When you extend to people an open door to YOUR life, they often wrongly assume that means they have access to your family members, too. If your family members are welcoming of them, and CHOOSE to establish relationships with them, that's a very good thing. However, you've got to know, care, and act when your friends deliberately wreak havoc on your family.
You have to discern a gloomy change in the atmosphere when some people come around. There's a reason why. Find out. You have to sense the discomfort and even fear that some people bring--especially to children. You cannot be oblivious to it, defend your friend's right to be in the midst, but ignore the warning signs your family is frantically waving. You have to notice when people start disappearing or leaving, getting unusually quiet, hiding their purses and wallets or other valuables when specific folk drop in. Wake up. Sometimes, by not offering their opinions, observations and facts, your family is trying to protect your feelings and acknowledge your perfect right to choose your friends and acquaintances. Don't think for one minute that their stance will be permanent if your friend keeps tripping and making a nuisance of him or herself. If you are so pressed to have someone in your life, fine. Enjoy yourself. But if they are relentlessly and regularly pressing on the nerves of your family, you may have to be with them somewhere else. Don't muck up yet another holiday trying to force some unsavory character on your family. Your family has peeped your friend's hold card. Perhaps you haven't.
If you have foolishly given someone access to your family without alerting them, don't be surprised if your friend is met with mistrust and skepticism. If your friend is operating based on your inappropriately given permission, and doesn't get a clue that your family is not interested in another 'play relative', be prepared for problems. When you arm people with information about your family, don't be surprised if they use it when you're not around. Phone calls, e-mails, text messages, friend requests, invitations and propositions from people you don't want to know, or do business with are never welcome, so DON'T give your family members' contact information to people without their permission! Definitely do not try and manipulate your family's Christianity by expecting them to happily deal with an obvious nut, con artist, scam artist, thief, predator, or familiar spirit. Don't allow people to negatively impact your family while you watch. Face it. Everyone who is a friend to YOU is not a friend to your family. Anyone who seeks to harm or destroy the harmony and peace within your family, is not a friend. You can want your family to like your friends all day long, but your friends have a lot to do with how smoothly those relationships are formed. If your friends have a habit of misspeaking, interfering, causing problems, are slick, shady, or untrustworthy, then don't count on your family to board the Love Train and come rolling up to greet them. If they have a history of mistreating YOU, although YOU may have forgiven and forgotten, your family members have not. They are the ones you ran to, remember? All your family knows, sometimes, is what you have told them. If your every word about your friend is a negative one, why on earth would you suddenly expect your family to embrace them? Why do you want your family to sit around the table today as if nothing is wrong, when swirling around in their heads is, "Why is this lying crackhead here? Do I need to call 911?"
Don't let people annoy your family today. Don't YOU annoy your family today. Open your eyes. The reign of terror will soon come to a head if you don't pay attention and establish very necessary boundaries. People only do what they are allowed to do, and some people take WAY too many liberties when it comes to your family. If YOU don't say something to the monster YOU have created, and allowed to negatively impact your family, your disgusted family members just might help you. Distancing and isolating you from your family is the aim of some people. Don't let it happen with your help.
Now, if YOU'VE been The Annoyed for the last few holidays, go on. Get up, get ready, make your covered dish of whatever, and go. Don't anticipate problems. McDonald's is good, but not exactly Thanksgiving fare. Don't let someone's selfishness, greed, inappropriate words, stupidity, ignorance, arrogance, lack of home training, drunken/impaired state, or insensitivity keep you from spending time with your family, or enjoying yourself today. Remember your intense desire to see Jesus some day. That should keep you straight. Smile. Keep your cell phone charged. Keep your mouth shut--except for eating and affirming words. Even saying what you think needs to be said, softly and nicely, can often be considered "cuttage" --for which you will be convicted. The evening is for dessert, not sackcloth and ashes. Resist the temptation to cuss out or call 911 on a crazy, imposing, thoughtless, too-familiar, busybody friend-of-a-family-member, today. Stay out of the back of a squad car YOURSELF, today.
You can do it.