As many people have already realized, this holiday season will be unlike just about any other we’ve had in our lifetime.
What you may have not yet realized is how exactly to break the news to your friends and family that you’ll be staying at home this year. Now I’m not at all saying that you HAVE to stay home this holiday season, but I know for a lot of people this is the first time they have to face the reality that traveling across the country for a meal and some presents maybe isn’t the best idea in the current climate.
So, with that in mind, how exactly do you break the news to friends and family that you’ve taken on the personality of the wise and introverted hermit crab until things calm down? Well, the answer to that can be complicated. The fact of the matter is that some people may see your carefulness as a direct offense to everyone around you, and getting them to understand that you’re trying to be safe is borderline impossible. With that in mind, I have a three-step process that has worked for me that you’re welcome to try if you’re having trouble figuring out how to break the news.
Step 1: See how much they really care
In my opinion, this is easily the most important step strictly due to the fact that if you get the right answer it can entirely invalidate all other steps! Check with the person you’re canceling plans with and see how much they would really care if you were to cancel entirely or move things to an online venue. Oftentimes, especially with an online alternative being offered, they are more than willing to accommodate your absence. After all, hosting 10-20 people for an expensive dinner doesn't necessarily sound like something that would always be missed.
Step 2: Explain your side
Sometimes getting upset at missing an event is just a knee jerk reaction, something you do because you didn't think of the context around it. I’d like to think people are reasonable people who (once you explain why you aren't comfortable coming to a large family gathering) will absolutely understand where you’re coming from! On the other hand, people aren’t always reasonable, and in that case…
Step 3: Don’t come anyways
At the end of the day, if they can't be reasoned with, this is all you have left, don’t come and hope they’ll come to understand. You’re allowed to be comfortable and feel safe, don’t let your family or friends bully you into a potentially dangerous place, and remember, stay safe this holiday season!
Agency: National Park Service
Program: Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Program (COR)
Location: Rivers, Trails Conservation Assistance Program - DC Support Office