If you adore your in-laws and delight in their company, consider yourself one of the lucky ones but if the thought of spending time with your partner’s family has you activating your body armor and bracing for impact — then try and read through the following tips below:
Here are a few tips to make the visits more manageable:
- Have an escape plan: Before you arrive, make a plan with your partner. Have a strategy that includes emergency exits, secret calls for help, time-outs. Check in with each other throughout the visit, stay united, and be supportive.
- Be well-rested: Showing up to a holiday gathering sleep deprived or exhausted is a big mistake. Think of family gatherings as preparing for a marathon: you want to be in shape.
- Lay off the booze: Alcohol dulls your mind and distorts your senses. It can make you more impulsive or a crashing bore. Either way, drinking too much is a risk not worth taking.
- Avoid hot topics: Topics like politics or religion are great for talk shows, but terrible for holiday dinners. Do not allow yourself to get pulled into those conversations: change the subject to lighter fare.
- Help out: You’ll score more points doing dishes or clearing a table than trying to impress your in-laws with your knowledge of Wikipedia. Always, always, always help out.
- Take a break: Slip away for some fresh air. For longer stays, make sure you exercise or go for a run. It will help your mood, clear your head, and keep you on your toes. As an added bonus, you’ll burn off those extra holiday calories.
- Don’t play therapist: The holidays are not the time to try to resolve ancient family conflicts. Keep it light: don’t be dragged into family history or unresolved skirmishes from your partner’s past.
- Don’t come empty-handed: Call ahead, find out what to bring. A small toy for the kids or food stuffs paves the way for a smooth and generous entry.
- Skip the advice: Solicited or unsolicited advice will always backfire. In general, listen more than you talk. People love good listeners and will feel relaxed in your presence.
Source: Sean Grover