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View Full Version : Christmas Feast: What're You Doing About The Painfully Awkward Silences?



TerzaRima
12-24-2008, 08:33 PM
Tomorrow, I'm cooking for Mr Rima's family. Requests to pass the potatoes will be interspersed with dialogue like this:

How 'bout those Packers?

Yeah, well. Interesting game. Sound of chewing.

Silence.

(brightly) Little Rima Cousin is playing youth basketball this year! And you know who's coaching him, it's that guy who used to live next door to us who was into that Civil War reenactment stuff.

Hunh.

Long silence.

Well...this is really good cheese, Terza. I've always liked cheese.

(All this taciturnity flummoxes me. I'll float conversational balloons out there and these people generally manage to pop them.

What is the atmosphere like at your Christmas gathering?)

scarletpeaches
12-24-2008, 08:34 PM
I prevent all need for conversation by:

Eating too much to allow speaking and:

Watching Doctor Who. All who speak during Doctor Who, die.

quickWit
12-24-2008, 08:36 PM
I prevent all need for conversation by:

Eating too much to allow speaking and:

Watching Doctor Who. All who speak during Doctor Who, die.

How is it you haven't been snapped up yet? :D

scarletpeaches
12-24-2008, 08:38 PM
How is it you haven't been snapped up yet? :D

God knows.

I'm still looking for a man who likes women who aren't obsessed with dieting and who are mad for the Doctor...

quickWit
12-24-2008, 08:42 PM
God knows.

I'm still looking for a man who likes women who aren't obsessed with dieting and who are mad for the Doctor...

I've never met a rabid Dr. Who guy that'd ever heard the word "diet". Or spoken to a girl. :)

quickWit
12-24-2008, 08:49 PM
Addressing the OP, this is Christmas with my wife's family in a nutshell...

Everyone arrives.
Everyone talks at once.
Everyone drinks.
No one eats.
Everyone opens gifts.
Everyone makes fun of gifts.
SIL tries to remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas.
Everyone makes fun of SIL.
Everyone goes home.

It's quite excellent. :D

DeborahM
12-24-2008, 08:53 PM
Think about your WIP while smiling...that makes them curious and start the conversation...works great for me!

DeleyanLee
12-24-2008, 08:55 PM
I've never met a rabid Dr. Who guy that'd ever heard the word "diet". Or spoken to a girl. :)

My ex-husband.

There's always something to talk about in my family because it thrives on gossip and this is the time of year for the entire year's worth of "goodies" to be exchanged along with the pot luck. Or someone is laying a guilt trip on someone(s) else. It's one of the many reasons I don't attend such ventures anymore since I really don't care what my cousin's ex (she's got 3 or 5, I don't keep track) is going to jail for this time or which of the relatives whose names I don't even know is getting divorced/married/babied.

With my housemate and girlchild, there's always discussion of a far more interesting ilk since we're all into books, music, teasing, video games (even if it's us old folks watching girlchild kick ass), etc, so there's no fawkwardness. If there's silence, it's because we're all chewing. A much more pleasant atmosphere for a holiday meal.

NeuroFizz
12-24-2008, 09:03 PM
Have some music in the background (just loud enough to be talked over without effort). Engage the children in conversation--about school, activities, anything, but try to get them into a joking mood. Get them jabbering and laughing and the problem may be solved because adults usually have to add their two cents to anything a child says in situations like that.

Logical - egg nog before dinner (extra fortified).

Devious - a carefully timed burp or fart can break up a crowd, particularly if there are young 'uns present

Desperate - bring up the election

Formal - if eating out, go in the restroom and come back with one of those tissue ass-gaskets hanging out the back of your pants/skirt. Great attitude adjuster...

Don
12-24-2008, 09:05 PM
Print out copies of your current WIP. Arrange them neatly with plenty of red pens. Encourage them all to take a copy and mark up copiously.


Throw them all in the trash after they leave.

TerzaRima
12-24-2008, 09:14 PM
taking notes

Perks
12-24-2008, 09:16 PM
Lol! There are very rarely awkward silences when I'm around. Awkward segues. Awkward jokes, maybe. But silence?

Perks abhors a vacuum and fills it like science.

nevada
12-24-2008, 09:28 PM
actually my family sounds a lot like quickwit's.

We're dutch so it's loud. We all talk at the same time. We quote monty python a lot, which drives my mom crazy cause she doesn't understand it. Everyone rips into their presents at the same time, while still talking very loud. then we eat, which is accompanied by much talking. then we talk more, usually making jokes at my mom's expense. and then we all leave. and then my brother and sister get to do it again christmas day with their in-laws, while i have a very quiet christmas day to recover.

I think neuro's suggestions are excellent, by the way. lol

Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-24-2008, 09:31 PM
The only thing the Ol' Family likes better then yakking is chewing. There's never any silence in either case.

Perks
12-24-2008, 09:33 PM
Desperate - bring up the election

Yeah, if I like to see my father-in-law cry. I fear he'll never get over this.

KikiteNeko
12-24-2008, 09:37 PM
I'd have wished for awkward silences in my extended family. Christmas eve dinner at my maternal grandparents' was just a marathon of my aunts and grandparents talking in morbid detail about surgical procedures of people I had never met, while my cousins and I stared at our plates and wondered when it would be time to open presents.

But they disowned me for not being catholic, or whatever, so no more of that.

TerzaRima
12-24-2008, 11:05 PM
Awkward segues. Awkward jokes, maybe. But silence?


Before I met these people, I thought I could talk to anybody. The way I was raised, you had to fight for the floor, and you had a better chance of getting it if you were funny. I used to have my own radio show--I'm not terribly shy. There is something a little blank and repressive about these people. If people were medications, they would be humor receptor antagonists.

MaryMumsy
12-24-2008, 11:08 PM
Wine, copious amounts of wine.

MM

DeleyanLee
12-24-2008, 11:09 PM
Of course, there's always the option of filling the silence with whatever your latest research passion is. (At present, mine happens to be the Victorian London homosexual subculture, but in the past it's included body decomposition, serial killers and forensics.)

If nothing else, you can work out bits for your MIP or maybe draw someone into the conversation.

And if someone comes up with the "Do you MIND?" give them the honest answer: "Yes, I do mind the silence. Do you have a better subject that will last longer than a nanosecond?"

Of course, that's another reason why my family doesn't guilt me to come to holiday meals any more. I'm more honest than I am tactful.

Ganymede
12-25-2008, 01:53 AM
You could always douse the tree in Uncle Herman's cheap bourbon and set it on fire.

That ought to liven things up.

astonwest
12-25-2008, 02:07 AM
My SIL decided to hold her own dinner (out of vengeful spite...long story) when my wife had planned to hold a dinner at our house.

So, needless to say, we'll be having a nice, peaceful night at home. And the awkward silences won't be anything more than the usual.
:)

Fenika
12-25-2008, 02:23 AM
Ah, silence. Blissful. Pass the pierogies please.

Yeshanu
12-25-2008, 02:59 AM
I prevent all need for conversation by:

Eating too much to allow speaking and:

Watching Doctor Who. All who speak during Doctor Who, die.

If you can make it to my house, we'll feed you turkey. Then you can sit on the couch with my daughter and her bf and my son and watch Dr. Who until you've seen every single episode twice, whilst the rest of us have intelligent conversation.

(My son's single, if you don't mind younger men.)



We're dutch so it's loud. We all talk at the same time. We quote monty python a lot, which drives my mom crazy cause she doesn't understand it.


Shall I tell my sort-of-ex-husband to set a few more places? Anyone who quotes Monty Python is welcome at any time. We should be ready--we just spent four hours burying the cat. :D


Of course, there's always the option of filling the silence with whatever your latest research passion is. (At present, mine happens to be the Victorian London homosexual subculture, but in the past it's included body decomposition, serial killers and forensics.)


Honestly! The house is going to be full this year with the very best of conversation! If the Dr. Who fanatics will let us talk, that is. :D

scarletpeaches
12-25-2008, 03:03 AM
If you can make it to my house, we'll feed you turkey.

Yay!


Then you can sit on the couch with my daughter and her bf and my son and watch Dr. Who until you've seen every single episode twice,

Double yay!


...whilst the rest of us have intelligent conversation.

Hey!


(My son's single, if you don't mind younger men.)

Looks like you're my new mother-in-law, then! :D