How To Deal With Family On Graduation Day, So That It’s Drama Free
Graduation day is big. It's a time to celebrate a huge and amazing accomplishment that you should feel extremely proud of. But it’s also a day of really mixed emotions. On the one hand, it's about stepping into a new future full of possibilities and excitement, but on the other hand it also symbolizes the ending of another important chapter in your life. It's all very bittersweet. And if all that weren't enough, the ceremony also means adding family dynamics into the mix, meaning you have to figure out how to deal with family on graduation day on top of all the other emotions you're already feeling. It's a lot.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help make the day run a little smoother and hopefully drama-free. It means doing some work in advance, but it will all be worth it if you are able to relax and and just be in the moment on the day of your graduation. After all, it took years and a ton of hard work to get here, so it'd be a shame if you can't enjoy it, right? So, here's what to do to make sure everyone, including you, has an amazing graduation day.
1. Limit Your Invitations To Immediate Family
Listen, I get it, you have a huge, close-knit family, and second cousin Linda is going to be super offended if she doesn’t make the guest list. But here’s the reality. You likely have a very limited number of tickets to give out, which actually makes for great cover when you realize that limiting the number of family members in attendance also means limiting the potential family drama. If second cousin Linda wants to celebrate with you, there is always the after party.
For families that have been through a, shall we say... less than amicable divorce, split the tickets as evenly as possible, and let them decide how to divvy them up on their own.
2. Plan The Logistics Ahead
Inevitably, there is going to be some amount of logistics that need to be sorted for your graduation day — whether that’s getting hotel rooms or just a ride to and from the ceremony. While most of this should really fall to the guests to sort out, make sure it’s all been figured out in advance of the day. The last thing you want to be doing on graduation day is having to figure all this out and be making decisions on the morning of the ceremony. You’ll be nervous and emotional enough without having to sort out who is giving grandma a ride.
3. Pregame With Each Family Member
In addition to sorting through the logistics, you’re going to want to get the interpersonal aspects of the day worked out in advance so that things run more smoothly. This is both about letting your family members know how you expect everyone to behave (aka please just be cool and get along!) and find out what is important to them on the day. Like, do they really want to get a particular photo with you? Do they need a quiet, private moment after the ceremony just to connect on the day? It’s a lot easier to meet everyone's needs if you are all on the same page in advance.
4. Send Out Graduation Announcements After The Ceremony
If you’re planning on sending out graduation announcements to the whole family, make sure you send them after the ceremony. That way they don’t confuse them for invitations. Want to know what is awkward AF? Showing up to an event you thought you were (but actually weren’t) invited to.
5. Keep Your Expectations Realistic
While planning ahead with your family members should go a long way toward making graduation day run smoothly, sometimes things happen. Despite best intentions, family dynamics can just be really tricky and they don't always bring out the best in us, so expect the possibility of some friction. You know your family, so you have some idea of how things may go sideways. Try and keep your expectations realistic and attempt to give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember, they are doing their best. That way, if there are moments of tension or awkwardness, you are mentally prepared to just let it go and be in the moment.
6. Have An Exit Strategy
If things really go sideways, have an exit strategy. Have a friend on standby to come scoop you up if you just need to get away for a bit. Or, have that Lyft app ready on your phone. Because, at the end of the day, people are responsible for their own behavior. You’ve made the effort to make the day as smooth and enjoyable as possible for everyone else, but it’s your day too, so self-care is just as important to remember.
Graduation is a huge accomplishment. You worked hard for this, and you deserve to have a special, worry-free day. If your family members know this and want you to enjoy the day (which, they will, if they're your family), hopefully they'll be on their best behavior — even if it means you have to talk them through it first.
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