Friday, December 7, 2012

Dealing with Difficult Relatives

I have been fortunate that, in my extended family, there are no “problem people” to make the holidays difficult. However, there was a couple in my distant past with whom I couldn’t spend a weekend without getting a sick headache that was followed by “tossing my cookies.” Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with that kind of stress anymore, but I can sympathize with those who still do. That’s why I want to share this blog post I found: 8 tips for dealing with difficult relatives during the holiday season.

My coping advice is to smile, nod, and say nothing when someone brings up a controversial topic. My nodding has less to do with agreeing than the fact that yes, I hear where you are coming from.

How do you handle difficult people during the holidays?


  1. Thank goodness, I don't think I've ever had really difficult people in my family or extended family of friends. Guess I'm blessed! Even my ex-husband's family were lovely people who were always happy to see me, years after the divorce. There are people I care about more than others, but none made me consider staying away - none made me sick.

  2. I loved my dad and my grandma dearly, but they both were difficult. We would not have survived the many unpleasant, headache and cookie-tossing inducing clashes at holidays and other family gatherings but for the fact that we loved one another dearly. Love fueld by lots of prayers is how we coped.

  3. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Unfortunately in my past situation, I was resented rather than loved. I was also too inexperienced at the time to know how to deal with that stress.

    1. Even in the presence of praying people who truly did love one another, the stress at those holiday gatherings was just incredible. Wish I'd had access to Gretchen's 8 tips for dealing with difficult relatives back then! Thanks for this resource.

  4. I generally smile and not a lot, too. Then when I've had all I can stand, I shoot my husband the, "Get me out of here - NOW!" look or hint by telling my kids to clean up their messes....then run like the wind!

  5. A little more advice -- When you are tempted to argue about something, ask yourself:

    1) Can I possibly change their minds?
    2) Will I feel better afterwards for having said my part?

    If the answer to both those questions is no, then keep the peace and say nothing.


Your comments fuel my writing and could give me ideas for future posts, so give me your thoughts!