Making Seasonal Family Gatherings More Joyous
Family holiday gatherings and celebrations may be more popular this year. Indeed, many people seek to make up for time lost because of their inability to make close and personal visits because of the pandemic. Relatives often stress each other out at such gatherings, and volumes have been written that offer advice on coping with annoying spats. Practically speaking, helpful intervention suggestions boil down to a few key ideas. Consider the following if conflict is on the horizon this season.
- Preempting: Before a visit, ask that certain subjects (like politics or "Are you dating someone yet?") remain off-limits.
- Stay cool: Triggers happen, but with a bit of practice, you’ll avoid reacting to them. Practice role-plays with a friend that test your triggers and build resilience to difficult topics you wish to avoid.
- Assertiveness 101: Be direct and respectful but clear about your wants and needs. "Rise above" your trigger with a well-practiced request: "Aunt Sally, I’d like to talk about something else. Let’s discuss . . ."
Keith Stein |