10 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People at Christmas

Christmas is the time of year where most people have a wonderful experience. They get together with friends and family, exchange gifts and have wonderful meals. They share experiences that will last a lifetime.

However, that’s not true for everyone. Some folks have a hard time during the holidays. Some of them are separated from their families due to work or other reasons. Others find the whole experience depressing rather than joyous.

Then there’s the other group of folks. These are the people that are drawn to family dinners or office parties and find themselves in the middle of personal problems.

10 tips for dealing with difficult people at Christmas.

Dealing With Difficult People at Christmas? Limit Your Time

Try as you might, you really have a hard time dealing with that particular uncle from out of town. If you’re like a lot of us, you can’t really see your way to completely avoiding the dinner where he will be. However, you are in control of how much time you’ll spend at that function.

You can start by telling the host or hostess when you arrive that you will need to leave early. That takes a lot of the pressure off the evening and might make dealing with that difficult relative little easier.

Don’t Try and Change Them

Have you ever rehearsed what you’re going to say or do to try to change someone’s behavior on the way to Christmas dinner? If you have, stop now. Acceptance is a great psychological tool if you use it properly. Being able to take someone just as they are can often smooth over any of the rough edges in your relationship.

Change Your Role When Dealing With Difficult People at Christmas

Part of the problem that you might be having with certain people at Christmas or during the holidays is simple. Everyone plays a certain role in a big group dynamic. If that’s part of the problem you’re having with one or two of the other folks, try changing your role.

Try looking for something positive in that particular person. If that doesn’t work, you might want to try to be in another room as much as possible. If all else fails, you can phone a friend if things get a little uncomfortable.

Practice Self Restraint

This tip is all about the age-old adage of counting to 10 before you say anything. Try practicing a little self-restraint during the holidays when you’re around people who can provoke you. Dealing with difficult people at Christmas is easier when you make up your mind not to make eye contact.

Just giving yourself a few seconds to think about your response can make all the difference. It can mean that you will make a rational comment rather than an emotionally fused response.

Drop Expectations

Sometimes, lowering your expectations is the best way to go about dealing with difficult people at Christmas. If your first cousin acts the same way and has been doing it for years, expecting bad behavior from them can help you to stay calm.

Trying to control what will happen usually ends up making for a frustrating evening anyway. It’s much better to let things take their own course.

Carry Tokens

Who says grown-ups need to outgrow their teddy bears? Carrying a token in your pocket that you can grab hold of if things turn nasty can help you to stay centered. Some folks like keychains with slogans and models engraved on them like “Peace on Earth.”

 Anyway, you’d look a little strange carrying a teddy bear around the family Christmas dinner unless it’s a gift. However, you can hide one of these tokens in your pocket and keep it close even though no one can see it.


Looking on the lighter side helps too. Smiling and telling a joke is often just the thing to defuse what could otherwise be a bad situation.

Stay in The Moment

Present moment living can do wonders if you’re dealing with difficult people at Christmas. Forget about the argument you had with your sister two years ago. Just try and keep an open mind and stay in the moment this year.

Be Compassionate

Here’s another useful technique. Try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and be compassionate . If you’ve got a relative who’s especially combative, it helps to understand they are in all probability suffering during the holidays.

Not getting along with them might have nothing to do with you whatsoever. The whole thing might not be personal.

Have A Few Tricks Up Your Sleeve

Finally, dealing with difficult people at Christmas might require you to have more than one coping strategy. Take a few from this list and even make up a few of your own so you’ve got a mixed bag to draw from.

Find Christmas crafts and gifts to keep them busy.

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