Difficult Relatives on Thanksgiving Day, Part III


Happy Thanksgiving! Here are your final three tips for dealing with difficult friends and relatives on your holiday:

1) After a little while with family and friends old unhealthy patterns often emerge. Don't be codependent based on past dealings with your relatives. Don't expect others to take care of you. And don't let others make you take care of them. Unless you are dealing with an actual child, treat the other person with the kind of respect you would give an adult coworker or friend. If someone tries to make you act codependent, take a break from them or even stay elsewhere.

2) Are you truly listening? Listen to your friends and relatives, even when what they say seems dull or annoying. Don't interrupt. When they have completely finished what they want to say, ask them if it is ok to repeat back what you just heard for your own clarification if you need it. If you do this, your experience of them will be greatly enhanced.

3) Don't confuse fighting with caring, as is done in many family gatherings. This negative form of “caring” easily becomes ugly and can even create family cut-offs. Deliberately find ways to be more positive with your relatives and friends, or step aside until you can see how to do better do this.

It is my hope that you will make some good Thanksgiving memories with those you care about. So no matter what others do or don't do, decide to act differently and be creative about finding ways to enjoy yourself during this special time of the year.