If you are like most people, around the holidays is a time for getting together with family and close friends. There are people you may not have seen in a while, many different personalities and the normal family tension—it can be stressful. Here are some tips to a smooth holiday visit that should help during your next family gathering.
Tip #1: Expect Nothing. I know, I know, it seems harsh to say but the simple fact is that if we have no level of expectations going in, there’s no disappointment.
Tip #2: Forget Past Disagreements. This is easier said than done, especially if you were really wronged or hurt. However, a family get together may not be the best time to “get things off your chest”. It is best to write a letter or email to express the hurt or wrong you felt or called them at another time. For the sake of the occasion, avoid stirring up anything that would cause chaos or strife for the family. You never know, your adult behavior may rub off.
Tip #3: Pour on Extra Patience and Charm. Anytime there are people with different personalities and viewpoints together, someone’s going to get rubbed the wrong way. Enjoy the moment, visit with those you enjoy time with the most and know when to move on from those you don’t particularly “mesh” with. But make a point to go out of your way to be extra sweet—it’s only for a little while.
Tip #4: Don’t Overstay Your Welcome. This can be tough for “people pleasers”. You stay and stay until you are the last one and the hosts are in their pj’s because you don’t want them to think you don’t like them or something. If it’s hard for you, get a designated leave announcer. You know, someone who will agree that when you give the signal or they just know it’s time to go, to come and let you know, “It’s getting pretty late, I guess we need to get going. We have that thing early in the morning.” It takes the pressure off you and you’re not known as the one that wouldn’t leave.
Tip #5: Introverts, Don’t Hide. Being around people zaps your strength and you avoid conversations like the plague. You don’t have to hide. Just be the one who is really helpful. Offer to run all the errands for last minute items needed, walk the dog, sit with gram, cook–there really are a ton of things you can do. This will prevent others, who just don’t get it, from thinking you’re anti-social or rude. (Some just really don’t get it.)
Hope this helps when you have your next family gathering. Give it a try with work or other social events. Have fun!