For some reason, holidays bring out the worst in people, especially our own family members. I don’t know if it’s the stress or what but it definitely happens!
Dealing with difficult family members doesn’t have to give you a headache or ruin the day. Here are some ways you can handle unpleasant people:
- Bite your tongue. If you happen to be in a conversation that goes south and you’re the recipient of the unpleasant comments, just don’t say anything. It may be hurtful and difficult, but don’t respond. Often not responding puts an end to it since one reason people do it is to get a rise. If they don’t get one, it’s not fun anymore.
- Let it go. This is different than biting your tongue. When you bite your tongue, it still upsets you. If you can, just let it go. Let them say what they need to and then just walk away and forget it.
- Change the subject. This is actually a very effective strategy. When someone starts spouting off unpleasantness directed at you or someone else, just change the subject. Most of the time that works really well.
- Keep it light. Perhaps you’re the one who likes to bring up controversial subjects. Don’t. On this day, just keep it light. Save the heavy discussions for another day.
- Adjust your expectations. If you have a family member that tends to cause trouble, prepare yourself. Don’t go to the holiday celebrations thinking this might be the year he/she behaves himself. It probably won’t be. If you’re prepared and expecting trouble, you’ll be less disappointed and upset. You know the saying, forewarned is forearmed.
- Avoid. And if all else fails or you just really can’t deal with a particular person, avoid him/her. But be careful not to do it in such a way that it looks like you’re mad or upset. Just keep yourself busy. Be polite to the offender but don’t engage with him/her.
- Don’t take it personally. So much of the time difficult people aren’t really attacking individuals like it seems. They’re just griping and complaining.
Hopefully you won’t need any of these tips for your holiday celebration. But if you do . . .