You know, that Christmas lunch you hate going to every year? Your mother calls on Thursday night about it, your father calls on Friday morning pretending the call is really about that drink you brought last year, your cousins will text all through Saturday and tag you in some really bad photos of you from last year’s event on Facebook. Yeah, that non-negotiable family event at the end of every year where everybody comes and pretends they are happy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to do it this year, you are going. Otherwise, you will be reminded about how wrong you behaviour was for missing it for the rest of life, the only way out is if you fake your death and stay dead.
2. Unannounced visits
“Hello, I was in the neighbourhood” extended family members don’t say this, because they don’t feel they need an excuse to come to your house. Forget it if you had planned a romantic dinner with your wife that evening. It’s not a table for two anymore, your cousin who owes you money is here with the rest of his family. Yes, get back into the kitchen, and cook some more rice it’s a big party. They will overstay, you are spending the entire day with them, whether you like it or not and if you are not lucky they might even decide to spend the night. Sure, they will use your personal items without your permission. Sharing is caring.
3. Telling embarrassing (childhood) stories
It never goes away, those stories your mother told your aunty who told your other aunty who told her husband’s cousin. Yes, everybody knows how you used to be afraid of feathers and hahahahaaaa, you may never understand why it is still funny when it happened 25 years ago and they have heard it over and again but it doesn’t change anything. They don’t care if it hurts your feelings or it really isn’t funny that you wet your bed when you visited your brother, your family will laugh and laugh and ask if you still wet your bed in the presence of your children if you have any.
4. Asking personal questions
Nothing is out of bounds for some extended family members. Your grandmother can ask you if you shave your pubic area thoroughly randomly and expect an answer, otherwise you are the disrespectful grandchild. Your aunties will ask when you are getting married and show you pictures of your cousin’s wife and their new born baby.
5. Passing judgement
It doesn’t matter which stage you are in life. If you have enough money and you are comfortable, they will look at you like you must be doing something immoral or illegal. Why buy a new car when your brother is struggling to find a job? If you don’t have money, it must be because you are lazy or you or your father have sinned and that is why God is punishing you. Basically, you will be judged and there is nothing you can do about it.
6. Questioning your life choices
It doesn’t matter if it makes you miserable, you must do exactly what your family wants for you, otherwise why? Why start your own business when you can get a good job at a bank? Why did you leave your old job, even when it was making you depressed, now you are at home pretending to be in search of a job. Why are you dating someone from outside your ethic group? Why do you have only one child? Why have you stopped going to church? Why did you relocate to Ghana? What have you pierced your nose? Why did you decide to cut your hair and keep it natural?
7. Offering unsolicited advice
Everybody else in your family knows best how to run your life than you do. Get ready for the pieces of advice about any and everything concerning you and your life.
8. The comparison game
It doesn’t matter what your story or personal struggles and victories are, you will be compared to your more successful cousin or neighbour or that other family at church whose son went to your school and now has a storey building at East Legon.
9. Asking for money/favours/gifts
Every year, they expect to take something from you and never consider giving you anything in return. If you don’t give them what they are asking for, you are neglecting blood because ‘when God blesses one person in the family they must make sure it reaches everyone’ and blah and blah and blah.
10. The inappropriate uncle/ aunty
There is always that creepy uncle or aunty who winks at you when no one is watching or calls you their wife or husband. They would talk about your private parts, ask about your sex life or touch you inappropriately. What is worse is that everybody thinks it’s funny or you are overreacting when you complain. *sigh*