Hi, I just want you to know that Alice has helped through a lot in my life. But there’s one thing she never has to deal, and it seems like most people don’t have to deal with my problem, and that is that I hate my relatives. Maybe hate is a strong word, but I cannot stand having to talk to my cousins. I know they dislike me because I see them make faces to each other when they think I’m not looking. We’re just too different. This Thanksgiving will be particularly difficult, because both my grandparents are in failing health right now. I know I should want to care about my family, but I just don’t. I’m through with them. In less than two years I will be off to college, and I will make sure that I return for as few breaks as possible just so that I don’t have to deal with them. I value my friends much more, and I would match rather spend time with them. I was just wondering, is there anyway I can actually deal with these feelings so that I can actually stand my family? I know my whole email sounds like a bratty teenager, but right now, these feelings are pretty much unbearable.
We can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our relatives. You talk about your cousins, but you say you hate your family. You mean ALL of them? Your grandparents? Your parents? Your aunts and uncles? If you can’t find anything good to appreciate in your cousins, if the knowledge that as they grow older they may be rather ashamed of themselves, then tell yourself this: You are practicing for the rest of your life. No matter where you go, there will probably be someone–or more than one person–whom you really don’t care for. A college roommate, a coworker, a boss, a professor…. And somehow, SOMEhow, you have to learn how to be pleasant and polite. You don’t have to like anyone. You don’t have to hug them or be overly friendly. You just have to look pleasant and not too bored, enough to get through the meal, the day, the class, the weekend…. I think you have some practicing to do.