Ten Commandments of Reunion Etiquette

Submitted by Sheila Axtman Kokkeler

Family Reunion
by Jennnifer Crichton with contributions from Judith Martin/Miss Manners to help compile the Commandments.

  1. Thou shalt not forget thine ordinary manners nor thy common civility, just because thou art amongst thy brothers and sisters.

  2. Thou shalt tolerate the tiresome relative (at least for a little while).

  3. Thou shalt not play footsie with a distant cousin or thy cousin's spouse.

  4. Sniping and carping about a reunion's lack of organization is an abomination.

  5. Thou shalt orchestrate spontaneous praise unto the reunion organizer.

  6. Thou shalt not talk about everything under the sun. Agree to disagree, and steer clear of controversial topics.

  7. Parents shall not use intimate details of their kids' lives as conversational fodder. (Boasts of children's accomplishments are acceptable, but parents shall be discreet in their phrasing and timing.)

  8. Thou shalt not reveal devastating family secrets about thyself or others unless thou hast arranged therapeutic support systems.

  9. Thou shalt not publicly criticize the bad manners or poor behavior of any child not thine own.

  10. Thou shalt flatter thy kinfolk--falsely or not. All nieces tap dance divinely, all babies are beautiful, and all aunts look as wonderful as ever.

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