Family Reunions: How To Deal With Them Successfully

Family reunions: how to deal with them successfully

It doesn’t have to go wrong in family gatherings, but there are often unresolved conflicts that find a good opportunity to emerge when you meet. If that’s the case for you, don’t feel alone.

It is important to emphasize that conflicts are a part of family life and it is normal that sometimes the behavior of a relative of ours makes us feel bad. The danger appears when this conflict is not resolved, generates negative emotions that are fueled and explode during family reunions. Do you see yourself in this situation? If the answer is yes, we want to help you avoid that the circumstances mentioned end up taking over the scenario, be it a dinner or a lunch, ruining the party.

In this regard, here are some tips for successfully coping with family reunions. The idea is to be able, through these small strategies, to be comfortable with family members with whom we have a problem and even have fun and participate in the festive environment. These tips are meant to be memorized and used as a contingency plan in case a voltage escalation occurs and conflict begins to escalate.

A family dinner

Tips for Successful Family Reunions

1. Avoid giving in to provocations

When we have not solved a problem with someone, we must use the earliest possible opportunity to be able to talk about it and put a final point. For this reason, when we meet family members with whom we have a problem, we can provoke and be provoked without realizing it.

In this sense, it is important to identify the provocations as soon as possible. The goal will be to  direct the conversation on a topic that is not provocative,  in order to dissipate the tension. Family reunions are probably not the best time to talk about sensitive issues.

2. Think about who feels blessed to have a reunited family

In many families there are some figures, such as a mother, a father or a grandfather who are always very happy to see the whole family reunited. The rest of the relatives participate in family reunions partly motivated by the desire to satisfy the desire of this figure who has been waiting for the repatriated one for so long. S and you are not motivated to review a parent, focus on the ability of your gesture of making another person happy that you appreciate.

3. Investigate and be clear with yourself: what really bothers me? Is there a solution? 

When being with someone bothers us, we need to analyze this feeling. Are we bothered by something that can be changed? Are we bothered by a characteristic of the other that we actually share with him or her? Answering these questions is essential to be able to manage the emotions that arise from a conflict. So that, in some cases, a personal characteristic of a relative annoys us, who cannot change it, therefore we must be the ones to increase our level of tolerance or avoid sharing with this relative the circumstances in which he manifests this characteristic.

One way or another,  a family reunion is not the best time if we want to foster change in someone. As much as our intentions are the best and we only want his good. This is not the best time to tell someone that they smoke too much or that they should eat more. We have all year to do it, so as not to destroy these meetings with comments that can hurt someone, even if they are not really offensive.

Bored woman

4. Talk to yourself and think: Is it worth having a conflict in a family reunion?

Even when you get angry, try to take a few minutes to talk to yourself and think about whether it is really worth starting a dispute right now. By the phrase “talk to yourself” we refer to using the power of self-instruction (the instructions we give to ourselves) for your benefit.

In other words, the words we speak to ourselves function as orders to the brain. In this sense, if the orders you give yourself are calm and serene, it will be easier for you to endure family reunions and overcome them successfully. 

5. Avoid reaching the limit and leaving before it is too late 

Avoiding someone is not always a negative approach strategy; rather, it is the best when dealing with complicated situations and it is neither the time nor the right place. Also, avoiding someone is the best thing to do when you know that you will get angry, lose control, and give other people a bad time. Wanting to control your anger when patience runs out is not a realistic goal. 

On the other hand, you need to know how to put limits on your family relationships before the meeting. Each family has its own model of operation, you can have a family with an independent model or with a joint model.  If your family has an independent model, the boundaries between the lives of each of its members are delimited and respected. If so, the job is already done.

If you have a family that adopts a joint model, however, the boundaries between the life of each of the members are not well defined and are not respected. If so, it will be a good idea to define these limits before family reunions.

These events, in fact, are not the best time to explain your personal needs or to keep away people who intrude into the most intimate aspects of your life.

In any case, it is always advisable to put limits in your family relationships and be clear about what we want to share or not.  Remember that you have the right to make your own decisions, even when you feel that they go against what most of your family thinks.

Enjoy the positive aspects of family reunions and focus your attention on them. And above all, remember that being patient and not getting into conflict are the best strategies. In that sense, your attitude during these holidays can have a great impact on the well-being of other people.

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