4 Tips on Dealing with Difficult People During the Holidays


Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and for some people the worst. Going home for the holidays are meant to be a joyous, relaxing, and pleasant time. However, the holidays can become a complicated time for those who may be dealing with difficult family members. These 4 tips will help you keep the peace and maintain your sanity during the holiday season.


1. Prioritize Self-Care

The holiday season is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding time. This is why it’s so important to prioritize self-care. First, self-care helps you maintain your sanity. This can include things like alone time, getting adequate and quality rest, making sure you are eating, and even treating yourself to things you’d normally deny yourself other times of the year. Additionally, self-care helps to prevent your loss of adult identity during the holidays. Being back with family at home can unintentionally cause you to feel like you’re slipping back into younger stages. Self-care helps to keep you in the present.


2. Limit Substance Use

The idea that having a few glasses of wine or a couple of beers will make being around a difficult family member much more tolerable. However, alcohol often makes things more complicated by lowering our inhibitions.Using substances to tolerate a family dinner is merely just a way of avoiding rather than coping. By avoiding heavy use of substances you can remain in control of your mind, body, and words.


3. Keep Conversations Neutral

The holidays are a sensitive time in many ways; ways in which you might not even be totally aware of. Simple questions like “when are you getting married?” “where are you going to college?” or “have you found a job yet?” can all be very triggering questions despite having innocent intentions. Try asking more open-ended questions. These are questions like, “what have you been keeping busy with?” “what are you up to these days?” and “what’s new with you?”. All of these questions show just the right amount of interest without seeming too nosy.


4. Avoid Strife

Shockingly enough, some people actually enjoy passionate arguments. Maybe that is you and maybe that isn’t. Either way, arguments are a really fast way to ruin a perfectly good meal for others. Instead of engaging in an argument, even just for the fun of it, end it before it gets too out of control. Saying this like, “let’s agree to disagree” or “let’s stop arguing so everyone else has something to be thankful for” can end an argument without ending the relationship.


Now that the holiday season is here, it can be difficult to manage all the thoughts and emotions that seem to bubble up around this time of year. If you are having difficulty mentally and emotionally preparing for the holidays with or without family, learn more about how counseling can help.