‘Tis the season when many of us are getting together with both our immediate and extended family to celebrate the holidays. While this is supposed to be a fun time that is full of joy and shared memories, all of us are painfully aware that whenever a family gathers, there’s always a chance that an argument will break out. While you might not be able to completely prevent family discourse over the holidays, there are some things you can do that will help you maintain the peace during gatherings.
Know Your Limits
Before getting together with your family for the holidays, take a few moments to access your mental and emotional health. Are you in a good state of mind or do you feel like it wouldn’t take much to push you over the edge? Take another moment to determine how much time you can spend with your family before you find your emotions starting to unravel. Commit yourself to only spending that amount of time at the gathering before you make your excuses and leave. Don’t be afraid to leave early if your family becomes too much. It’s far easier to apologize for leaving early than it is to apologize for getting into a massive argument with your siblings.
Don’t Bring Up Old Problems
Treat this family gathering as a blank slate. Old arguments, complaints, and other issues should be pushed aside and allowed to rest. If you have a problem with how a relative has treated you in the past, try to avoid that particular relative at this particular gathering. Once the holidays are over, you can always call them and try to resolve the issue.
Evaluate Your Attitude
You may not be able to do much about your cranky uncle or bickering parents, but you can do something about your attitude. Instead of approaching the family gathering with a chip on your shoulder, convince yourself to be tolerant and cheerful. This is one of those fake it until you make it situations, when you’re cheerful, even when you’re forcing yourself to be, you’ll notice others respond positively to you. Before you know it, your good attitude will have shifted the gathering’s entire atmosphere and everyone will be having a good time.