Taking a step into the unknown
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With the exception of Canada, I have never been to a foreign country, but thanks to the help of family gatherings I know what to expect when I eventually make it to Europe.
I recently had the pleasure of going to a graduation party for my girlfriend’s sister last weekend and it was like being dropped in the center of Tokyo and being told to fend for myself for the next 24 hours.
And that is where my adventure began.
Although I have met many of my girlfriend’s family a handful of times, their names always slip my mind. I mean, who can remember the names of 30 people that you only have met three times? To be fair here, I am just awful at remembering names. Those of you out there who have met me for a story for the paper, I want to apologize for the next time we meet and I call you dude, bro or ma’am, rather than the name your parents gave you. I would forget my own name if I did not type it every day.
My favorite part is when people approach me like I am an alien and ask me who I am, even though the last time we met they told me how nice it was to make my acquaintance.
We have all been to these parties and family gatherings before. There is always the aunt who is mad at everyone, the uncle who is super loud and loves to blare Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band from his truck radio, the little old lady who has to spread gossip about what little Joey or Jan is doing wrong saying, “Can you believe what they did to their house?”
Ah yes, the family life.
There is nothing quite like being around a group of people that you don’t know that well.
The same thing happened to me when I was a child and I would go over to my friend’s house. People are just different no matter who they are.
I’m sure that the people I bring around my family feel the same way I felt last weekend, nervous and out of place.
What I find that works for me is finding common ground. Lucky for me, I found plenty of talking points.
When in doubt, I talk about the Detroit Tigers. Someone is always mad or happy about the Tigers. “Did you see that catch by Raburn last night? Man, that Jim Leyland has to go!” Trust me, this never fails.
Doing what I do for a living, I find myself surrounded by people I am not familiar with all the time. I think I am getting good at this “feeling awkward “stuff. I really should be selling this information.
Please don’t get me wrong I really enjoy everything there is about being at a family gathering. Everyone always has such a good time and you can always tell the people that care about their family.
I am fortunate to always be around people are family-oriented. And when you’re around people who care about family and are generally good people, I guess it’s not really that hard to fit in at all.