Inner circle

My Family Only Hangs With Each Other At Holidays Parties

And it might seen rude but it’s just how we roll.

Introverted family at big holiday parties.
Emma Chao/Scary Mommy; Getty Images

It’s the first Saturday afternoon in December and the scene is the same, year after year. My extended family — like, really extended — gathers at a local venue for passed apps, cocktails, and a yearly Yankee swap. Santa comes with a big sack of gifts for the kids while all the adults mingle merrily. All the adults, that is, except for my immediate family. Instead, we’re at the back corner table, avoiding the hubbub and talking only to one another. Maybe that seems rude, but it’s just how we roll.

We’ve been doing this for years, at basically every gathering. My parents, my two brothers, and I all show up, say hello, and quickly pivot to our own private party of five. And we love it, and we’re not gonna change it.

To be fair, my mother does sometimes leave our little nest. So does my husband. Apparently they have that inner voice that tells them the socially appropriate and respectful thing to do in these situations, and they actually listen to it. They both wander around making polite conversation with all the attendees as we sit and watch. And kudos to them because I think everyone probably thinks the rest of us are a bunch of a-holes.

And honestly, they aren’t wrong. Because not only are we isolating ourselves from the entire party, but we spend most of our time sarcastically narrating and commenting on the party. While a lot of households wait for the guests to leave before they engage in the post-party inner-circle debrief (you know what I’m talking about, don’t pretend otherwise), we do it all in real time. It’s basically our own personal stand up comedy show performed by us and for us. And I know this does not sound kind or mature, but it’s what keeps us going and I’m just not sorry for it.

And to those (my mother) who might argue that these larger gatherings are best for catching up with the family members I do not speak to on a daily basis, I disagree. Some of my favorite moments with my dad and brothers have resulted from these parties. Holiday hoopla, anniversary parties, funerals, you name it. When the outer circle comes together and my inner circle grabs our corner and starts commentating, the hilarity that ensues bonds us for life.

So, call me the family jerk but I don’t feel bad about my anti-social party behavior. My strategy has carried my anxiety-ridden self for the last 39 years and I don’t see myself changing anytime soon. I will widen the circle to allow my own four children to join although so far they seem to have my husband's social genes. So I guess they are on their own. Oh well.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.