5 Uncomfortable Topics To Be Avoided At Family Gatherings

Written by Dr. Roshan Jain (MBBS JJMMC Karnataka, MRCP Psychiatry UK, MMedSc Univ of Nottingham,UK), one of the best psychiatrists in Bangalore.

What do we all crave? What is that one thing that enables us to feel good about ourselves? Indeed, it is our relationship with our family, friends or work colleagues. It’s a very healthy craving! The need to belong is a deep-seated psychological impulse. Humans are social by nature. As a result, we are inherently programmed to form relationships right from our inception into this world. Healthy attachment with parents and family establishes a lifelong skill of building and maintaining relationships. The consistency of relationships enables us to relate to this world, develop coping mechanisms and feel secure.

A stable secure upbringing can enhance emotional development as well as build a reserve for active coping. In other words, it leads to the development of our personality, identity, and sense of self. On the other hand, fragmented formative years can make us fragile and isolated. When relationship difficulties seem irremediable, seek professional help without delay. Getting an independent, objective and unbiased input from an expert can mean timely advice and support at any age. Your current state of unknown unhappiness may have strong roots in the past.

Stay away from unnecessary topics that can have a deep impact on loved ones. Instead, keep the gathering light and jovial. If you have a pressing concern, address it one on one in private at a scheduled time of convenience for both.

1. Politics

In a world of information overload, bias and inclinations to political views are invariable. Additionally, with social media being the most significant source of misinformation and fakery, it is all too common to see hatred and arguments at family gatherings & what’s app groups. There will always be that one annoying aunt, uncle or cousin who will disagree and end up wanting to fight or argue. Spare yourself the grief and do not wander into the treacherous arena of politics amongst your relatives. Respect people’s views and lend them a hearing ear if you have to. It’s best not to indulge or express your opinion on this topic.

2. Parenting Techniques

Everyone is entitled to their own parenting techniques. It depends on various factors including geographic and socio-cultural context. There are no ‘one size fits all’ parenting strategy. It’s not your business to provide unsolicited advice (especially relatives) on ways to parent, even if you disapprove of how they run things. Do not indulge in idle gossip on parenting skills. Only if asked, answer in private. This is not the time to show off your badges. The repercussions can sometimes lead to you having to hide your face.

3. Finances

This one is a strict NO, especially if you’ve several different relatives that are in business or your family business. The irony of this is that you may end up getting expert advice from even those relatives who have mismanaged funds! It gets absolutely annoying when comparisons are made on investments and savings! Try not to indulge in overdressing or pomp and show at family gatherings. Let your hospitality and personality speak volumes rather than wealth and belongings.

4. Religious Ideologies

In an ideal society, there is no better way to showcase your faith and religious beliefs than in intellectual conversations. The possibility of putting forth the idea of exploring another faith that you didn’t grow up flowing is enough to make people insecure and threatened. This, in turn, makes you vulnerable. Keep your beliefs to yourself and practice what you would like to preach. Forcing people to follow you ideologies can become overwhelming. Share personal experiences but don’t become a gyaan guru.

5. Relationship Status

Some things are personal and best discussed discretely rather than in a living room of gathered relatives. Your extended family doesn’t need to know anything about your dating life until you’re committed, engaged or planning to get married. Gone are the days of the nosy relatives prying on your personal life. Digging up scoop works both ways, make a wise choice before you comment on any personal relationship status.

About the Author

Dr Roshan Jain is one of the best psychiatrists in Bangalore. He is a UK qualified specialist with extensive experience in psychiatry, addictions, psychotherapy, teaching and motivational work. Based in Bangalore (India), he offers in person-centred mental health evaluation and interventions. He has worked tirelessly in reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems through speaking events and mental health awareness education, workshops & publication.

DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you quality healthcare from the best doctors in the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you will find a select few, highly-qualified doctors, unlike other online platforms with thousands of doctors. So you can be assured of receiving excellent, honest, personalized care from the best professionals.