It’s the time of year when family members—who you may not see much during the year—come together to celebrate the holidays. This gathering is the marquee event of the year where many people look forward to the holiday with a mix of pleasure and worry about how they will get along.
Based on my experience, I think I have what I believe might be the foolproof strategy that will get you through what could be an awkward Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond.
You must set boundaries as to what you will and will not tolerate. Only when behaviors change should you lower the limits.
Keep Certain Topics off the Plate
Get everyone to agree that there are topics that just will not be discussed because they only bring out the worst in these individuals, and don’t allow the conversation to veer into a minefield of divisive issues.
Accept Everyone’s Differences
The sooner you accept that everyone is different, the easier it will be to stop being frustrated.
Thanksgiving Is Not The Time for Family Therapy
Family gatherings are not the time is not for therapy– that is for professionals to handle and in private. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into the drama that these individuals use to dominate social events and diminish your enjoyment of the holidays.
Don’t Take Everything Personal
Older family members have a tendency to say outlandish things. Depersonalize negative comments as much as you can. It’s okay to put some emotional distance between your relationship.
Remind Yourself Why You’re Here
Although we don’t get to choose our family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. Love on them and be grateful for the time you have together.
When In Doubt, Whip Out The Ultimate Conversation Killer!
‘Oh, OK (friendly nods)’ – This expression suggests you are ready to move on from the conversation. Some may suggest it’s inappropriate and come across as overly brusque but its the only way to validate the person and move on from the discussion.