Make Peace Reign During Your Holiday Get-Together With These Four Tips – Guest Blog Jennifer Scott

There’s nothing better during the holidays than spending time with family. Then again, there’s nothing worse during the holidays than…well, spending time with family. Does this bittersweet appraisal ring true with you? If so, then relax and enjoy a well-deserved chuckle, knowing you’re in good company according to writers for Popular Science.

Still, some of life’s greatest joys only come when we’re around those with whom we share the closest bonds. So in this post we’ll look at four ground rules for avoiding discord. Use them to help keep things harmonious when hosting your holiday get-together.

Rule One: No Generalizing

Generalizing is one of humanity’s worst traits. It expresses itself whenever people make broad, sweeping statements based on a handful of examples. Here are some forms it can take in a family setting:

“Joan is irresponsible. Look at how she totaled her last car!”

“Greg is no genius. Remember that D he got in high school algebra?”

“Terry is a dreamer. Remember that time she wanted to go into acting?”

Everyone has foibles, of course. But the holidays are for focusing on what’s good inside all of us, not the opposite. Remind your relatives of this fact before they gather together under your roof.

Rule Two: No Name-Calling

We tend to dislike those who are most like us, according to an article in Atlantic.  This may explain why some of the nastiest exchanges can erupt between family members, who are so alike it’s scary sometimes. But you don’t need a medical degree to recognize that name-calling never makes a situation better. So outlaw this nasty habit from the outset.

Rule Three: No “Nos”

Few words in the English language can stir up as much discord as the simple “no.” This is certainly the case when used in a heated discussion: “No intelligent person shares your views;” “Your husband is no good at all.” Not only is this use of the word “no” bad manners, it’s also bad thinking. If your guests must debate each other, then encourage them to see both the good and the bad in the other’s perspective. This can keep an honest disagreement from degenerating into an ugly uproar. It may even help to mend fences between estranged persons.

Rule Four: No Scapegoating

We all stumble at times. Even successful people make their share of  boneheaded blunders. Henry Ford pioneered the auto industry but clung to outdated designs long after his rivals adopted better approaches. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos poured a fortune into developing a cellphone line that lost the company $170 million. Yet, while nobody thinks of Ford or Bezos as failures, the fact remains that mistakes and shortcomings can sting. One way people try to muffle this pain is by blaming a convenient scapegoat, as in the following examples:

“I could have retired in comfort if Aunt Sally hadn’t cashed in the savings bonds.”

“My son would be rich if your brother hadn’t talked him out of selling his invention.”

These are the stuff of which endless quarrels are made. We suggest banning them from your holiday gathering.

Special Cases

Dealing with family members can pose formidable challenges for those in recovery. Here are ways to respond when someone brings up your past:

  • Refuse to discuss the addiction issue. If someone brings it up, let them know you’ve made a firm decision about harmful substances, and say, “I’m clean now. That’s it.” There’s no need to say anything else. If the other person tries belittling or blaming you, then just repeat, “I’m clean now. That’s it,” until the person drops the matter. This powerful assertiveness technique can stop attempts to shame or manipulate you in their tracks.
  • Walk away. There’s no law that says you must endure another’s bad manners, even if the person has good intentions. Anything is better than letting others drive you towards relapse.

Playing host to a group of not-so-perfect relatives can make anyone anxious. But using the tips in this post can give you the self-assurance to handle any situation with grace and confidence. Think of them as our gift to you this season. Happy holidays!

Story 1: The WOW Project

The first photographer I ever spoke/shot with asked me about how comfortable I was in front of the camera. I responded with a genuine “It’s not so bad.” And he responded with “Now how comfortable would you be topless?” The next session I went to I brought my boyfriend to try and buffer the situation, and this time the photographer told me politely yet firmly that he was not allowed on set because it would ‘inhibit’ my modeling for him. Little did I know that with him gone he would wittle away at my self confidence and dignity to the point where I agreed to wear only a robe for photos. Then when he pushed things over the edge towards pornographic I pushed back. Suddenly I was a terrible model. “Don’t you want to have a career? This is what models do for money. Don’t you want to be a model?” That’s a question that a lot of young models are asked, or demanded. Take an already semi awkward situation and add in an even more awkward proposition. Some respond with no, some respond with sure, some don’t respond at all. And the point isn’t wether or not their responses are correct, but why are we even asked these questions in the first place? People I have worked with claim that nude or pornographic models are the only models that make money or make it big, and that’s simply untrue. But for a young model starting out who is going to tell her that? She’s putting her trust in these photographers who may or may not have the right drive for her. I never received the photos from that shoot, until a few years later when a man from the internet sent me a link to them on a website. They had been posted places without my knowledge or consent. It took a fight to get them taken down, and it was one that was never acknowledged from the man who took them. To this day it is a difficult decision on who to work with, when to say no, and when to be concerned for your own well being. And I don’t really have any life changing advice, just to always trust your gut feelings, don’t be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.

– A Local Wichita Model