Families are complex and tend to have very intensive relational ties. It can seem you’re either close to your family, you feel somewhat dismayed by them, or you just never speak to them at all. Having a mild appreciation and friendly workplace-like demeanour with a certain side of your family can seem rare, because after all, family connections are more focused and tend to strain or become closer easier than other relationships.
It might be that after some time of either not knowing where you stand or hoping to repair fractured ties, you’re looking for a good excuse to bring people together. In those circumstances, talking with your loved ones is the first step. Inviting them to an event can be another.
So – in this post, we hope to discuss five good excuses to bring the family together once more, what that means, and how to avoid the event turning to a disaster. Perhaps the first, best tip is to avoid a sense of obligation. If you know a certain side of your family is going to cause trouble no matter what, then you don’t have to feel as though restoring those ties is an essential use of your time. After all – you just may not be compatible, and that’s fine.
However, if you feel there is ground for development here, let’s consider how to manage it:
There’s nothing quite like a wedding. Just be mindful of the open bar if it comes to genuinely making sure your family is well-behaved, and your friends for that matter too. However, inviting a friend to your wedding, or perhaps heading to the wedding of a family member who has invited you can be the perfect time to restore contact – even if your relative has moved abroad and expects you to fly for the occasion.
A wedding is a shared celebration of love, and usually, these events are geared to move on at a worthwhile pace, enjoying a nice symbolic ceremony, feeding everyone, and then partying after. It’s perhaps the nicest setting by which long-lost connections can re-ignite, and it would take even the most boisterous family member to cause a scene at your wedding, or vice versa. So – don’t be afraid to send that invite. It may be the nicest first step you could take.
Funerals & Memorials
Losing a loved one is hard, as it both humbles people and makes them remember what’s important. With a worthwhile funeral and memorial, you can bring together those in your family under a common goal – remembering the person you both loved.
Of course, inviting them to the funeral you’re planning will be perhaps even more important than bringing them to a wedding, because after all, there’s more of an obligation and duty to pay our respects here.
If you can trust your relative, you may even welcome them to become part of the funeral planning so you can both process your grief while also helping out with the administrative tasks. Even better if your lost loved one provided a worthwhile plan so there’s absolutely no chance of butting heads. There are many worthwhile symbolic gestures involved with this, too, like deciding on the best headstone or finding cemetery vases to hold flowers in.
Sure, remembering the lost loved one is what matters here. But as there’s a softening effect that comes along with caring for a relative’s final goodbye, your connection to other members of the family is sure to deepen. This is probably what your lost relative would have wanted most of all.
A Collective Family Holiday
It can be a lovely idea to go on holiday with your wider family, especially if this hasn’t really been such a common occurrence so far. The benefit? It might be that accommodation is already available to you.
For instance, if your sister’s side of the family moved to Spain, and made a life for themselves there, then all of a sudden you have a reason to visit a particular area of this beautiful country, high on your priority list.
You may be able to provide the same to them. They may not have visited home for some time, or have travelled to your particular area of the world. Throwing out the welcoming mat can be a good way to reconnect. You may have spare bedrooms or be happy to split the cost of their rented accommodation – with services like Airbnb this is more appropriate for families, and even more cost-effective.
A Religious Ceremony
If you’re inclined towards religion, or even have a relatively mild appreciation for it but wish to keep up familial traditions – this can be a good way to bring the family together. A Christening or a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or whatever your own cultural celebration is can be a good way to bring people together and enjoy some good food after the fact.
Alternatively, your religious ceremony may be tied to prior suggestions such as a wedding or a funeral. For families that may have fractured ties, a celebration of this importance can often bring with it a sense of respect, so that tempers won’t flair and good fellow feeling is encouraged most of all.
A Real Connection
It might seem as though you need to slyly bring your family together for a nice event in order to restore ties – and it’s not as if you’ve been given four exact reasons or the justifications for doing so in exact article form.
Sometimes, however, it can just be nice to let your intentions be known. Perhaps you haven’t spoken to a certain side of your family and think it’s time for you to reconnect. Making that intention clear could be a nice way to lay everything on the table, and at least helping you both begin joking and get the awkwardness out of the way.
Perhaps then you can meet up for a coffee, and slowly develop the friendship or supportive long-distance relationship which may be tempered but still relevant. This way, there’s no sense of obligation, just friendly outreach. This might sound a little performative – but think about how you’d feel if an old friend reached out, said they’d missed you, apologized for not keeping in touch, bestowed a gift, and then invited you to a small meeting. Would you feel dismissive or at least let your guard down a little?
With this advice, we hope you can bring together the family once more in the best possible way.