Beware of The Bully Lurking in Your Office
The Ultimate Christmas Relationship Survival Guide
As Christmas looms you'd be forgiven for dreading the annual round of festive family fights. After all it'd take the patience of a saint to avoid arguing with your antagonistic auntie or looking daggers at your dodgy cousin.
No fear, here's how to handle the worst offenders:
Christmas Crisis: The Christmas matriarch
Probably your mother-in-law but could be your mum or gran. She gets a bit ‘Sinatra’ over seasonal plans and wants to do it all her way.
Make her feel valued while gently sidelining some of her ideas. Get her doing things she's done well in the past - like the table decorations. Then ‘love bomb’ her with compliments about, e.g., her fab decorations. When she tries to elbow in your territory pay lip-service to her suggestions, ignore criticisms, and steer her back to things she's good at.
Christmas Crisis: The antagonistic arguer
This person manages to offend relations over the festive feast and even seems to get pleasure from it.
Give them a friendly ring before Christmas. Say you're so looking forward to their company. Surprising them with such friendliness can work wonders. If they still look for a scrap over the Christmas pud, don't play up to it. Let it go or say you want to "agree to disagree".
If they start on someone else distract everyone announcing it's time to pull the crackers. Or wrong-foot them and actually compliment their argumentative view-point - then swiftly change topics.
Christmas Crisis: The family show off
This overachieving older sibling or flash-the-cash cousin rubs everyone's noses in their successes.
Stop them in their tracks with this technique: each time they boast make a big deal of asking everyone to please be quiet because “George wants to tell us all about his big bonus." With all eyes on them they’ll suddenly feel awkward.
Or suggest they pay for Christmas dinner and all the trimmings since they've “done so well this year” - that'll shut them up!
Christmas Crisis: The heavy drinker
You care about this relation and fear they'll embarrass themselves or become morose over the mince pies.
If they haven't decided to stop drinking it's tricky for you to insist they do. Instead ensure they alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones. Discreetly enlist others to keep their alcohol intake down.
Provide a Christmas punch that's low-alcohol and sustain them with plenty of food. Be emotionally supportive letting them know if they need help turning things around you're there for them.
Christmas Crisis: The lazy bones
To be found in front of the telly they somehow manage to get people fussing over them during the festivities.
Early on delegate them tasks. Write them down so there's no excuse for not doing them. Choose chores that are helpful but fairly easy and straightforward. You can't go wrong with things like laying the table, serving/refilling drinks or putting out the crisps.
Christmas Crisis: Those flashpoints with your partner
You and your partner may be completely blameless for any Christmas crises but there's no easier target for pent-up stress than each other.
Agree a plan of who’s responsible for what - make lists for these. It's easy to lose that loving feeling over the festivities so daily give each other some affection. Put your hands up and apologize if you take stress out on them. Keep talking about how each other’s doing.
Being open about stresses you're under helps you unite as a team rather than tearing strips off each other.
A similar article was published in the Sun newspaper
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