During this time of year, we’re supposed to enjoy the festivities of the holiday season … including visiting relatives. But what do you do if your visiting relative is an annoyance? Here are 3 helpful ways to keep things in perspective:
1 – Look at the calendar. This relative is visiting. It’s a temporary situation. You won’t change who they are during the time they are visiting you. Just accept this fact and move forward. Don’t waste your time or energy feeding into the negativity.
For example, Tom’s father-in-law, Pete, always makes jabs about how Tom has to hire a handy man because he can’t even change a light bulb. After 15 years of marriage, his jab has gotten old. When Pete visits for the holidays, Tom checks his calendar frequently and has even developed a countdown on his laptop that shows when Pete will leave. This distraction allows Tom to channel his focus elsewhere.
2 – Change the conversation. Sometimes visiting relatives voice their unwelcomed opinions. Keep a list of topics to change the conversation. Use topics of conversation you would use at a business dinner party – avoid politics and religion, as well as any other emotionally charged topics your family may have (some families can’t even talk about football). Some ideas include:
How did you get into the line of business you are in?
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
What are your top 5 favorite movies?
What has been your all-time favorite Christmas gift?
The idea is to get your annoying relative talking about himself/herself instead of focusing on your perceived shortcomings. For example, Debbie’s mother-in-law, Alice, criticizes how Debbie parents. Alice would say things like, “I can’t believe my grandson hasn’t been toilet trained yet!” Debbie takes a deep breath and says, “It’s coming along. How was the weather at your home before you left?”
3 – Take a walk. Sometimes just getting away from the commotion can do wonders — and what better way than to walk off those extra holiday calories. You can always say, “I’m starting my New Year’s resolution early.” Who can argue with that statement?
It helps to have a friend to vent to if things get frustrating — but keep your spouse/partner off this list, especially if the relative is from his/her side of the family. Remember your relative is visiting – it’s a temporary situation. Try to focus on the positive parts of the family gathering.
Do you have an annoying relative visiting this holiday season? Let us know if our tips work and if you have any other suggestions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Her firm bridges the gap between financial planning and coaching. As a Transition Consultant, she offers sage advice in all aspects of life – financial, personal and professional. Niv does not manage money and does not sell financial products. Her services include spending plan development, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”