The Hallmark industry would have you believe that family gatherings around the holidays are a warm, fabulous , glitter covered occasions. Right. The brutal reality is that most of us have a family member (or two or three) who irritates us beyond belief, threatening to ruin our holiday cheer. Maybe you can hide from them them the rest of the year, you’re still required to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with them at the holiday table once a year. Here are a few hacks that we know have been tried AND have worked for coping with difficult people that can help you not only prevent melt-down, but can also make your holiday much more fun (this is not taking into account wine, Champagne or other libation).
MAKE A PLAN: I think everyone has the “drunk Uncle” who challenges your patience each and every time you see him. Try to take a moment and picture all of the possible scenarios that could arise and ask yourself how you might handle them this year. What could you do differently?
THE OLD “KINDNESS” THING: Rather than meeting icy behavior with icy behavior, try to melt them with kindness. Maybe someone is harboring a “hurt” from last year. Just letting them know you still care about them can do wonders. If all else fails………get that glass of wine you’ve been eyeing!!
MAKE A CHANGE: This sounds funny but there is research that shows that, for example, wearing a watch on the wrong wrist can remind you to react differently to those irritating family members. It’s one of those mind tricks that actually works!
SEE RELATIVES THROUGH DIFFERENT LENSES: The Uncle that tells truly awful off-color jokes may just be super insecure and think no one likes him (which could be true…..). Try to steer him in another direction with kindness and support and see if he changes. Often people who have difficulty in social situations are overcompensating for their problem and attempt to be part of the group by doing things that are not appropriate.
I’d love to know if you have a tip or hack that you’ve used during the holidays.