10 Guaranteed Ways to Ruin a Family Reunion

Starting a brawl is an obvious way to ruin the fun at a family gathering, but there are so many other ways to destroy the festivities. ŠiStockphoto.com/Jennifer Steck

People often complain (or maybe it's not a complaint) that they see family members only during holidays, and extended family only at weddings and funerals, so the idea of getting everyone together for a family reunion may sound like a great idea. You'll share stories, maybe learn a little about your family history or genealogy, eat some food and go home feeling loved. Until reality sinks in. Everyone has their role within a family, and families all have entertainers, for example, or historians, but they also have chronic complainers. They have distant family members and friends of family who haven't seen you in years, or maybe ever, who want to catch up -- or worse, get a little too friendly (is that even legal in your state?). And then you've got your blabbers; no secret is safe. Reunions are tricky events because we're talking about family, and family dynamics can squash a good time in the blink of an eye.

No matter what role you play within your family, from social butterfly with a thick skin to shy introvert hoping no one wants you to give an impromptu speech or a toast, you might be the one to ruin your reunion despite figuring on one of your uncles to take the award for that achievement. Everything from not planning ahead to too much time at the open bar can turn what should be a fun gathering into just another story for those chronic complainers. With a dash of etiquette and a whole bunch of self-control, maybe we can all get along -- or at least not fight over the last slice of pie.