Several times a year, and particularly during the holidays, it’s customary for your extended family to gather for a meal, a day or even a whole week.
While these family get-togethers present many opportunities for joy and bonding, they can also be a source of stress, discomfort and anger.
You may not get along well with everyone in your family or you may be uncomfortable with larger get-togethers in general.
Here are some important tips from Dr. Glenn Pickering to help you navigate your next family-get together:
1. Avoid Uncomfortable Topics
The fastest way for a family gathering to turn hostile is for someone to bring up a topic which creates a conflict between two or more family members. In general, just as at work, it’s best to avoid topics like politics and religion while gathering with your family, as debates over such topics can go from spirited to heated in a matter of minutes.
If there’s any major drama in the family, even if it’s long in the past, you should probably avoid bringing that up, too. If someone else brings up a topic that makes you uncomfortable, attempt to change the subject or engage with another family member to avoid an unpleasant confrontation.
2. Ask Good Questions
A great way to bond with your family, while preventing uncomfortable conversations or awkward silences, is to come prepared with some good questions that you can ask at the get-together.
It’s a great idea to prepare questions for both individual family members who will be attending and for the group at large. Showing an interest in your family by asking the right questions will allow you to grow closer to them and prevent feelings of social discomfort that may lead to conflict or anxiety.
3. Stick To Boundaries
Everyone has boundaries. If you don’t know your extended family members very well, you may not be sure what exactly their social boundaries are and it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Avoid saying things that might make them uncomfortable or be perceived as insulting.
Whether you’re a host or a guest at the get-together, try to be courteous and welcoming to all of your family members but don’t do so at the cost of violating your boundaries.
If someone in your family generally makes you uncomfortable, you can avoid being alone with them. If someone brings up a topic you don’t want to discuss, politely change the topic or, if that fails, find an excuse to remove yourself from the situation.
Never allow someone to violate your boundaries for the sake of being polite.
Call Dr. Glenn Pickering Today!
If you feel the need for family counseling services in preparation for your next family get-together, talk to an expert with 30 years of experience. Give Dr. Glenn Pickering a call today to schedule virtual or in-person family counseling services!