Family

Need Some Alone Time During the Holidays? Lie to Get Away From Family, Says One Expert

Does a little white lie hurt when it spares feelings?

If you’re being a good holiday guest at your family’s house, it’s only natural you’ll want to take a minute (or more) to yourself to do you — surf the web, make some calls, nap, read, just unwind without having to be “on.”

It’s not rude to escape the fam for a bit if you do it the right way — which is by lying. “A little white lie never hurts when it comes to sparing feelings,” laughs interior design and entertaining expert Francesco Bilotto.

For example, he uses work as an excuse when he’s had enough and needs to recharge, “I say I have a project to finish, some emails to return,” he says. That usually doesn’t open up the table to questions and you are excused. Politely.

“If you don’t leave dirty dishes, use your phone at the table and have manners, then you can excuse yourself afterwards for some time to yourself,” Bilotto says. “Don’t go off rummaging through their medicine cabinet, go into your designated room and take some time.”

First you have to acknowledge your host's time, help clean up, and (of course) stay through the meal.

When getting away, “blame [it] on work or another relative who isn’t there you need to call,” says Bilotto. “Say ‘I need to break away, I have a project to turn in or I’m gonna call my family [or] I have to make calls.”

The smart way to do it is to ask anyone if they need anything while you’re away, he adds.

“It’s a little white lie, it’s not to hurt feelings.”

If you don’t have a designated space to go to, feel free to take a short walk outside.

If you want to get away because there was a family fight, over politics or whatever, you can get away, but you must come back and apologize, Bilotto says.

“Take a few breaths — one person has to apologize and one person has to accept the apology. Say ‘it’s the holidays, I’m under added stress right now.’
Families argue, friends argue, you would hope people move on. If you create angst, at least apologize for making it a heated discussion, not for what you believe in. Just say sorry for how it played out.”

The number one rule, Bilotto adds, is to always leave a room better than how you found it.

“That means, in conversation, room decor, energy. Leave it better than when you came.”

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