you don’t want too much information to get back to your ex without getting any in exchange.

Your neighbor who knows a little too much about you.

She noticed you sneaking out on numerous occasions, but kept it to herself all these years. Send over some festive treats as a thank you for never spilling your late-night mischief to your parents.

The friends who you can’t relate to anymore.

If you’re wondering how everyone from your hometown suddenly owns a house and has a few kids or a baby on the way, don’t let that make you second guess where your path has taken you. So you’re doing things your own way—be proud of that and congratulate them on their beautiful new families. Bonus points if you can remember S.O. and baby names.

The high school gym teacher who kind of gave you the heebie-jeebies.

They’ve probably taught hundreds of students since you graduated which means there’s a chance they don’t even remember you. In this case, no need for pleasantries. Just keep calm and carry on.

Your grandma who wants to know when you’re getting married.

(And if she’s really out of control, when she can expect great-grand children.) Tell her some other accomplishments you’ve been focused on and are proud of to get out of the hot seat. The conversation will move on to another topic soon enough.

Your parent’s new partner.

Surprise! Your dad invited his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving and didn’t give you a heads up. Give his significant other the benefit of the doubt and play nice. After all, she’s probably just as uncomfortable as you are.

The high school dweeb who’s kind of a babe now.

So the nerdy kid who got pushed around in school now looks like Donald Glover? Ain’t nothing wrong with a late bloomer. This is one encounter you’ll want to savor.