Sometimes getting together with people you love can be a blast. Sometimes it can be a struggle. If you’re someone who always has fun with family, this isn’t for you. Maybe try this post instead. If however, you find it challenging to hang with relatives for any length of time, here’s some ideas on how to enjoy time with family.
The Holiday Obstacle Course
The holidays can be a painful time. Sometimes the most well-meaning family members can cause a great deal of pain. Sometimes the most self-centered family members can cause even more.
In either case, it can be a challenge to spend time with family and keep the peace or at least have a good time. Sometimes it seems no matter how much we try, it’s painful all the way around.
If you want to know how to enjoy time with family, especially when you have little to no choice but to interact with them, I have a few ideas to help you make it through and hopefully feel good when it’s all over.
Finding Peace in the Family Storm
The first thing you want to do is to ask yourself if the interaction you’re having is positive or negative. If you feel like it can be positive, then that’s a promising situation. You’ll want to move on to the next step.
If, however, you can’t see it being anything but negative, you will want to minimize your interaction. Find a way to make your appearance where you must and avoid it where you can.
When you do make an appearance, the next thing you want to do is make it as positive as possible. This can be challenging. For instance, things such as racism and misogyny are often swept under the rug in the name of “unity”, but perhaps that is why we still deal with them so heavily today.
Making it comfortable for the people who oppress others or use oppressive stereotypes doesn’t help the oppressed, it only makes it easy for the oppressor. So where do we stand up and where do we let it go?
Picking Your Battles
If you want to know how to enjoy time with family, knowing when to let things go and how to deal with problems is crucial. It’s also often much easier than it seems.
The way to know when to address things is when it’s not just a disagreement or a different view, but when that view can harm others. Believing differently is okay; let it go. Believing that some people don’t deserve to live is not okay. It’s time to speak up.
How do you do that? Just ask non-confrontational questions. “Why do you feel that way?” “What is it about it that bothers you?” “Do you think that’s the case?” The point is simply to help you understand where they are coming from. When people feel judged, they hold firm. When they feel listened to, they let their guard down.
It’s not always easy to hang out with family, but knowing how to enjoy time with family by avoiding interaction when necessary, picking your battles, and approaching concerning topics with earnest questions can help smooth over problems, and make the holidays or anytime better.