Sisterhood Thrive

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FRIEND HATES GOING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

For most of us, the holidays are one of the best times of the year. Between the great food, thoughtful gifts, and visits with people you love, there’s nothing more warm and cozy than celebrating with your family and friends. But for some people, going home for the holidays can be difficult. Whether the problem lies with strained relationships, grief, or family drama, the thought of traveling back home can incite anxiety and stress. And during the holidays, there is an additional pressure or obligation to visit family, even if it may not be the best choice emotionally.

If you have a vina in this situation, it can be tough to know how to help. We hate seeing our vinas in pain, so we want to figure out how to support them! I have a vina who has a hard time going home for the holidays, so I asked her: what are the best things that I, or any of your friends, could do to support you?

UNDERSTAND HER SITUATION MAY BE PERSONAL

Don’t push your vina to open up to you about what’s going on with her if she doesn’t want to. And don’t assume that you know how she feels or what she’s going through. “Be there for them…[but] understand that every family situation is different,” my friend says. Let her know that you are there if she wants to talk, but if she would rather not, respect her choice.

LISTEN

If your vina does want to talk about why it’s hard for her to go home, really listen. As humans, we sometimes get caught up feeling like we have to sympathize or relate to the problem. Or worse, we sometimes even end up fake-listening, just waiting for our turn to talk. But especially when a vina is in a crisis or having a problem, we have to cut that out. Don’t feel like you need to give advice (unless it is asked for) or relate her experience to your own experience. The most important thing is to make her feel truly heard, and to show that she can trust you to be there for her.

IF YOU CAN, OFFER YOUR PLACE

If you’re traveling back to your hometown for the holidays, you probably only have one place to stay – with your family. For someone who has issues or problematic relationships with her family, this can be intimidating, limiting, and anxiety-inducing. So if you live or will be around the area, offer your vina an alternative place to stay. That way, she knows that if something happens and she wants to leave the house, she has a place to land. “I owe so much to the friends who gave me safe spaces when I needed to not be at my home,” my friend told me. “I don’t think I could handle going home without knowing there are people I can call if things go badly.”

Do you have other ways to support your friends who dread going home for the holidays? Tell us in the comments! And remember to remind your vinas how much you love them this holiday season ❤️.

(Featured image via @ju_wels)

I'm a writer, actress, and filmmaker in the SF Bay Area! When not at a keyboard, on a stage, or on a set, I like reading, hiking/exploring, watching indie films with awesome women characters, attempting to be competent at playing guitar, and ugly-crying over the Hamilton cast recording. Always trying to be the Leslie Knope I wish to see in the world :)

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