Five tips on how to get through a family gathering

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The main focus of the holidays is relaxing and having a good time. Afterwards, though, you have to go meet your family and occasionally your extended relatives. Families may be difficult, even with the best of intentions, over the holiday season. With everything going on, it would be a Christmas miracle if you could escape a get-together unhurt. Here’s how to make the most of these get-togethers this season by grinning and smiling:

Don’t take it personally

Let people get personal, but don’t take anything they say personally. Your ex might make a harsh comment, or your sibling might make a joke about you. You will feel better if you allow it to impact you less. What if they don’t think your date is appropriate? Will your feelings for her actually change as a result of it? We didn’t believe that. The less you respond to their attempts to agitate you, the less enjoyable it will be for them.

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Keep it casual

It’s best to occasionally treat a family gathering like a work occasion because there are so many new faces in the mix. Be kind, inquire about their holiday plans, and joke about a little, but avoid delving deeper. In the event that someone attempts to put you to the test, just shrug it off and suggest that this is a subject best left for another day.

Don’t compare

It’s difficult to anticipate everything going as planned when you’re playing happy families with your ex and her new partner, your kids, his kids, and your new girl — wow. Avoiding drawing comparisons between your family and the newcomers, however, can help to diffuse any possible tension. That implies you shouldn’t compare your new girlfriend to your ex—at least not out loud. That will only lead to problems. But always remember that your new partner comes first. If only because you’ll be driving back with her, in which case you should be considerate of you.

Have a code word

At these events, there is bound to be at least one family member who supports you. Use a secret word to let your friend—a brother, cousin, or spouse—know that you’re anxious and could use some time outside. However, a code word is not limited to rescue situations. Create some smart codes for different scenarios so you can giggle with your family members you can trust in the process.

Make yourself useful

Making oneself useful is the best way to get through a family get-together. Offer to man the bar or buffet, assist in the kitchen, or both. Getting busy can divert your attention from the pointless drama and allow you to ask more interesting inquiries, like what’s cooking for supper or what mocktail you can make.

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