One of my favorite lines from the movie, Home for the Holidays (directed by Jodie Foster) is ʺWell, we don't have to like each other...We're family.ʺ For many this Thanksgiving, this statement may ring true.
According to one therapist in Chicago, ʺMy business increases dramatically after Thanksgiving because of unresolved family issues which are stirred up during this time.ʺ Unfortunately, Thanksgiving will bring out the worst in people.
Dr. Frank Pittman says, ʺThanksgiving is simply a day to feed and nurture one another - the same thing we should be doing all year round.ʺ So, if you have demanding relatives or a ʺDebbie Downerʺ attending this Thanksgiving, here are some simple tips to avoid the stress and a manage possible conflict.
Everything in life is manageable. Forget perfection. Thanksgiving does not need to be a big Broadway production. A simple Turkey Day could be the best solution. You can easily pick-up a prepared turkey or ham dinner with all the sides and desserts. Also, if you are hosting, limit alcohol. Simple don’t buy any because the more liquid courage available, the more likelihood for a conflict.
Also, you can opt out of attending Thanksgiving. This is a great time to take a quiet family vacation to one of your dream destinations. If cost is an issue, find an off season location. For example, the Outer Banks in North Carolina has excellent deals on rentals this time of year. Also, Colorado has decent snow fall this time of year and the costs are still off season.
Respect differences. Don’t try to change anyone. The only thing you can control is your behavior and your actions.
Be honest when someone says something inappropriate or hurtful. Being too polite can result in a blow-up. Sometimes simply saying "I heard you" or ʺI disagreeʺ is enough.
Use Humor. Humor can diffuse the most volatile situations. But, do not make a joke at anyone else’s expense.
Call a friend for a reality check. Sometimes an outside opinion can bring reality back to a situation or circumstance.
Finally, here are some strategic tips in what NOT to do:
Don't act or react with anger