1. Fake (or exaggerate) a relationship.
“Why yes, as a matter of fact, I am dating a very nice boy! And he’s a lawyer. And I’m knitting this tie for him right now…”
2. Don’t let your phone and earbuds out of your sight.
Put ‘em in a cute little carrying case and keep them by your side at all times. You never know when someone is going to start a trip down memory lane, and those can only go one of two ways: crying or yelling.
3. Shock them with your new *tattoos*.
“Oh, what’s this? Just something I picked up while I was couch surfing in Amsterdam last spring.” And better yet, when it washes off later, you can blame the whole thing on grandma’s memory.
4. Keep the booze close.
Like, real close. You’re never going to read that hardcover copy of Lean In anyway, so why not put it to good use and make a carved-out stash box to hide the contraband?
5. Write about your feelings…or something.
Sure, you moved out five years ago, but that doesn’t mean your mom’s questions about where you’re going, who’s going to be there, and what time you’ll be home have stopped. Don’t want to start a fight? Write it down. Better yet, write it down in a beautiful journal you stitched yourself. See, better already!
6. Keep your e-reader handy.
And keep it close-at-hand in a protective tablet cover. You never know when you’ll suddenly need to look reallllllly engaged in a book to avoid your dad’s questions about that college loan…
7. Hang out with the kids.
Your little cousins don’t know the difference between a medical degree and an English major. Get their attention (and adoration) by bribing them with a pouch of candy stashed in your pocket, and then happily laugh to yourself when you watch their parents try to put them to bed later.
8. Fake an injury.
Need a moment to yourself? Skip the tired “headache” excuse. A few drops of fake blood should buy you at least 30 minutes in a locked bathroom.
9. Avoid them.
When all else fails, hide in your room. Go for a walk. Steal the car and go for a joy ride. And make sure to let them know you’re otherwise occupied – that’s what homemade chalkboards are for.