You might think and feel like your family is quirkier, more annoying, and more dramatic than anyone else’s, but the truth is most everyone experiences family drama this time of year. Do you have to hang out with your family for long stretches of time during the holidays? You may daydream about your clan sitting around a cozy fire and enjoying each other’s company.
However, the reality is far less relaxing. So, if you’re bracing yourself for political diatribes, excessive drinking or your mom criticizing your home décor decisions yet again, here’s how to make it through the family drama without going insane.
1. Make Amends Ahead of Time
If you’re part of the family drama, don’t wait until everyone’s tucking into the meal to talk about the situation. Instead of making things uncomfortable for everyone, try to mend the relationship before dinner. That way, you can air your grievances and get to the heart of the problem, privately. Hopefully, you’ll come to some kind of agreement to let bygones be bygones for the sake of the holidays.
2. Don’t Take Sides
If you’re on the sidelines of the family drama, stay there. Resist the urge to choose sides and let the people involved know that you don’t want any part of their drama. The fewer allies your warring family members feel they have, the better the chances are that they will either stay mum about whatever is going on or turn to each other to work things out.
3. Practice Self-Care When Things Get Stressful
If family drama is getting heated before or during the holidays, and you’re getting stressed, take time to decompress. This could mean offering to do a grocery run so you can get some time alone (and maybe get your nails done or see a movie if you really need to unwind) or it could mean going to the guest room to do a quick meditation or read a book for a few minutes. Know when you need a break and take it for the sake of your sanity.
4. Focus On the Positive
Instead of worrying about what could happen at the holiday dinner table or pointing out all the annoying things your family members do, focus your attention on what you love about these people instead. Perhaps your sister’s endless stories about work are getting on your nerves but maybe take her to the spa so you can bond and she can relax. Maybe your dad always burns the mashed potatoes, but, you know what, you can eat around the blackened parts. The more you can focus on the positive, the more positive you will feel.
5. Hang Out at the Kid’s Table
When all else fails, turn to the children. Befriend your surly teenage niece and watch trashy TV with her in her room (away from the arguing adults). Offer to hold the baby and take him for a nice long stroller walk as an excuse to get out of the house. Pull a chair up to the kids’ table and make sure everyone eats their vegetables. Kids can be tough to deal with but they’re straight shooters—you won’t have to deal with any real family drama when you’re with the younger members of your family.