Everyone in your family knows you're a really passionate fan of a really terrible basketball team. And for some reason, despite everyone else not really being impacted on a daily basis by the perennial awfulness of the Sixers, they really think you want to hear about their opinions despite maybe (maybe!) watching 20 minutes of basketball this season. It is inevitable and also awful.
Given that in mind - since we're almost all bound to encounter this situation - here's a simple, helpful guide of five methods to deal with potential hot takes.
1. If possible, just skip the parties. No need to hear mostly bad opinions if you can avoid them altogether. If you're not exchanging gifts or enjoying others' company, why even engage?
2. If method 1 fails, and the person you're likely to discuss with is someone with a really hot take they really want you, ESPECIALLY you, to hear, only engage to the extent it takes time to end the conversation. The holidays are a time for good vibes and trying to get along, whereas this conversation is akin to building a bridge to nowhere: pointless and time-wasting and hazardous to the health of anyone on the trail.
Let's go through an illustrative example of this approach:
UNWANTED CONVERSATIONALIST: "So how about those Sixers?"
YOU: "Yeah. Let's not."
U.C.: "But they're so bad. When will they ever be good? This is so embarrassing."
YOU: "Oh hey look yet another Bruce Springsteen cover band!" /points
3. The ideal option is getting out just in time, but some family members are persistent. They will not let you go without giving their two cents no matter how irrelevant their opinion is. The best option if you can't escape? Tweet through it. Enter the comments section here and type away the hottest takes you hear as fast as you can. The internet will be your friend. Don't raise your voice. Just shake your head as the responses to the takes flow in.
Because even if your brain is about to explode, the internet will have an entertaining day.
4. But not everyone you encounter during the holidays is just a fan in passing. There are legitimate, still-attentive Sixers fans who watch regularly and hate the current product. They may even not care about Bruce Springsteen cover bands. And they may even have been on board with the Process at one time. Option 4 addresses this scenario.
Here it's worth having an honest, open conversation about what you think. Acknowledge the team's faults. Note how hard they are to watch. Maybe list a roster move or two you regret. Mention Brett Brown's late-game lineup gaffes. Treat it as a way to find a common ground agreement on what the Sixers are, what the Sixers have done wrong, and what they haven't done wrong, and where you think they should go from here. They've been through the pain with you.
Make it a productive discussion. Small talk sucks anyway. If the conversation doesn't go anywhere, find a way out akin to Option 2.
5. Someone like you who still believes in what the Sixers are doing shows up. He or she is despondent at the squad's 1-30 record. Ish Smith is their new savior, and it's so sad. There's a lot to talk about, but maybe give that special someone a hug first and a pat on the shoulder, then you both should tell each other that it's going to be okay in the end, even if in your heart of hearts you think it won't be.
Joel Embiid might happen. Maybe Ish really does help things. They can't be this terrible forever, right?
Do it and generate enough optimism to get through the night. It'll get you to the point where you can cry in your pillow in peace. Or it'll get you to the bar. Merry Christmas!