Spending the holidays with your family is one of those things that seems nice in theory however often once we arrive we remember all of the reasons that we only see our family on the holidays.
The difference between friends and relatives is that you don’t get to choose your relatives like you do with friends. You may not like each other at all or be even remotely compatible but you are obligated to see each other at least once a year at family gatherings.
Rather than allowing yourself to go crazy each time you are forced to sit and endure the awkward silences or inappropriate or comments which are made to intentionally provoke reactions, take control of the situation and make the choice not to make this a horrible experience. Here are some of the best tips for making sure that your holidays with relatives aren’t a disaster.
One of the biggest culprits of things going sour at family gatherings is drinking too much booze. When the spirits start flowing then people are more likely to have heightened emotions and amplified reactions.
If you are hosting the party, try to keep drinking to a minimum by not having a large amount of alcohol on hand. Since usually, no one is feeling exactly at ease, the more drinks that are available to drink the more people will reach for them. Limit the supply and you will limit the urge to consume.
Prepare Yourself Beforehand
Sometimes all it takes is a little preparation to be ready for a tough situation. Try doing some self-talk before you go to the gathering and remind yourself that it is never exactly a walk in the park and that you are ready for whatever comes your way.
By being realistic and acknowledging that it isn’t easy at gatherings rather than assuming that every time will be better than the last, you can approach the gathering with realistic expectations and be better prepared emotionally for what is about to come.
Smile And Nod
When it comes to avoiding conflict one of the most effective reactions is just to smile and nod. This is a neutral and non-threatening way to avoid anyone coming at you with aggression. Your smiles and nods don’t mean you agree but they don’t mean you disagree either.
Think of the translation of a smile and nod as “I accept you.”
Adverse situations come in a variety of shapes and forms throughout the day. Sometimes we think that by reacting we are standing up for what we believe in, but in fact, true strength sometimes lies in stepping back and seeing the bigger picture.
The skill of practicing mindfulness means that we are living in the present and are hyper aware of our feelings, surroundings, and slowing down our constant need to think and react rather than simply accepting the moment.