Nov 20, 2017 Relationships

You've Got This—How to Deal With Difficult People Over the Holidays

by Christie Calucchia


As wonderful as the holidays are for providing a reason for friends and family to gather together to enjoy a delicious meal and good company, Ravi Chandra, MD, DFAPA, points out that they can also be difficult to get through. A natural side effect of bringing people from different generations, cities, and walks of life under the same roof is the differences in opinion they often hold. Not to mention ever-changing family dynamics and expectations. Chandra suggests four simple steps to keep the peace over the holidays, according to Psychology Today.

1. Anticipate. Many family arguments stem from issues of the past, Chandra explains. Instead of getting caught up in old disagreements brought up by current events, anticipate who might bring you grief at the dinner table so you can be prepared to deal with them in a healthy way.

2. Observe. The ability to observe and then respond instead of jumping to a quick reaction can help you stay calm in the face of conflict. "If you can bring mindfulness to your reactive mind, you can generate a space for observation, curiosity, understanding, empathy, and even compassion," says Chandra.

3. Think Big Picture. Try focusing on the greater good instead of letting petty disagreements get the better of you. Chandra points out that the holidays are "time-limited interactions," so it may be a better use of your energy to focus on creating a gracious environment at the holidays, even for the difficult people you may be forced the chitchat with.

4. Self-soothe. You have the power to regulate your emotions and feel happy even if someone disagrees with you. Chandra advises doing this by recognizing a difficult situation for what it is, realizing that this is a part of life, and choosing to be kind to yourself.

Head to Psychology Today for the full story, and consult these editor-approved tips for meeting the parents next.

Explore: Relationships