Family Reunions: 5 Tips To Face Them Successfully

The end of the year is approaching and this is equal to a company dinner, family meetings and with friends. In principle, nothing has to go wrong in family gatherings, but, as in all families there are unresolved conflicts, they find a good opportunity to emerge at Christmas parties.  In any case, Christmas is a difficult time for most adults; If this is the case in your case, don’t feel like a “weirdo”.

It is important to note that conflicts are a part of family life and it is normal that sometimes the performance of “one of us” feels bad.  The danger appears when this conflict is not resolved, it gives rise to negative emotions that are saved and fed, exploding at the Christmas Eve dinner or the Christmas meal. Do you feel identified with this situation? If the answer is yes, we want to help you so that the previous circumstances do not end up taking over the stage, be it dinner or lunch, spoiling the party.

For this reason, in this article we collect 5 tips to face family reunions successfully. The idea is that with these little strategies you will be able to be with those who have had or have a problem and even get to enjoy and participate in the festive atmosphere. These tips are intended to be memorized and used as an emergency plan in the event that the meeting begins to escalate tension and you begin to “sniff out” the conflict.

5 tips to successfully face family gatherings this holiday season

1. Avoid giving in to provocations, if you have to talk about the subject that is not the time

When we have an unresolved problem with someone, it is tempting to use the first opportunity we have to talk and put an end to it. Therefore, when we meet people with whom we have a problem, without realizing it, we can both provoke and be provoked.

In this sense, it is important that you detect provocations as soon as possible. The objective will be to redirect the conversation towards a topic that is not conflictive, so that the tension dissipates. Surely family gatherings at Christmas are not the best time to talk about sensitive topics.

“Even if you have a large family, give yourself personal territory where no one can enter without your permission.”

– Alejandro Jodorowsky-

2. Focus on those who feel lucky to have the family together, do it for them.

In many families there are figures, such as a mother, father or grandfather who are very happy when they have the whole family together. The rest of the members agree to participate in family reunions partly motivated by satisfying the desire of that figure who is so waiting for that meeting. Therefore, if in your case you do not find motivation to meet with a family member, focus on the ability of your gesture to make another person you appreciate happy.

3. Find out and be honest with yourself: what is it that really bothers you? It has a solution?

When being with someone bothers us, we have to know what is really going on. Does something that can be changed bother us? Are we bothered by a characteristic of the other that we actually share with him? Answering these questions is essential to be able to manage the emotions that arise in conflict. Thus, in some cases we are bothered by a personal characteristic of a relative that he or she is not going to change, so that we will have to be the ones who raise our tolerance level or who avoid sharing with him the circumstances in which he manifests this characteristic.

One way or another, a Christmas family reunion is not the most conducive territory if we want to promote change in someone. As much as our intentions are the best and we only want your good. This is not the best time to tell someone they still smoke too much or should eat more. We have the whole year to do it, so that we do not muddy these encounters with comments that may hurt someone, even though they are not offensive at heart.

4. Talk to yourself and think: is it worth having a conflict during the meeting?

Whenever you get upset, try to take a few minutes to talk to yourself and reflect on whether it is really worth starting a dispute right now. When I say “talk to yourself” I mean that you use the power of self-instructions (instructions that we give ourselves) to your advantage.

In other words, the words we say to ourselves function as commands in the brain. In this sense, if the orders you give yourself are calm and serene, it will be easier for you to endure family gatherings and overcome them successfully.

“The bond that unites your authentic family is not of blood, but of mutual respect and enjoyment.”

Richard Bach-

5. Avoid reaching the limit and leave before it’s too late

Avoidance is not always a negative coping strategy; rather, it is the best strategy when we have to face complicated situations and it is neither the time nor the place. Furthermore, avoidance is also the best thing to do when you already know that you are going to get angry, lose control, and give other people a hard time. Wanting to control your anger when your patience has run out  is not a realistic goal.

On the other hand, you need to know how to set limits on your family relationships before Christmas arrives . Each family follows a functioning model, you can have a family with an independent model or with an agglutinated model. If your family has an independent model, the boundaries between the lives of each of its members are defined and respected. In this case, when the family reunions come, you have your work done.

However, if you have a family that follows an agglutinated model, the limits between the lives of each of the members are not well defined or are not respected. And therefore, in this case it will be a good idea that these limits are defined before the meetings themselves. Because, family gatherings are not the best time to explain your personal needs or to keep those who have a knack for meddling in the most intimate aspects of your life at bay.

In any case, it is always good to set limits on family relationships and be clear about what we want to share and what not, and when we want advice and when we don’t. Remember that you have the right to make your own decisions even when you feel that they go against what most of your family thinks.

Finally, take advantage of these holidays to enjoy the positive aspects of family gatherings and focus your attention on them. And above all, remember that being patient and not getting into conflicts can prevent a good initiative from becoming unpleasant for those who participate in it. In this sense, your attitude on these dates can have a great impact on the well-being of other people.


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