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How To Deal With Difficult Family Members Over the Holidays

The holidays are a time where you spend a lot of time with family and friends. This is exciting for many people. However, if your family members are on the nagging side, it can be pretty difficult to spend the whole day having a lot of conversations with them. Whether you hate talking about how your life is going, the political chats or just don’t get along with them altogether, it definitely causes a toll on your mental health. Spending time with family causes some to be met with anxiety and depression, which completely ruins the holiday season. Even though this may be dreadful, there are some ways you can handle it.

prepare for what’s to come

This might sound a little dramatic, but if your family is really that difficult to talk to, then this is definitely a good option for you. Preparing yourself can help you be calm when you walk into the event. Whether you need to meditate, go out with some friends or just take some time by yourself, this can all help you with the holidays to come. You can also think of some answers for any overbearing questions you may receive while at your holiday family gathering. If you need to come up with some white lies for these questions, this would definitely be the time for you to come up with them. Being able to prepare for the holidays will give you some help with your mental health during the holiday season.

Keep an open mind 

Going into a family event with an idea that it’s going to be awful is going to make it exactly that. Even though you may dread the encounters you’re about to have with your family members, try forgetting about it and think positive thoughts. This may be hard to do; however, it’s in your best interest to stay calm. For all you know, your family may be completely different this year and won’t want to have those dreadful talks with you. If you walk in with a negative attitude to the event, things have no chance of going well. Keeping an open mind will help you stay calm and be prepared for whatever’s going to come.

Try to keep the conversations short

This may be totally impossible with your family members. However, keeping the chat short will help you avoid some questions or comments you may want to avoid. If you find a discussion starting and you want to avoid it, then try to come up with an excuse, like having to go to the bathroom, to get out of it. Even though this might not work for all of them, cutting some of them short will help you through the really long conversations. If you find yourself trapped inside a conversation and feel yourself getting anxious, try to change the subject if that’s possible.

Keep your cool

If you’re angry or upset during your holiday gathering, this will definitely make the situation worse. Your family members might assume that you have an attitude and will make it a bigger deal than just the boring discussions you have throughout the day. Staying calm during the talks with your family will help both you and them. If you’re polite to them too this will also make the encounter you’re having a lot less difficult. Being able to keep your cool during your family gathering will help you a lot for the rest of the night.

Don’t let it ruin your holidays

Even though you may hate the holidays for this exact reason, try not to let it ruin your holiday season. The holidays are all about love and happiness, and if you feel like your family is ruining it for you, then try to take a deep breath and remember what the holidays mean to you. If you have a friend that you consider family, try spending time with them when you can. Letting a family member you dislike ruin your happiness will just make you dread the holidays altogether, and you don’t have to let that happen.

Whether or not you have to deal with some annoying family members, try to make it a good one. Have fun, be safe and have a happy holiday season!

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Emily Spillar

Montclair '25

Emily is a freshman, Journalism major at Montclair State University. She loves spending time with her friends and family, watching TV, and going on spontaneous adventures. Her goal for her articles is to entertain readers and to share her experiences.
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