Although the ads and songs call this the most wonderful time of the year, spending time with family members can sometimes be anything but wonderful! Think “National Lampoon Christmas Vacation” and Cousin Eddie! It can be stressful being around the individual who becomes obnoxious after drinking; the person who talks non-stop; or the person who always says something with which you feel uncomfortable.
If you know that you will be spending time with an individual who is not your favourite person, it can be best to plan ahead on how you want to handle the person or situation. If you know that a person starts to become belligerent once they have been drinking too much, plan an early escape. Or can you offer to help walk around with hors d’oeuvres so that you don’t get stuck with the non-stop talking relative?
- Start by picturing the individual and what their usual behaviours or lines are (you've dealt with him or her before so you know what the usual routine is).
- What is the worst part of the situation?
- Start to brain storm what ways you can deal with the person or situation. Get creative! Is there someone (sibling, cousins) that you can collaborate with?
- If you can’t think of anything, try asking your friends or coworkers how they deal with an individual who behaves in a specific way or says certain things. Everyone has a story about a person or situation when they felt uncomfortable or awkward and have come up with great ways to handle the difficult relatives.
Remember, in the end, you can only control your own behaviour and how you respond, not what the other person is doing.