Irish Goodbye: Stealthy leaving a social engagement without saying goodbye to anyone.
If Irish Goodbye was a country I would be the undisputed king.
My dreaded family Christmas party was yesterday. Bear with me as I’m struggling to accurately explain this mess. Plus, feel free to skip – this post is a little too Inside Baseball.
This party is, without parallel, the worst day of the year. “Why?” you ask. I respond…
Authenticity and Connection
Authenticity, Part 1
At its heart, none of the 74 family members at this party are being their authentic selves. Everyone is in family mode, where you have to be extremely social and enthusiastic, but also slightly cynical about the party.
For example, the version of my mom Betsy who shows up to this party is not the authentic Betsy. Inauthentic Betsy buzzes from person to person, engaging in short bursts of enthusiastic conversation with the subtext “Love me love me tell me I fit in!”
Most of the other social party members play the Salesman Game, where they talk to you for three minutes, ask for a quick recap of the year, then move on to the next person. It’s like you are simply a list item that they need to check off before day’s end.
Authenticity, Part 2
“I’m so proud of you,” says Aunt/Uncle/Cousin. “I don’t have anything to say to that,” I think awkwardly while responding, “Thank you?”
A few of my mom’s sisters and a few of my older cousins have a strange habit of bestowing their pride. (Bestowing is the keyword, since it feels like it should be an honor to please them.) Strangely, I am often the subject or their pride but Claudius is not, probably because I am a lady and my career trajectory is more traditional.
Now, I don’t take compliments. I especially don’t take undeserved compliments. You’re proud of me for finding a job I like? That’s baloney. You’re pride of me for having a nice apartment? I’m 28-years-old. What do you expect? Sheesh.
I feel increasingly disconnected from the majority of the family. Claudius and I often discuss what will happen when our grandma dies, whether the party will continue or naturally come to an end. We hope for the latter, but fear that everyone will raise their swords and shout “FOR GRANDMA!” and inauthentically force a party each year, too big to fail style.
As it stands, I make an effort to interact with the people in the family with whom I feel a connection. We don’t need this terrible party to have a relationship.
The Good News
I’M DONE WITH HOLIDAY PARTIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!