This means that the possibility of finding yourself in a heated debate or illogical situation is high. In fact, one would argue that it is probable for nerds considering the cross-cultural communication challenges they face. Specifically, no one in your family, and quite possibly in your neighborhood, understands you when you speak. Additionally, you might be viewed as the weird, anti-social one. However, there is no need to fret. The following tips are geared towards ensuring your holidays go smoothly.
Speak in Simple Sentences
When Aunt Sally asks you what you do for a living, do not give your typical answer, “I'm a web developer who specializes in Joomla and PHP,” or any variation that includes abbreviations. Aunt Sally really doesn't care about what you do specifically. She just wants to show you that she is interested in you. Instead, your response should be, “I am a web professional. I create things online using different tools.”
Get Dressed Up
Yes, I know that the idea of wearing anything that is not made of cotton or denim might make your skin crawl. However, a business casual outfit will save you from being the center of “I am concerned about you” conversations. Combing your hair in a 1950's-inspired do might get you brownie points from both the patriarchs and matriarchs with comments such as, “Man, you really look good this year.”
Anonymous Who? Wiki What?
This year has been a busy one for techno-activists. This means that conversations may drift to #occupywallstreet, Anonymous or even WikiLeaks. Keep your opinions to yourself. Engaging in a debate of this magnitude with non-techies is futile.
Leave your Web Devices in the Car and your Phone in your Pocket.
I know, I know, this will feel like torture. However, it will allow you to have real conversations with your family, and engage in physical activities such as playing with your cousins, helping deep-fry the turkey, or playing cards with your uncles. During crisis withdrawal periods, ask to borrow your cousin's device of choice for a few minutes — it will take the edge off.
Smile and be Pleasant
This is not your open source community, this is your family. No need to engage in flame wars or convince them of an idea. Just smile and be pleasant. In fact, you can view it as a mini vacation from us. Get a glass of wine, sit on the sofa, watch cheesy television and just relax. You might be surprised at how much fun smiling can be! Additionally, it might shock your family so much that they will leave you alone.
Engage in White Lies
This might be the most important tip! As a techie, your logical training preps you to be direct and honest about perceived problems and/or possible solutions. Non-techies don't understand this type of communication. No need to tell cousin Lydia that yes, in fact her pants are too tight, or your uncle that the computer he bought really does suck. Refer to the previous tip, and just smile. If need be, you can call your mother, father or sibling to help answer the question.