Most people don’t always get along all of the time, and families are no exception. The holidays (with their own emotional roller coaster of demands and deadlines) just seem to bring out those conflicts more than any other time of the year. Minor slights, disappointments, and differences of opinion can get amplified, even before that first slice of turkey hits the plate. (In other words, football isn’t the only sporting event that draws a crowd!) Dealing with the drama diplomatically and effectively can mean the difference between making happy memories (actually wanting to see each other again), and dreading the next encounter.
Depending on time, place, people, and circumstances, consider these tips to help keep the peace, this holiday season, and always:
- If you’re hosting, write your own invitation! Say what’s expected, but keep it light with something like, “On the menu: Good food, good cheer, fair play, and humble pie for dessert! Everybody plays nice at our house.”
- Your house, your rules: Set the tone. Toast being thankful, being together, and embracing what’s shared as well as what’s different. Agree to disagree without sacrificing relationships; you’re still a family.
- Know that you can’t change personality. Be realistic about your expectations.
- Call a truce on grievances or grudges. Make this year’s holiday a judgement-free zone. Don’t take sides.
- Read the room. Anticipate something or someone triggering a bad reaction from someone else, and have a game plan for dealing with it quickly, but with firmness and sensitivity. If tempers rise, and things start to get physical, know that you can ask for help (including calling 911).
- Keep your sense of humor. Try to diffuse a tense situation before it gets out of hand.
- Set politics and religion aside! This can be a charged mix of topics.Take a break from the news cycle.
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano
Sources include: www.mayoclinic.com