Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 141: Handling Difficult People at Holiday Events
Dreading those tough moments at holiday gatherings when someone makes everyone tense, irritated or embarrassed? It’s not just you. There are obnoxious people everywhere. However, we don’t need to sacrifice our family’s health (mental or otherwise), to appease the folks who make life tense. Join Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Eagle (the Seeing Eye Puppy) for a comfortable chat about uncomfortable people.
When planning for that big get-together, but stressing because you know *Irritating Uncle George* is going to be there, here are some valuable questions to ask yourself:
What’s the goal of the gathering?
- If it’s the goal to have a picture perfect event, we might need to downgrade that goal when there are difficult people in the mix. Better to be realistic and unsurprised than to simply wish he’d behave and be miserable. Listen to this episode on Realistic Expectations.
- If the goal is to honor the traditions of the family, how can you discuss with each person ways to keep that tradition-honoring time pleasant?
What are the deal breakers for you and your family?
- Ask your family members, what are their deal breakers? Those are the places you need to work together to come up with a creative, Christlike boundary or solution.
How flexible are your family members with their deal breakers and expectations?
- Ask your family members what they can and are willing to adjust.
What are your internal Rules for the Universe?
We all have a set of Rules for the way the Universe should run. If we stubbornly try to cling to our Rules for the Universe, and the universe isn’t running by our rules, we will make ourselves sick.
Take for instance, Vicki’s Rule: *Everyone I care about should be okay all the time*. Unfortunately for Vicki, she can’t control that. She has to leave everyone’s okay-ness in God’s hands. (He going to run the universe the way He sees best, anyway- regardless of our Rules.)
What are YOUR Rules for the Universe? Some of our favorites are (and we must give up on):
- Everyone I care about must be part of our traditions, so everyone must be present with me.
- Everyone should behave like a Norman Rockwell painting.
- Everyone should be upbeat and happy all through the holidays.
What do we do when there is a difficult people present in our family, so will make the gathering difficult?
Ask yourself: Is it necessary for that person to attend if they are dangerous to the well-being and safety of the rest of the group? If the person is not a safe person, must they come? Think about that seriously. The idea that all people must be present at important holiday events is simply one of those internal Rules for the Universe.
Is it necessary for us to suck it up and say nothing difficult people or do we confront at that time of behavior?
- For people with Predictable Obnoxious Behaviors (POBs).
- Discuss those with the person ahead of time.
- For people with Unpredictable Bad Behaviors (UBBs).
- Gently pull that person aside and let them know the way things go at your house.
Remember your own stress points, ask yourself: Can I download/delegate any of them?
- Be loving. Make loving a goal.
- Be healthy. Make health a goal.
- Make social skills a goal. Listen to this episode for Holiday Social Skills for Teens.
Gathering with folks is important at Christmas but we are healthier when we have addressed questions about the ways we’ll handle trouble-making people at the events.
Do your teens need to vent about those obnoxious folks? Give them a cathartic writing assignment: Holiday Family Narratives.
You can read about how the holiday family narrative works, check out this post.
Enjoy this empowering chat with Sabrina, Vicki, Kym and Seeing Eye Puppy, Eagle. And enjoy these posts:
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