Tips on Avoiding Family Confrontation During the Holidays
Holiday gatherings are both a long-awaited tradition and dreaded aspect of the season. Celebrating with an extended family often involves meeting relatives you rather not deal with. Even your closest family members may share political views you disagree with or find ways to turn conversation into unwanted criticism and questions.
While you can’t stop someone from sharing their views, you can make a game plan to respond to any unwanted conversion and keep the holidays centered around companionship and appreciation.
Keep a Distance
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, health experts recommend celebrating from afar. This may receive some backlash from family members who do not believe gathering poses a threat, especially if others quarantine prior. However, new studies show that getting together indoors can lead to the spread of the coronavirus, even if people wear masks and practice social distancing.
Arrange virtual holiday celebrations instead. You can open presents on video chat, stream holiday specials and even bake cookies together while Facetiming. You have a right to keep you and your family healthy and safe this year, even if other relatives do not agree. The best thing you can do if they criticize your choice to not attend any gatherings is to say you value their well-being as much as your own, so you’re keeping your distance and wishing them well even if you aren’t together.
Hold Gatherings on Rotation
You might decide to meet with certain family members at different times. Couples may visit each other’s parents on different days, and friends may choose to get together for a drama-free celebration. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary drama is to avoid intermingling with relatives who are prone to arguing with each other. Rather than expecting them to act differently, accept the reality of their differences and find a way to enjoy time with them individually.
Avoid Triggering Topics
Certain subject matter doesn’t have any place in a family gathering. Politics, religion and lifestyle choices, like gender identity and sexuality, should not be brought up during a holiday celebration. This is a time to cast aside differences and embrace people for who they are.
Of course, that does not mean you are subject to tolerating any unwanted abuse or commentary on your life. If there are certain relatives who make you uncomfortable or put you on the spot, it’s okay to decline seeing them, no matter what others have to say about it.
Put Gratitude Before Justification
Being grateful is more important than being right. While it may do your ego some good to best a relative in an argument or get into a heated debate about politics, will that really bring you what you need after such a tough year? As 2020 draws to a close, we must draw closer to what really matters in life.
Families are always going to have their differences. Some are easier to reconcile with than others. By returning to a place of gratitude, you can act with compassion and find the strength to let certain things go in favor of enjoying others’ company.
Caring Heart Counseling can help you navigate the often-stressful holiday season. Together, we can come up with an action plan to cope with difficult relatives and prioritize your peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to book a virtual therapy appointment.